A Messy Desk Isn’t Always a Sign of Genius

We’ve all seen the pictures of Albert Einstein sitting a messy desk and equate disorganization as a sign of genius.

Science has shown the correlation to be valid, but a sloppy work space isn’t always well received by customers, coworkers or management.

Work Space Debate

In the  majority of modern offices, private work spaces are few and far between. Coworkers, more often than not, are sharing a desk or table for their 40-hour work week.

For as many people who thrive in chaos, there are the same who require neatness to produce their best work.

Coworkers with sloppy habits can be doing harm by encroaching on shared work space and negatively affecting productivity.

Finding the balance for your business and your employees requires a group effort before important documents or information could be lost in the clutter.

How to Approach Sloppy Employees

Imagine a high-end client coming to your office for the first time. Would you cringe or would your office space be an accurate reflection of how your organization operates?

Dive deeper into CareerTrend tips on approaching employees who need clean up.

  1. Take a helpful approach – offer assistance with organization or time management
  2. Provide Organizational Tools – provide filing supplies or storage space
  3. Issue Corporate Directive – avoid singling any one employee
  4. Be Diligent but Flexible – recognize even the neatest employees may have a disorganized desk every so often

As a business owner or manager, you don’t want to spend time harping on your staff to keep their space clean. However, it is your responsibility to maintain standards and keep productivity on track.

Your Messy Desk Reflects Your Professionalism

Those of us who love working under deadlines, and have a method to our madness for desk organization, can function in the chaos.

On the flip side, it could make others lose confidence in our abilities to perform our jobs well.

One of the most known staffing agencies, Robert Half, offered insight into Office Team’s study about workplace tidiness.

When asked what was most distracting or annoying about employee work space, 54% of managers surveyed stated a messy or disorganized work space while only 10% said the same for a overly neat work space.

Additional stats from the survey by the Adeco group show 42%of Americans have judged a coworker more negatively if his work space is dirty. It’s not clear how many are managers in that number.

Sure, most people don’t swim in paperwork and Post-It Notes. I doubt the majority of workers dust their neatly organized desk weekly. We all work best in a happy medium of these extremes. Just remember, your work area is a reflection of you, your company and how you appear to clients – Keep it decluttered at best.


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