What Your Desk Says About You

January 6th, 2012 | Food for Thought, Job Search | No Comments »

A plethora of online tests claim a link between our personalities and our preference of snack foods, animals, and even colors. Those kinds of tests consist of questions that only you would have the answer to. There is a less conspicuous personality marker that many employees may not be aware of. One that shouts loud and clear to your co-workers, prospective clients, and bosses about what kind of person you are. With most Americans spending longer days at the office, and more time away from home, it’s easy to see why the desk has become such a magnet for self-expression.

The picture someone’s desk paints can also be an important clue into how your office and team members function together in the workplace. When an employer can deduce their team’s personalities from their desks, they can get a better idea of how to increase performance and productivity.

As innocent as family photos and bobble head frogs may seem, you need to be certain of what your desk is saying to the people around you. We subconsciously judge a person within the first thirty seconds of setting eyes on them. See which category below you fall in to, and what you can do to rid yourself of the “Detrimental Desk”!

Desks covered in post-it’s show a certain level of disorganization. But don’t get discouraged, it also shows that you’re trying! Rather than advertising that you don’t have the best memory, try using a task list or another digital equivalent of a string around your finger.
“Photo Frenzy”
Pictures of family and friends can convey that this person is more of a “people’s person,” and is motivated by relationships in and out of the office. Photographs of yourself and your significant other from last summer show the viewer that you have a stable work-life balance. While pictures of your children show that you have roots. It is possible, however, to over document the happenings of your personal life. Too many family photos could look like you are distracted and would rather be at home than at work. Even if you’d rather be, it’s best that you don’t flaunt it!
“Fanatical Fan”
Sports paraphernalia may be one of the most “dangerous games” you can play in an office environment. By plastering images of your favorite sports team on everything from mugs to mouse pads, you could be inadvertently creating an instant office rivalry. A sports background does show an inherent ability and understanding of how to work on a team. But sporting mascots from a different city can cause tension in the workplace. If you choose to personalize your space with sports teams, just be sure you represent the city you are in!
“The Sweetest Thing”
Employees whose desks are laden with overflowing bowls of candy are generally very giving. They like to make people happy and are conscientious of others. Candy bowls can also show that you like to socialize, and the negative connotation of socialize is the “office gossip.” If you genuinely like to have “visitors” swing by and chat while picking up their sweets, just be sure to keep it professional. Don’t talk about other co-workers or confidential business practices. You don’t know who is privileged to what information, and more importantly who is not. When someone spills the “jelly beans” that you are the information source, it could be disastrous to your career!

While personality analysis via Desktop Décor is a fun and fascinating topic, it actually proves to be quite a serious way for employers to gather information of who we really are. By following the tips in each category and making small adjustments to your surroundings, you will be able to maintain a positive work station portrayal, and still express your individuality.

– By Megan Oldag