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School of Informatics People and Culture

School of Informatics People and Culture

Information about People and Culture activities and resources in the School of Informatics

Decorating offices

People like to be surrounded by things they like. Having a workspace that you like makes you happier [1], more productive [2], and even behave more ethically [3]. Nobody wants to work in a soulless environment. Therefore the School of Informatics fully supports you personalising your office. You are welcome to hang posters or decorate the way that brings you most joy.

However, as we all share the building, there are some limits to customising. First, consider your colleagues. In particular, if you share an office, talk to your officemates before changing anything – see for example the PGR office etiquette charter.

  • Any material you display should be considered public, and therefore cannot contain offensive material. See for example the code of student conduct.
  • If you display something, it’s your responsibility. When it gets out of date it is up to you to update or remove it. Don’t let your plants become sad.
  • Our buildings are wonderfully open and transparent. You may prefer a higher degree of privacy, but do keep in mind lines of sight, and what others may prefer.

Second, for the health and safety of yourself and others:

  • Try not to block out light sources, and consider whether an item causes glare.
  • Clear up clutter, so you have enough space to move and ventilation works as it should.
  • Anything that gets plugged in needs to be PAT tested. Similarly, anything with a rechargeable battery needs to be monitored.
  • Minimise the fire hazard of papers, books, and posters.
  • Keep your feet on the ground. If you must reach, ask a taller person or use a step stool or ladder instead of climbing chairs or desks.

When in doubt, ask Facilities.

Third, corridors need to be kept open and free of combustible material. That means you can request whiteboards or pinboards outside your office – but do consider noise nuisance – again, ask Facilities. But that also means posters or other decorations should be in fire retardant cases.

We have an annual spring clean that helps us all keep our work spaces fresh. Enjoy yours!


[1] Borzykowski, “What’s so wrong with dressing up your desk?“, BBC, 2017.

[2] Hoskins, “Employees perform better when they can control their space“, Harvard Business Review, 2014.

[3] Hardin, Bauman, Mayer, “Show me the … family: how photos of meaningful relationships reduce unethical behavior at work“, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2020.

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