What a Messy (or Neat) Desk Reveals About You
Got a messy desk? Don’t worry; it likely just means you’re creative and full of new ideas.
A clean desk, by contrast, suggests generosity and conventionality. Either way, there’s room for both kinds of desks in most offices, research has shown.
The study found that workers with desks in varying states of organization and cleanliness may have various skills to offer employers and fellow workers.
“Prior work has found that a clean setting leads people to do good things: not engage in crime, not litter and show more generosity,” said Kathleen Vohs, a University of Minnesota psychological scientist and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “We found, however, that you can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting.”
In the first of several experiments, participants were asked to fill out some questionnaires in an office. Some completed the task in a clean and orderly office, while others did so in an unkempt one; papers were strewn about, and office supplies cluttered the area.
Afterward, the participants were presented with the opportunity to donate to a charity, and they were allowed to take a snack of chocolate or an apple on their way out.
Being in a clean room seemed to encourage people to do what was expected of them, Vohs said. Compared with the participants in the messy room, the participants in the clean room donated more of their own money to charity and were more likely to choose the apple over the candy bar.
But the researchers hypothesized that messiness might have its virtues as well. In another experiment, the participants were asked to come up with new uses for ping-pong balls.
Overall, the participants in the messy room generated the same number of ideas for new uses for the balls as their clean-room counterparts did, but their ideas were rated as more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges.
“Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries and societies want more of: creativity,” Vohs said.
The researchers also found that when participants were given a choice between a new product and an established one, those in the messy room were more likely to prefer the novel one – a signal that being in a disorderly environment stimulates a release from conventionality – whereas the participants in a tidy room preferred the established product over the new one.
“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” Vohs said. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”
Surprisingly, the specific physical location didn’t seem to matter.
“We used six different locations in our paper; the specifics of the rooms were not important,” Vohs said. “Just making that environment tidy or unkempt made a whopping difference in people’s behavior.”
The researchers are continuing to investigate whether these effects might transfer to a virtual environment. Preliminary findings suggest that the tidiness of a web page predicts the same kinds of behaviors. These preliminary data, coupled with the findings, are especially intriguing because of their broad relevance.
“We are all exposed to various kinds of settings, such as in our office space, our homes, our cars, even on the internet,” Vohs said. “Whether you have control over the tidiness of the environment or not, you are exposed to it, and our research shows it can affect you.”
The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Customers sensitive Information is another area most times are not thought about, are you draws able to lock, if you have an office do you have a key to lock the door. Do you have a disposing of customer’s information in a secured place?
Also set your desktop or any devise to lockdown after a certain time in order that no one can see what is on your screen.
Remember your office or Area of Operation is your business, how are you going to tell your story? Social sites, follow up phone calls, hand written letters or speak away from your office out in the community?
Either you go to work to wait for something to happen or you go to work to make something happen! Which one is you?
Make it a champion day!
Brandon K. Hardison