Monday 8th January 2018

Are you the office hoarder, that always has two coffee cups on their desk at any one time, business cards and brochures dating back to 2010 behind the monitor, and a stapler, surfing the wave of note paper cascading over the keyboard?


Are you the office surgeon, who cleans their monitor and keyboard every morning before they start work and lines up all the paper, pens and desk phone to an inch of perfection when they leave at night?


Maybe your just somewhere in-between…

We all poke fun at our fellow colleagues about the way they work, but underneath the jokes and jovial comments, how does your desk management effect the way you feel, impact productivity and effect your future prospects?

A workplace survey* conducted on 2,000 UK office employees, showed that 41% of workers believed that an organised workspace is key to doing a good job, whilst 1 in 4 said that a messy colleague had a negative effect on their own productivity. 21% expressed that having an untidy desk actually increased their workload.

Career promotion

If you’re looking to move up the ladder, keeping your workspace spick and spam is a winner with the boss. 1 in 10 leaders said that a messy work area would stop them from promoting an employee, meaning that 1 in 3 workers could be missing out on promotion due to simple untidiness.

The border line between messy and tidy is a fine line of control however, with 50% of workers believing that taking on extra projects is the number one factor to career progression.

Health and wellbeing

49% of workers said that having an untidy workspace effected the way they felt about going into work every day, increasing stress in their jobs and effecting their overall performance. 12% admitted that they worry that colleagues are constantly judging them because of their clutter.

A tidy desk makes a happy home. Workers with organised desks said that they were in control, were more productive as a result, feeling confident in their careers and that this had a positive impact on their relationships and happiness at home.

Workplace perception

A whopping 73% of managers perceive that employees with an untidy workspace are simply disorganised. When asked, fellow employees assumed that colleagues with untidy desks were struggling with their workload, didn’t take pride in their jobs and that they had better things to do. Junior colleagues fared badly with 3 in 4 making the assumption that any form of mess meant they were lazy and disorganised.

Financial loss

You know that feeling you get when you put something of value down and it instantly disappears, you’re not alone. 1 in 5 workers admitted that they have lost items of financial value due to untidiness with 34% losing £50-£100, 17% £50-£200 and an amazing 33% having lost items that amounted up to £500.

The average calculated cost for having an untidy desk washes out at £148.

In summary

Overall, 70% of professionals like to think they keep a tidy workspace, although 33% admit that their desk is cluttered and could do with a clean-up.

The office hoarders and surgeons of this world are at the extreme end of the spectrum and the average worker is probably somewhere in between, however, our work lives are increasingly pressured with the expectation to deliver more, faster and more efficiently – meaning our ability to manage our working environment is constantly tested.

As human beings, we can only do so much to change our behaviours, but we can change the environment we work in, the space we inhabit when we are in the office and design it to give us the functionality we need to free ourselves of mess and optimise for productivity.

*For more insights on workspace management and the effects of your desk tidiness, see the Brother Survey.

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