Have you ever noticed that some people seem to thrive in environments that seem absurdly chaotic, with desks piled high and stuff just everywhere whilst others have desks devoid of anything personal or decorative? If so, you might not be surprised to learn that the state of your office desk can reveal a lot about you.
Your Office Desk And You
The way your own desk looks will depend largely on your personality and preferred working style. The industry that you work in and the culture of your individual organisation, will also dictate norms that you’ll adhere to, influencing how your personal workspace looks.
Whatever your own preference your desk is a reflection of you; so look around you. What message is it giving to your clients, customers, colleagues or boos?
Clear Desk, Clear Mind?
For those working with sensitive or personal client information it makes perfect sense to have clear desk policy; that is to say a workplace rule which insists on no personal decorative items and no potentially sensitive materials are left on general view or left on a desk overnight.
“Clear desk policies help to minimise personal
data and security breaches and are easier to clean“
A clear desk can also leave a good impression when clients come in to visit the office. A tidy and clean office looks more efficient and more professional, but there is a close line between tidy and sterile.
In general, the best approach is to be given some freedom in the way our office desk looks and the items that we are able to display on our desks. Let’s face it, having a few personal items on show is the ideal way of adding some personality to what can otherwise become a dull and uninspiring environment!
Moderation is key though. A monitor plastered in post-it notes, a desk buried under your ceramic owl collection or a stack of papers you can’t see over, really won’t look very good aesthetically. It’s not just aesthetics to think about though, all of that clutter acts like a dust, dirt and a germ magnet which can allow bugs to thrive. Check out our tips on keeping your workspace clean here or read all about the unwelcome reality of office hygiene.
Personal items that include the odd ornament, decorative flourish or photographs are usually fine and should be encouraged as long as they are appropriate and don’t negatively impact productivity or lead to a dirty, cluttered desk.
Organisation Is Important
If a clear desk policy isn’t appropriate or seems too harsh, a viable alternative could be an organised desk or a happy desk policy. A few personal mementoes, such as an item that reflects their personality, a photograph of their family and a small plant could be ideal.
If you are lacking on the storage front then after you have had a good tidy up, make sure you ask for whatever you need. An organised office desk makes it easier to find what you need and ultimately, helps you to be more productive!
Tidy Desk Tips for Employees
- Every few months go through any stacks of paper that have accumulated, shred anything that you don’t need or is no longer relevant and file or store anything else you want to keep hold of
- Even better, don’t let stacks accumulate to begin with! Assign a place for all printed materials and don’t let them just pile up on your desk.
- Think storage – if you don’t have enough then ask your manager or appropriate department for what you need; from pen pots to box files, make sure you have what you need in order to keep your desk tidy and organised.
- Don’t let dirty cups or crockery build up on your desk.
- Consider scanning documents so you can keep a digital rather than paper copy.
- Clear your desk every night and don’t leave mucky crockery on your desk overnight.
- Keep some antibacterial wipes in your desk drawer and give surfaces and touchpoints the once over each day.
- Don’t print off emails to read them.
Check out the fun infographic from Marketo.com What Does Your Desk Say About You?