May 7, 2015 | 3 minutes

What Your Desk Says About You

By Nathan Strum

Whether you realize it or not, how your desk looks and what is on it sends a subliminal message to others. Are there vacation pictures plastered everywhere, a vision board, or what about those unread papers that are piling up?   Let’s be honest with ourselves, we have all walked by our coworkers desks, glanced at their cubicle and formed a certain impression of them. Marketo conducted a study and found that 57% of workers admitted to judging their peers by the cleanliness of their workspace. Furthermore, 90% believe that clutter has a negative effect on their work, while 77% associate clutter with deteriorating their productivity. Well, it works both ways, so what does your desk say about you?

The Creative one

Those that have unusual objects, spaces or a diverse workspace promote openness. Entrepreneur.com states, “People with original art, unusual spaces, or a diverse array of objects tend to be high in openness, meaning they embrace new ideas or experiences and are often very creative. Innovative companies, such as ad agencies or tech startups, tend to attract creative people and encourage their employees to showcase their personalities.”

The Hoarder

Think about that one person that has the highest stack of papers on their desk, while their drawers are extremely overstuffed. Yes, I might be exaggerating, but someone most likely came to mind. These are the ones that are most likely to take on as many tasks as they can. They like to be involved in everything.

The Extrovert

Things such as leaving your door open and creating a friendly environment usually tells others that you are social and inviting. Entrepreneur states, “By creating a welcoming space, they show others that they’re approachable, and often get many more visitors than the introverts. Sociability can pave the way for promotions and new opportunities, so introverts may help their careers by adding a few inviting touches.”

The One That Doesn’t Want To Be There

Vacation photographs can be a great personal touch that puts you in a happy place, but is there a limit on how many photographs you can put up. Yes. Salary.com weighs in, “A couple of office appropriate vacation photos are fine, and give that faint bronze glow you’re sporting some context. But a countdown calendar to your next getaway (272 DAYS!) or a predominance of souvenir drink umbrellas in your pencil holder might indicate that you’re more invested in the cruise brochures pinned to your cork board than to next week’s new business presentations.”

The One With The Bare Desk

Clutter, hoarding and things of this sort do have a negative impact on how others view you based on your desk, but not having anything at all also sends a message. This can make you look unapproachable. If there is nothing on your desk people might think that you have to loosen up a bit. Salary.com states, “If your boss sees a barren desk it might look like you’re hesitant to settle in and get comfortable because you’re looking to jump ship.”

Next time you walk by someone’s desk, check to see if you can spot any of these personalities.

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