Finding ways to express your personality and style at work can be very grounding and help you feel more authentic.
When we think about “work/life balance,” we usually associate it with juggling our personal and professional obligations or compartmentalizing our lives. But sometimes, when we separate our personal and professional selves, our identity can feel lost or stifled when we’re at the office. It can almost feel like we’re leading two different lives.
While it’s natural to want to keep our professional and personal lives separate (after all, we want to appear responsible and efficient to our colleagues) there is also tremendous value in expressing your personality, identity, or style.
When you feel comfortable sharing your personality at work, you might feel more confident and at ease with sharing your professional ideas. Plus, you’ll probably have an easier time building trust and connecting with colleagues over shared interests and hobbies, rather than, say, a powerpoint.
As humans, we are picking up on subtle cues from each other all the time -- ones that are way less obvious than what we say in a meeting. Your personal style sends a signal about who you are to the people around you.
The clothes you wear, the accessories you carry, and even the pen you use can tell your coworkers little things about yourself that help them feel like they know you, trust you, or admire you.
While we may not know what the future holds for office and work life, we can still use this time to think about the simple things and diversions that bring us pleasure. Plus, with so many of our work engagements now happening online, you can use this opportunity to bring more of your personal flair to work interactions.
Here are some fun and simple ways you can express your personality and style at work.
Getting started: ways to express your personality or style at work
First, take stock of the objects and hobbies that you adore. See if you can incorporate them into your office space instead of just relegating them to your home life. If you can integrate beloved items into your office space, you’ll feel that much more energized and happy while you’re there -- and you might connect with a coworker about them too!
Hobbies/interests. Are you a big Star Wars fan? Do you love baking and cooking? Would you spend your days on a surfboard or bicycle if you could? Don’t shy away from these interests at work. While you may not necessarily want to bring your entire Star Wars collection to the office, you can still express your interests in subtle, but impactful ways. (Like bringing a Star Wars mug instead!)
Travels. Just because you’re inside working on a project doesn’t mean you can’t bring fun travel experiences into your workspace. Make your workspace feel more personal by adding visual reminders of past trips like souvenir magnets, pens, postcards, or a scarf. These items will conjure happy memories every time you see or use them. Plus, it will inspire you to start planning your next one!
Family and friends. Adding framed photos of loved ones around your workspace is a powerful reminder that you are loved and supported for who you are.
Favorite colors and designs. Do you love bright, cheerful tones or do you prefer muted, elegant designs? Think about ways you can display your taste. Maybe you can get an array of notebooks in jewel tones or a sculptural vase or lamp evoking your mid-century design aesthetic.
Health and wellness. Maybe you want to be more relaxed and zen at work. What are some ways you can incorporate natural and soothing elements at the office? Maybe that means a pretty water bottle or a fresh-scented aromatherapy diffuser.
In elementary school, we would show off our personality with unicorn Trapper Keepers and a rainbow-array of pens and markers. So why not give your office supplies a personalized touch? Get a set of custom stationery with your name or initial at the top, or invest in a nice set of blank cards for sending hand-written thank you notes to contacts.
Do you work in a professional, corporate environment? Don’t worry, you don’t have to subsist on yellow legal pads. You can still make your supplies stand out from the pack with beautiful notebooks and pens. The Founders Notebook is a simple and elegant way to express your style while keeping it professional. The exquisite, iridescent cover and smoothly textured pages make the notebook feel so special while also being the perfect fit for office environments.
Do you work in a creative field? Bring out your bright, minimalist side with this sunny, yellow Leuchtturnm notebook or show your love for nature and blooms with this Vintage Blossom Notebook set. These charming covers would make your office space feel so friendly and welcoming.
Fun pens. Glitter pens aren’t just for students. You could use these glitter pens to mark up notes, highlight important tasks in your planner or calendar, or to help unleash creative ideas during brainstorming sessions.
Framed quote or mantra. In times of uncertainty or stress, an inspirational quote in your workspace can help you feel more centered and mindful, bringing you back to who you are and what matters to you. It might also spark a conversation with or inspire a colleague who visits your workspace.
Coffee mug. If you’re afraid to reveal your nerdy, fandom side, you can start small with this adorable Baby Yoda mug. Or if you’re an artist or naturalist at heart, this white speckled mug would add a beautiful, earthy touch to your office space.
Artwork. Show off your good taste with artwork around the office or a fun poster of your favorite TV show, movie, or band. This set of artwork from Etsy is a fun way to declare your love for typography and design. Or this illustrated poster of characters from The Office would show off your love for funny TV.
Sweet treats. Keep a bowl of your favorite candies and sweet treats nearby. These will definitely come in handy when you hit the late afternoon slump. Think back to the sweets you loved as a kid: sweet tarts, lemonheads, and gummy bears. Or if you’re looking for something more grown-up, try an assortment of Lindt chocolates or chocolate covered almonds.Catch-all baskets. Need a way to store all your odds and ends? You can use small dishes or plates that you’ve picked up from your travels. You can even use an old jewelry box or case. Or if you want a way to celebrate your kids, use decorative boxes or plates that your kids have made in art class. These are all fun, easy options to express your personality at work while also being practical.