Workplace Décor and Decorum
What about personal space? Many employees like to decorate their offices, workspaces, or desks with family pictures and small personal items. Most companies find that this is not a problem as long as the decor doesn't interfere with job tasks and doesn't offend other employees or customers.
Is music appropriate in the workplace? Many businesses allow employees to play music or have music playing over a loudspeaker system, though some employees find this distracting. Different kinds of music can influence the moods and behaviors of employees as well as customers. Again, consensus is often the deciding factor. Generally people who work in enclosed areas or individual offices have greater freedom to listen to music while they work.
Can employees have food and beverages at their desks or work areas? Decisions on whether to allow eating and drinking depend on what kind of work employees are doing. Sipping coffee or munching a snack is less likely to interfere with job tasks for employees who work at desks and are in contact with clients by phone or electronically than for those who deal with customers in person.
Marketers have used music to influence customer behaviors for decades. Music with a hard, driving beat makes people feel excited and impulsive. Such effects influence people to make spontaneous purchases and leave rather than linger — ideal behavior for fast-food restaurants. Soft, soothing music makes people feel relaxed and thoughtful. This helps improve mental focus and muscle coordination, and it also makes people feel that they want to stay and be comfortable (desired behavior in luxury restaurants, bookstores, and expensive boutiques).
There are some behaviors that are inappropriate in just about any workplace, including these:
Profanity: Swearing is everywhere today, so much a part of common conversation that many people scarcely notice it. But profanity is offensive to quite a number of people, and its frequent presence implies discourtesy and lack of professionalism.
Smoking: Many cities and states have laws restricting indoor smoking to reduce the risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. Some companies have smoke break rooms that are separately ventilated, while others ban smoking on the property entirely.
Offensive clothing: Many people in the working world are offended by clothing that is tattered, torn, dirty, sexually suggestive, or derogatory. T-shirts with slogans often fall into the latter categories.
However casual the environment, the workplace is still the workplace. Managers sometimes must explicitly — and endlessly — describe what is and isn't appropriate for employees to wear, say, and do.