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A1 Office.

What Does Your Desk Say About You?

Albert Einstein famously said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” 

The average office worker spends almost 6 hours at their desk every day, so it is no surprise that their personalities bleed into their surroundings. According to Professor Sam Gosling, we are constantly making statements about ourselves through our presentation. Our surroundings are a ‘crystallisation’ of our behaviour over time. 

The Messy One

In every office, there’s that one notoriously messy desk, you know the one. Chances are they’re also the most creative and outgoing person there! Paper everywhere, cables galore, meeting notes stuck around their monitor, schedules and leftovers scattered haphazardly – the more items, the more comfortable they feel. They have the most unorganised space but will likely be the most organised. Something missing in the office? Chances are whatever you’re missing is on this desk, or they at least know where to find it. Despite this, they would describe themselves as an ‘organised mess’. 

The Tidy One

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the minimalist person. This type of desk usually hosts the more introverted and generous bunch of workers. They thrive on routine, structure and lots of planning. For these people, less clutter = fewer distractions. Only the essential items are allowed on this desk: a keyboard and a mouse ( maybe a notepad for those meeting notes). These people generally have less creativity than their messy counterparts but are usually your go-to for questions or queries. 

The Techy One

Every office has someone whose desk looks like a tech store, where you can find every gadget and wire possible for the job. They usually have more than one monitor, as studies have shown that this can promote productivity by 20 – 30%. These desks might be a bit of a mess – amping up their creativity and inspiration. They are also known to be outgoing and experimental with their work.

The Personalised One

As mentioned earlier, the average worker spends almost 6 hours a day at their desk, so it’s no surprise that people’s personality can bleed into their work life. Companies like Etsy give their new employees $100 site credit to decorate their desks to create a familiar environment. These people love new ideas and opportunities. They feel more comfortable with their items surrounding them, so personalising their desks is the best way to be more productive at their job. Having personal items on a desk also gives the impression that they are not planning on leaving this job anytime soon. 


Psychological Science published a study on how personality is affected by their environment. Participants in both environments were given the same prompts to multiple questions. Those in the clean environment responded better to questions like giving to charity (choosing to give to charity more often) or choosing between two snacks (where they would choose the healthier option). Showing that this environment influenced more charitable and healthier choices. The participants with a cluttered environment showed that they were creatively influenced – as they were more likely to generate new uses for ping-pong balls than their tidy counterparts. Einstein’s theory aside, being in either a clean or cluttered environment has its perks.

If you’re trying to bring in healthier habits, structure and a more giving perspective to life, try cleaning up your home or office. If you are looking for more desk creativity and ideas, sign up to our newsletter today.

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