The professionalism of slapping a sticker on a work laptop can come down to two things: 1) office dress code and 2) rules on company equipment.
Most workplaces will have some rules on dress code and how office equipment should be looked after. So, if you’re just starting somewhere new, make sure you’ve checked those rules.
But there are plenty of office places that are way more relaxed on laptop stickers. Your boss might even have stickers on their laptop. Still, though, it is worth asking if you’re not sure it’s a good idea.
As a freelancer, you shouldn’t have to abide by anyone’s rules but your own. It’s down to the image you want to deliver.
Is It Worth Putting Stickers on Your Laptop?
Rules on stickers and laptops are usually set from the top down. It depends on what the boss says, so it’s always a good idea to know what CEOs think.
Marc Werner is the Co-Founder and CEO of GhostBed and he opines: “Some argue that stickers are unprofessional, while others say they are a great way to express one’s individuality.”
Werner continues, “if your company culture has stricter guidelines, it might be unprofessional to have stickers on your laptop because it might not represent the image of the organization in the best light.”
If you work in an office where formal clothing is expected, chances are stickers on your laptop are not a clever idea. In such work environments, you might get disciplined or just told to take them off.
They are concerned about their image in front of their clients and may consider stickers immature, but there is also the chance that they don’t care, or they might not even notice.
As a freelancer, I have no issue with stickers on my laptop—what my laptop looks like is no issue to my clients, and I’m not worried about removing them if I ever have to.
Why Do People Put Stickers on Their Laptops?
“People love to personalize things,” says Nizel Adams, CEO and Principal Engineer at Nizel Co. who in his 20 years in IT has dealt with many returned and recycled laptops.
“From their home to their work area. Most people enjoy expressing themselves to the world” he continues. For me, I just collect stickers when people give them to me.
Some people actively go out of their way to buy stickers online. Most likely in support of things they believe in or things they like or just a joke.
On a simpler level, stickers can just make it easier to spot your laptop. If your colleagues use the same laptop as you, a sticker can make it easier to identify.
Some companies even give employees stickers and invite them to personalize their laptops. It gives them a sense of control and a feeling of creative freedom.
Laptop stickers can also be a branding opportunity for employers. When you’re traveling or working away from the office, people can see who you work for. It creates awareness.
Can Stickers Ruin Your Laptop?
From my experience, having stickers on my laptop (above) has made cleaning it harder. I have to clean around the stickers and some of them don’t look particularly nice, accumulating stains and dirt.
Laminated stickers or stickers with a plastic layer on top are easier to clean—stickers without a protective layer are harder to clean and they get worn out which doesn’t look too nice.
And when it comes to removing stickers Adams says, “usually adhesive isn’t strong enough to remove paint or anything like that when being removed.”
So, chances are, if you remove the stickers, the surface of the laptop should be fine—unless you used something strong to stick them to the back.
I’ll also mention that my previous laptop didn’t have such a smooth surface, it was bumpy. And though I never put stickers on it, they would likely have looked a bit odd with the bumps.
Do Laptops Look Better Without Stickers?
If you plan on selling your laptop, it will look better to potential buyers without the stickers. It’ll remove your impression and allow buyers to think of the laptop as their own.
Alternatively, you may feel that you have outgrown the stickers or that they don’t look as nice as they once did. In this case, you’ll probably agree that your laptop looks better without the stickers.
Should I Remove Stickers on My Laptop?
Out of courtesy, if you are leaving a company or being given a new work laptop, it would be nice to remove stickers. Adams has had to deal with this before:
As an IT professional that has handled hundreds of thousands of machines over the years does it suck when we have to spend extra time cleaning stickers from a returned/recycled device? Absolutely.”
It’s also best to avoid offensive or politically charged stickers—you might make more enemies than friends. Furthermore, some stickers are more unprofessional than others.
Do Stickers Damage Laptops?
Typically, no. “Devices are typically made of materials that are scratch & stain resistant if not coated in substances that have the same properties,” says Adams.
That said, be careful removing exceptionally large stickers, too much leverage could potentially damage the back. And lastly, don’t put stickers over vents! You could cause your laptop to overheat.
How Can I Put Stickers on My Laptop Without Ruining It?
To avoid ruining your laptop, it would be wiser to put stickers that are designed for laptops, ones that can be cleaned.
“Make sure to use decals or case badges specifically designed for [use] on computer cases. Vinyl decals are usually a safe bet” advises Adams.
After seeing how my unprotected stickers deteriorated over time, I certainly wouldn’t add such stickers to my laptop—or any device—again.
Can I Remove the Intel Sticker on My Laptop?
Nothing is stopping you from removing the intel sticker on your laptop, but it’s probably one you’ll want to keep—that and any other stickers that identify your laptop’s hardware.
It can make it easier for IT persons to help you with technical issues if they know your laptop’s specifications. For example, your intel sticker will tell them what processor it uses.
It can save you both time. So, it’s probably best to keep it unless you have a strong reason to take it off.
If you removed your intel sticker, you could still find what processor your laptop uses by going to Settings → System → About. And it’ll be under ‘Device specifications.’