Industry Thoughts

What Your Desk Says About You

By wizu | 27 April 2019

Working in an office generally means you work behind a desk. More than likely you have a computer, a keyboard, and pens on your desk; however, beyond this, what else do you have on your desk? Have you thought about the impression the state of your desk gives others? If not, you might want to consider the message your desk sends to your coworkers.

Your Personality Reflected by Your Desktop

Whether the top of your desk is messy and cluttered, or neat with everything in place, your space can give others clues about your personality. Or perhaps you can learn more about your colleagues by taking a look at what’s on their desk tops.

Here are a few examples of what a desktop can reveal about your personality:

1). The cluttered look: let’s tackle this one first. What does a cluttered desk reveal about your personality? You may be viewed as messy and disorganised. However, people with a cluttered desk are usually extroverts, who can be very welcoming to others. Their spaces may resemble something more like an organised mess. Ask them if they have a specific report and they’ll say yes. Next, you’ll see them rummaging through a pile of folders and papers and shortly they’ll find the report you requested.

If you have a messy desk, chances are you do know where everything is, with everything organised by piles, levels in piles, etc. This is what’s called an organised mess. There is order to the chaos, but only you know where everything is. Now, if someone comes along and reorganises your piles, it may be difficult to find things..

Science has proven that a messy desk is usually the sign of someone who’s dedicated to their work. There’s a saying, “A cluttered desk is a sign of genius.” Or it could be a cluttered desk is the sign of disorganisation. Which is true? Depends on how organised you are with your piles and what happens if the piles are knocked over or straightened up by someone else!

2). The minimalist desktop: we’ve taken a look at the impression a cluttered desk can give, now what about a desktop that doesn’t have much on it? We’re not talking nice and neat—rather, this is a desk that resembles a Zen garden. Everything from the computer to the desk lamp are in specific spots, and nothing at all unnecessary is to be found.

Einstein famously said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” That’s a good question. You may be the most conscientious and disciplined person in the office; however, others could see you as boring, with no personality. They may even wonder if you plan on staying with the company, as an overly neat desk can be a sign you’re getting ready to leave.

It may be that you’re a person who just needs to have a neat work environment. You may also prefer planning and structure. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, your tidy environment could give the impression that you’re only presenting a façade of perfection. Your colleagues could see you as averse to change or even rigid.

3). Trophy exhibit: perhaps you’re very proud of all your awards and trophies. You’ve worked hard and like to show it with all the accolades you’ve earned. There’s nothing wrong with this. You may be someone who is dedicated to hard work, a high achiever who follows through and succeeds every time, etc. You should be proud of your awards. However, having too many trophies can come across as bragging to your colleagues.

When choosing awards you’d like to display at work, consider keeping the number to a minimum. Everyone will still see you’re a hard worker, but they won’t see you as a braggart. They may even be inspired by your dedication and high achievements.

4). The sweet jar desk: OK, we’ve all worked in an office that has at least one desk with a sweet jar. The jar’s usually put in an obvious spot, with the intention of sharing it with anyone and everyone. Who doesn’t enjoy stopping by this desk for a treat? If you’re the sweet jar person, you may be an extrovert who enjoys spending time with others. You may not mind when people stop by for a quick chat or just to say hi and grab some sweet as they go by.

You’re a social butterfly in the office and are comfortable with people. Colleagues may find you easy to talk with, approachable and as someone they can trust. This is great, as long as you get work done and aren’t blocking the halls and walkways with a queue to your sweet jar.

5). The garbage pit: just the opposite from the sweet jar, you may find a desk—perhaps it’s yours—covered in trash. Maybe there are junk food wrappers, lunch containers with bits of food still in them, dirty tissues, etc. strewn about. You may just be a messy person who doesn’t mind lots of clutter. On the other hand, others could see you as someone who doesn’t really want to be at work or as someone who doesn’t take work seriously. Your colleagues may even fear that you’re suffering from depression or that you could be a hoarder.

Would you like some advice? It may be time to literally clean up your act. Show people you care about work and are dedicated to working hard for the team. Make it a habit to put all trash into the wastebasket and keep your space cleaned up. Not only will this improve the impression you give, it may even make you more productive when there’s not so much trash and clutter to distract you. However, if you are depressed or have another issue, don’t fear seeking out help or reaching out to talk with someone.

6). The pharmacy desk: just like the sweet jar, most of us have worked in an office with someone who runs a pharmacy at their desk. These people, and you may be one of them, may have remedies for everything from a simple headache to hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and tissues at their desk. Not only that, but they’re willing to share what they have to help others.

Colleagues may turn to you for help if you have the “pharmacy desk.” They may ask for advice, help for some ailment, news about the most current infection or virus going around the office, etc. However, you may sometimes be seen as a problem if you don’t let anyone touch things on your desk without cleaning their hands first. You could also be seen as a worrier, anxious and inflexible. To avoid this image, be sure to keep medicinal items and wipes in your desk drawer. It’s OK to leave the tissue box on your desk, but keep the rest of your pharmacy out of sight.

A desktop can give others an impression about you that may be right or wrong. Stop and take a look at your own desktop—what message are you sending others? Find out how Wizu can help with finding you the perfect desk, whether you decide to do with it!

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