Got A Messy Work Desk? Study Reveals What Your Coworkers Really Think Of You

from Fast Company

What does a worker’s messy desk signify to the greater office? Unfortunately, far more than just an inability to organize bobbleheads or throw away empty La Croix cans.

A new study finds that an untidy work space leads colleagues to perceive that the person is more neurotic, less agreeable, and pretty uncaring.

Researchers and psychologists from the University of Michigan Flint and Ann Arbor conducted three experiments in which 160 participants were randomly assigned to sit in three offices: one that was clean and uncluttered, one that was “somewhat” messy, and one that was “very” messy.

The tidy office boasted all the markings of a put-together employee. It had neatly stacked papers, upright books and journals on bookshelves, organized drawers with handwritten tables, and, of course, garbage in the wastebasket.

The “somewhat” messy office included tilted books, papers on the floor, and a wall clock that was an hour off. The next iteration–the “very” messy office–was an even dirtier and more cluttered version of that, with pretty much everything in disarray. The study’s participants were then asked to share their opinions of the offices’ owners based on their time in each space.

More here.

69 Responses to Got A Messy Work Desk? Study Reveals What Your Coworkers Really Think Of You

  1. Brian F March 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm #

    Going in to this article, I expected to hear a lot of the same things that I had heard before. I keep a relatively disorganized desk, so I was always being told that keeping all of my stuff more organized would improve my productivity. However, I never really bought into that theory, so I just kept on doing my thing, thinking it was just my style and that I had everything under control. This article, though, for the first time got me thinking that there may be something behind what people had always been telling me. Apparently, you actually can focus on work for longer when you keep your desk tidy. A cleaner workspace also lowers stress during work, which is something that definitely plagues me, by reducing the time spent searching for things, decreasing the likelihood of knocking something over, and lessening the feeling of having too many things going on at once. Those effects are more real than I anticipated, but still don’t account for massive decrease in productivity. The biggest issue that com with keeping a messy workspace is the perception that comes with it. American business, still, includes a ton of snap judgments. As unfair as it probably is, many people make are heavily influenced by their first impressions. College students are constantly told about how it happens in interviews, and it keeps happening after you get hired too. A manager or executive who notices you first the first time with a cluttered desk will remember that. The nest time someone mentions you, the messy desk will come to mind and there will be a lot of associations that come with it. The last thing a new employee wants is for their boss to think of them as lazy, scatterbrained, neurotic, disagreeable, and bad at managing time. Those are the most common descriptions of disheveled workspaces in the article. Some of the judgments aren’t necessarily fair, but people will stick to them anyway. If you haven’t has the time to clean and organize your desk, other will infer that you have bed time management skill, regardless of the context. If papers and folders take up too much surface area of your desk, the inference is that you don’t take any pride in your work, even if the truth is much more innocent. Never mind that most office clutter is a result of doing actual work, people mind’s twist that image into you avoiding work if you can’t keep a tidy workspace. I don’t think this is fair, but the reality is that the best reason to keep your work materials organized is simply for appearances. This study concluded that co-workers will have a higher opinion of those who run a tight ship in regards to organization.

  2. Viviana B March 7, 2019 at 9:10 pm #

    In my opinion, a messy work desk can signal much more than just a person’s work characteristics. In general, being disorganized at work can lead to the assumption that one also has a disorganized life. It can signal that one has no control of time management, scheduling, or prioritizing tasks. As a manager this can affect one’s own productivity as well as other staff members. It can also negatively sway the decision of customers who are considering doing business. As an employee, it can produce a negative impression on managers and supervisors. Essentially, no matter what job position one holds, a messy work desk could become the reason one loses his or her job.

    When I walk into a person’s office and see that their work space is messy, I instantly become hesitant over doing business with that person. It makes me feel as if that person does not care about their work space or the impression it may have on others. In addition, it also makes me question the person’s ability to complete tasks efficiently and prioritize our business. For all I know, my business plans with that person could just become another paper piled on top of all the other clutter on their desk. Essentially, the work could become forgotten and not completed in the expected time frame. The quality of the work also becomes questionable when conducting business with a person who has a messy desk or office space. As the article stated, a person with a messy desk is more likely to be less productive then a person who has an organized desk. A person who is organized displays as someone who is reliable and responsible. I am more confident that tasks will be completed in a much more professional manner with an organized person, than one who is not.

    During one of my semesters in college, I had to meet with a professor to discuss my schedule for the following semester. As I entered his office, I immediately became discouraged on the potential outcome of the meeting. His office was packed with textbooks, papers, notes, newspapers, magazines, photographs, and plants among other things. The items in the office were stacked all over and nothing seemed to be labeled. Not to mention that I couldn’t even place my planner on his desk because there was no room available to do so. Eventually, the professor spent more time searching for my student files rather than helping me plan a successful schedule. I left the meeting feeling worried that he would forget to register me for my desired classes, and I would not be able to complete the necessary credits to graduate. This situation could also apply in a workplace environment.

    A manager’s messy desk could demotivate employees and decrease their moral. For example, an employee requests to use a PTO day, but the HR manager misplaces the request form on her messy desk and forgets to input it into the system. Eventually the day arrives, and the employee is not allowed to take off because the PTO request never appeared on the system. Although the employee was responsible enough to hand in his request in anticipation, his manager’s lack of organization limited him from receiving his earned day off. As a manager, one must lead by example for his or her team. When a manager demonstrates continuous disorganized habits in the workplace, it eventually encourages other employees to do the same. As an employee, being disorganized can prevent one from receiving a promotion or simply conserving one’s job. Although some may argue that a messy desk helps facilitates work productivity, the negative impact it can make on others is inevitable.

  3. Kevin Metz May 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm #

    automatically gets 10 times harder if my workspace is messy. This is not limited to just literary or educational works, even when I am working on home improvement jobs, working on my car, or getting ready in the morning, completing tasks while in a cluttered area causes me stress and steals my focus quite effortlessly. This article discusses not only the effects messy workspaces have on an individual but how their peers view them as well. A study showed that someone with an organized work space can work without distraction for longer than those who have a cluttered area. The article speaks about peers feeling less inclined to work with those who surround themselves in a mess for numerous reasons, the most important being their attitude and their motivation. This makes sense because who would want to put their trust in someone to meet a deadline on an important project if they can’t even put the three-day old bag of chips from the top of their desk to the waste basket under it. The study that this article speaks about shows that the attitudes that come along with being messy include careless, being less inclined to compromise and neurotic. I agree with the first two adjectives to describe these people because it makes sense, if they don’t care about their workspace, they won’t care about their work as much as they should, and they also will not care about what you have to say. The third one on the other hand, does not seem to correlate, if anything it is quite the opposite. They would not be nervous or anxious because obviously they don’t really care that their space is a mess, sure they may stress over deadlines but it isn’t that big of a burden to clean up after it is met and to be seen as this often means that its more than just a deadline fueling their habits.

  4. Kevin Metz May 3, 2019 at 8:09 pm #

    For me, working on homework, tests, quizzes, emails, or anything that requires my full attention automatically gets 10 times harder if my workspace is messy. This is not limited to just literary or educational works, even when I am working on home improvement jobs, working on my car, or getting ready in the morning, completing tasks while in a cluttered area causes me stress and steals my focus quite effortlessly. This article discusses not only the effects messy workspaces have on an individual but how their peers view them as well. A study showed that someone with an organized work space can work without distraction for longer than those who have a cluttered area. The article speaks about peers feeling less inclined to work with those who surround themselves in a mess for numerous reasons, the most important being their attitude and their motivation. This makes sense because who would want to put their trust in someone to meet a deadline on an important project if they can’t even put the three-day old bag of chips from the top of their desk to the waste basket under it. The study that this article speaks about shows that the attitudes that come along with being messy include careless, being less inclined to compromise and neurotic. I agree with the first two adjectives to describe these people because it makes sense, if they don’t care about their workspace, they won’t care about their work as much as they should, and they also will not care about what you have to say. The third one on the other hand, does not seem to correlate, if anything it is quite the opposite. They would not be nervous or anxious because obviously they don’t really care that their space is a mess, sure they may stress over deadlines but it isn’t that big of a burden to clean up after it is met and to be seen as this often means that its more than just a deadline fueling their habits.

  5. Megan Cannon September 17, 2019 at 4:24 pm #

    While reading this article, my mind goes two different ways. One way is presenting a best version of you, and having a clean and tidy workspace, while the other side goes to “well some people work best in environments they feel comfortable in.”
    To me, a workspace that is clean, organized, and put together is more of my style. Working in an environment that is full of chaos and clutter often leads my mind to disarray. Just thinking of myself in a workspace that promotes clutter and untidiness gives me anxiety. I can relate this to my home. If I clean up before I go to bed, I feel as though I get better nights sleep, like my mind is clear from things I have to do the next day. Think of that scenario in the workspace. Leaving for the day, and thinking of the mess (whether it be your desk, or the job itself,) you have to come back to, does not leave your mind ready for a new, productive day.
    On the other hand, there are some people that work best in environments that promote “creativity,” or “open work spaces.” For each mess, to each is own, and what some people may think is clutter, to others, may just be “an organized mess.”
    Either way you look at it, I think it’s pretty hard to judge someone by the mess that is left on their desk. I look at it as; if the mess isn’t in the common lunchroom bothering you, then why does it matter? Some people work best in different environments.
    I think either way you look at it, as long as someone is meeting deadlines, and is generally a well rounded worker, then why should it matter If their desk has some trinkets on it?

  6. Emily Rodger September 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm #

    In my life, I have always found it easier to work and be productive if my workspace and environment was neat and tidy. I have found that the more cluttered the workspace was, the more stress I accumulated. Although being neat and clean is just my personal preference, others may be able to work in those messy environments and still be able to get their work done. Although the study shows that someone who works in a cleaner workspace can work 7.5 minutes longer than someone in a cluttered space, it all comes down to personal preference. Everyone has a different idea of what kind of environment they are comfortable and able to work in. Some do not mind the mess, while others can not work when there are papers scattered everywhere. Even though the article makes a solid point, I do not agree with the name of the actual title being “Study Reveals What You Coworker Really Think of You.” For the most part, the participants are just basing the work ethics of the office owners based of the cleanliness of the office. The participants believed that the messiest officer belongs to an owner who is less conscientious and uncaring. I believe that just because the office appears that way, does not actually mean the owner does not care or is not as productive. As mentioned before, people work best in the environment they are comfortable in. Just because your own personal preference is to be neat and tidy does not make it everyone else preference. I think that it is hard to judge someone based off the cleanliness of their office.

  7. Juliet Akcay October 16, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

    Reading this article has made me realize that when people don’t want to judge, they still will. How can you not judge someone based off of their tidiness, especially if it is in a public workplace? At work, you always want to make a good impression to your coworkers, especially when you are new. An important reason to make a good impression when you have been there for a while is because newer employees tend to take after what the newer employees do. If your supervisor has a messy work desk, the workers underneath them might be the same way because they might think the supervisor doesn’t care. What was stated in the article and what colleagues actually think about an untidy workplace is, “that the person is more neurotic, less agreeable, and pretty uncaring.” It is interesting to see what people think of others based on their organization.
    As a college student, I am organized in order to make sure I am getting my work done on time and know where everything is and to have easy access to any documents and papers. With organization comes time management because if you’re not organized, chances are you don’t know how to manage your time well. In the workplace, it is important that one knows how to manage their time with their tasks and meetings they may have to attend. Many people believe that with an organized workplace, you get more things done and it is easier to stay on task. Another statement that interested me in the article was that the way people organize their work desk, depends if coworkers want to have a professional and even personal interaction with them. I was thinking about this more and agreed. If someone was unorganized, I wouldn’t want to work with them because I would probably have issues trusting them to get their work done because they either won’t remember or won’t be able to find anything. This will effect my friendship with them too for similar reasons. This article helped me realize that people do pay attention to small things about people and that it is important to be organized in the workplace and at home.

  8. Britania B October 22, 2019 at 3:18 pm #

    I disagree with the writer because having a messy office does not and should not tell about a person’s personality. Nowadays it is easy to judge someone from just looking at their outer appearances or their surroundings. Many people work well in a messy office, and they know exactly the whereabouts of their paperwork. Messy office could just be how that person works and should be unjudged because of it. I know someone who does have a messy office but the way she works is the same as everyone’s work. I would not call her less agreeable and uncaring. I believe she works well with the situations she put herself in. Every stress in their way and just because they have a messy office, I guess the study assumed they are more stressed-out than others. We cannot determine a person’s personality just because of their office. Everyone in this world does not work the same way. Everyone in the world does not live the same way. The reason I say that is because we are not all the same, each of us has our own unique way of working.
    In the article, it states a recent study by Harvard University found yet another reason to get one’s work desk together better productivity. Everyone works under different conditions and could be productive in their way. We cannot let a study determine these things about a person. I can only work on an organized desk, but that is my preference. Just like everyone else if they like to work in a messy office let them be. In my opinion, I do dislike seeing an unorganized desk; today’s society let us assume a person with a messy desk could reflect on their personal lives. If someone’s personal lives are the same way as their office is bad too. What if their life is going well, and that’s just the way they work in a mess. All in all, I believe people should not judge anyone just because their office is messy because if it was reversed back to them, they would not like it.

  9. Adelina P October 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm #

    Many people, like myself, would associate a clean and organized desk with someone who cares about their work. In this article, it states how people would perceive a person with a messy desk as more neurotic, less agreeable, and uncaring. I agree with that. There must be a reason why many people who welcome you to their office space, they usually tidy up all the paperwork and make sure it looks presentable. That gives off a great reputation, such as, your coworker cares about you, will hear you out, and makes the time and space for you. A messy desk can send a negative vibe to someone like your coworker. I know from my experience when I have a one on one meeting with my coworker, and it is in their office and they have cluttered space everywhere, I start to think about all the work I do with them. I also wonder have they can keep up with their work, organizing it, and if they truly care about the work they do. Another sign that a messy desk can give off is their effort. The question becomes how much effort, care, and time do they put into each client or project when everything is scattered and all over the place. When things are like that it shows the employee is probably all over the place themselves and not doing the best work to their ability.
    As I began to research a little more about the perception of people with messy desks, I came across a report done by OfficeMax. They found that office clutter undermines productivity and motivation. “Your performance coincides with your workspace,” says Dede. “When it’s organized and precise you have the mindset and motivation to work” https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/03/27/the-dangers-of-a-messy-desk/#7dc9aaaec89e. Organization like mentioned before only comes with positive thoughts and actions, Whereas, being unorganized comes with negative thoughts and actions. At times keeping a desk clean and uncluttered can be a challenge, however, everyone must keep in mind that cleanliness gives off a different reputation to what others think about us. In all, I believe no one would like others to think badly about themselves just because they can’t seem to be organized.

  10. Alen Del Valle October 25, 2019 at 11:14 am #

    Before reading the article, I had an idea of the opinions of others to having a very messy workspace. I agree that having a clean and tidy workspace will increase productivity and will help these workers be more focused on the task at hand. Being disorganized can make your coworkers have a negative opinion on you and make them not want to work with you. Having a cluttered desk shows that you do not really care about your work and that you do not even care enough to fix all your papers or even take out the garbage from your garbage can. Personally, I tend to have a messy desk but that does not mean that I do not care about getting my work done. Sometimes it could be a busy day and you have things all over your workspace, that should not make people think you do not care about completing your objective. If you clean your desk one to two times a week, then that could show others that you really do care about your job and you like to stay focused on what you need to do. Having a clean desk can be very important for college students. It could be really helpful when you are right papers or doing some complicated work on a clean and organized desk because you will not have anything around you to distract you. Also, when there are papers or garbage on your desk, the only thing that is in your head could be, “Maybe I should clean this instead of doing homework.” Having an organized place to work can make a difference when it comes to your performance.

  11. Halli Schwartz October 30, 2019 at 9:08 pm #

    I am a very organized person. From a young age, I always liked to keep lists, make to do lists, and make sure that everything was in just the right place. Growing up, and currently, this stays the same. I feel as though if everything is organized and tidy, this will reflect on my work and overall productivity. After reading this article, I realized that all of my organization over the years will pay off in my future career. The article describes that a messy desk in the office will create a negative perception of an employee to their coworkers. After recent research at a university at Michigan, it was discovered that between an employee with a tidy desk, a slightly unorganized desk, and a very messy desk, that the owner of the messier desks were “less conscientious” than the owner of the organized desk. Additionally, the owners of the unclean desk were described with adjectives like “careless, cranky and uncaring” (Raphael 7). Whether one is a current employee, applying to jobs, or just a student, this study proves that organization can make you seem like a more hardworking individual, a more qualified candidate, or a more conscientious person in general. This article made me feel inspired. I am what the article describes as an organized individual, and it excites me that this could help me in my future endeavors. As I am currently looking at internship opportunities in my field, I feel a bit more secure and confident as once I obtain a possible position, I will hopefully be perceived well due to my future organized desk. It is amazing that something as simplistic as having a tidy desk can basically help one not only obtain a job but also be revered at their position due to their organization.

  12. Emily Crisafulli November 2, 2019 at 12:24 am #

    I am one that finds this to be completely true. It is very accurate to judge someone based off their workspace. If a manager, or person of higher position, is cluttered and messy, there is a chance your initial reaction to them will be that they are overwhelmed and disorganized. Imagine if you went to a job interview and the person you met with had a messy office, filled with garbage and unorganized papers. Personally, I would be worried this person is untrustworthy and that they could maybe be a not so good boss. I would not want to take a job with someone who could be forgetful for uncaring about their space or environment.

    I, myself, cannot function if things aren’t neat and in order. As mentioned in the article, they used a clock that was an hour off. While some might not notice that, I wouldn’t be able to work. I function the best when things are easily accessible, orderly and accurate. This way, there is little chance of a mistake or to lose something. I have a very small desk at my job, but also have a very important job with numbers. If a paper gets confused or goes missing, I could lose my job. Any time my things aren’t arranged and perfectly in order, my co-workers know that I must not feel good or am having a bad day.

    With that said, just because someone might be cluttered or have a messy desk, does not mean they aren’t at all capable of being a good worker. I do, however, agree that those who do have the tendencies of being forgetful or prone to mistakes.

  13. Jacqueline P November 5, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

    Even before reading this article I already knew the typical stereotype that it would be perceived towards the worker who has a neat organized desk compared to the worker who has a messy work desk. The worker with the nice, neat, organized desk is believed to have themselves put together. While the worker with the messy work desk is believed to have their work and life in disarray. I disagree with the write of this article. In my opinion a neat or a messy work desk doesn’t define the workers work ethic and their characteristics. In today’s society it is easy to judge someone by their appearance or by their surroundings. Just because someone works in a messy work environment does not mean that they’re unable to work as hard as someone with a neat, organized desk. The people who work in an unorganized mess knows exactly where their paperwork is and important documents. Everyone works different and in different types of environments that might not make sense to others. For example, my sister and I are two completely different people. Her work environment is mess and unorganized, but she knows exactly where everything is. My work environment is neat and organized and you better believe I know where everything is. We both have the same work ethic even though our work environments are different. Each person is different. Each person does not work the same. Each person does not live the same. You can’t judge a person by their work environment.

  14. Dominic Caraballo November 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm #

    I understand how people can be perceived poorly for having a messy work space by giving off the perception of not having their act together. Personally, I find it easier to work in a clean space as it allows for better organization. In addition, I find that the less clutter in my work space also contributes to less stress inside my mind. I argue that the better productivity exhibited within the Harvard study discussed in the article is due in part to having less anxiety from your environment. The more things strewn about on your desk can increase this feeling of being overwhelmed and distracted. There is a purpose as to why blinders are placed on horses during a race; to allow for concentration on the task ahead.

    Maintaining organization is harder for some people in comparison to others. Fortunately for myself I am rather organized, but for those who are messy there is hope as I have a couple of tips to help. First, begin by taking the time to throw out anything unnecessary and clean off your work desk. Once your desk is clear it will be more manageable to keep it clean. In addition, by utilizing your computer’s functionalities and eliminating the need for paperwork when possible, freeing up space on your desk that was once occupied by papers and folders will be a thing of the past. These are just two simple and easy ways that I found worked well for me without the need to make drastic changes that can aid in the presentation of yourself, just in case your boss decides to drop in.

  15. Lauren M April 1, 2020 at 7:31 pm #

    I found this article to be very interesting, as there can be many different opinions about coworkers with a messy desk. This article takes the approach of how a messy work space leads coworkers to think that the worker with the messy desk is more neurotic, less agreeable, and pretty uncaring. I would argue that there are a few different reasons as to why people have messy desks. My first thought is that the employee is too busy to clean their desk. I have interned in a office where the employees handle lots of paperwork, and are very busy between meetings and phone calls. Seeing this has shown me that employees may not always have the time to reorganize their desks. Another thought of mine is that some employees may not mind having a messy desk. If an employee can function normally with a messy desk, he or she may not mind the desk being messy. During my freshman year of college, I had a professor that had the messiest office. Even with his messy office, he was one of my most memorable professors. He had assignments graded very fast, answered his emails quickly, and had a unique style of teaching. This shows that he is not neurotic or uncaring, even with a messy desk. I think it just depends on how a person functions at work, as some people cannot function properly with a messy desk, while others can.
    Personally, I do think that if employees share an office, they should have to reorganize their desk before leaving work each day. I understand that there are employees that feel anxious when the office is not neat, as the mess causes unnecessary stress. I especially think that the desk should be cleaned of any empty coffee cups or perishable items, as keeping these items can result in unwanted critters coming into the office.
    Overall, I can understand how coworkers may assume that an employee with a messy desk is neurotic and uncaring, but I do not think that this is always the case. I think that some employees with messy desks may not mind the mess, as they can still function normally. I also think that employees can not always keep their desks clean, as the work day can get busy.

  16. MaryAnn G April 10, 2020 at 12:42 pm #

    I like this article to a point. There are many reasons as to why someone is more productive than another person is but this is something that does not necessarily come to mind. I do not think that the experiment was very inclusive because they gave 160 different people an office, and that office may not be how that particular person organizes their own desk. This in and of itself is a misrepresentation, because if you put someone who has an organized though process into a messy room, of course their mind is going to be different and disturbed in someway, but that does not mean that a person who works well in a messy room would react in the same way. Just like that, if you put a messier person into a completely organized room, their thought process will be completely different from the person whose room is actually organized. The actions and work for each person in the unfamiliar and unusual room does not explain the actions and the work that each person can do when they are working in their own comfortable place. I understand the study behind this and the correlation between each of the workspaces contrary to the person but I do not believe this article takes into consideration what job is being done, and what can actually be done well in each space. For example, the untidier person may be able to have a more creative and fluid mind whereas the tidier person may be better with technical subjects. This article was too general for me and did not actually take into consideration other factors.

  17. Samuel Appah April 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm #

    This an interesting article to read. I have a mixed feeling on this topic. There are some point I
    Agree with and some I do not. I support the idea that a cleaner desk often proves that the person is more productive. In general, it makes because whenever you are in a room where there is less distractions you are able to focus more on completing your task. Howeever if it is very untidy, you are very distracted and your focus time is quite low. The reseaercher claims that the time span between someone who has a clean desk compared to another with a messy desk is around 7 minutes. This is kind of time is enoiugh to get ahead of your peers.
    The other part of this research I do not quite agree with is the idea that having a messy makes your coworkers assume you are uncaring, less agreeable and unstable. There is a saying do not judge a book by its cover. I think that terminology applies here as well. You cannot assume a person is unstable because they have a messy desk. It just does not make sense to me. The person could be in a difficult position in their and might be in need of help instead of assuming they are uncaring. This is something I feel the research might not be accurate based on the ideas it portrays. Honestly, I don’t think its right to assume all kinds of thoughts about someone based on the cleanliness of their desk. What is your opinion about this concept? Do you agree with the research?

  18. William Segers April 10, 2020 at 3:59 pm #

    Many people may develop opinions about you purely based on how you act, or what you say to them or around them. But according to the new study, your colleagues can develop an opinion on you on how neat your desk is at work. The results from the experiment are pretty obvious on what the people participating in the experiment would conclude about each desk. The nice, clean tidy office had responses that represent a well put-together employee. The neatly stacked papers, and upright books and journals on the shelves tell me enough that the person that owns that office knows where everything is kept and probably excels in whatever their profession is. The “somewhat” messy office had tilted books, papers on the floor, and a wall clock that was off by one hour. The participants thought of these people to be less agreeable, neurotic, and careless. This later revealed that this will have an effect on how people will interact with them both personally and professionally. In my own personal opinion, the workspace does not define the person on how they perform at work or how they are personally through a cluttered work area. Everyone is different and everyone has their own methods on how they do things.

  19. Natalia Z May 27, 2020 at 4:21 pm #

    From the title of the article, I had a preconceived notion that a messy work desk corresponded to negative attributes of a person. The article stated a study that was conducted and its findings concluded that an untidy work space leads colleagues to perceive that the person is more neurotic, less agreeable, and pretty uncaring. This makes sense to an extent, but how can we truly judge a person’s work ethic on the sole purpose of the appearance of their desk?

    Making a good first impression is particularly important when it comes to meeting customers, pitching to potential clients, or during interviews. These are the key points at which people will meet you and begin to form an impression of you and the services you’re offering. A messy or disorganized desk can be interpreted as a sign you are disorganized and inefficient in your work. That’s not the type of image any of us want. This mindset is what causes people to judge a person’s ability to do something just because it’s different from the rest. Who knows, maybe the person with the messiest desk was the only one who could’ve given you the best deal off the car you were looking to purchase.

    Being messy at work does not necessarily mean you are a messy person in general. Not only do we see people wanting to make a good first impression in the workplace, but it even happens in our own homes. I think many would agree that if you are hosting a party at your house you would tidy up and make sure everything is cleaned before the guest arrive. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are doing it because it comes so naturally. In addition to affecting the way others see you, a messy desk can impact how you see yourself. Don’t miss the importance of this. Having confidence can have a profound impact on how you present yourself and pursue your work. A clean desk at work is a very simple step that can have a variety of benefits in your professional life, but shouldn’t dictate if you are a good employee or not.

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