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What Your Office Desk Says About You [Infographic]

Author: Chris Thomson
Website: http://www.jfk-binding.co.uk/
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Your Desk And You

Messy Desk

Take a look around your office desk for a second. Is it littered with clutter and mess? Perhaps even the remnants of lunch from a few days ago? Or is it pristine and minimalist without a speck of dust? Either way, the way you have your desk at work could actually reveal a lot about your personality and work habits.

If you have a cluttered desk, then it might give a somewhat unprofessional impression, particularly if you have visitors walking around the office. You’re also said to be unproductive – which probably explains why you haven’t cleared up! However, messy desks also suggest some positive traits. You’re apparently creative, more extroverted and more welcoming of colleagues, which aren’t bad traits to have. Just a few people who have had famously messy desks include Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein, so you’re in good company.

However, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have an incredibly tidy desk with very little on it, then it suggests a whole other set of traits. You’re said to be conscientious, cautious and disciplined, you thrive on structure, and you’re hardworking and reliable. Again, all pretty good traits! However, the lack of personality on your desk might lead some to think you don’t plan on staying in the job very long.

Take a look at the graphic below from JFK Binding for more about what you work desk reveals about you – plus what your colleagues might think as well!


What Your Office Desk Says About You [Infographic]

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What your office desk says about you – and what your colleagues think too!

  • 5:41:00 – time people spend at their desk each day
  • 57% admit they judge coworkers by the state of their workspaces
  • 50% of people have been “appalled” by the state of a colleague’s desk

The Clutterer

Key traits

  • More extroverted & welcoming of colleagues
  • Creative but unproductive
  • Never throws anything away – including the remains of last week’s lunch
  • The source of most missing items – can’t find the office stapler/phone list/dog? Ask the clutterer

What you think

  • You’ve probably used the phrase ‘organised mess’
  • That you know exactly where everything is
  • The clutter/mess helps you feel more comfortable & at ease when working

What your colleagues think

  • How can anyone live/work like that?!
  • Genuine anxiety the mess might encroach on their own desk
  • Worried there may be a new primitive life form growing amongst the mess

The average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers.

The Minimalist

Key traits

  • Conscientious, cautious & disciplined
  • Thrives on structure & planning
  • Hardworking & reliable
  • Achievement orientated

What you think

  • Less clutter = fewer distractions
  • It’s more productive than a messy workspace
  • Why have more than you need?

What your colleagues think

  • How boring, jazz it up a little!
  • No personalisation could give the impression you don’t plan on staying long
  • They have an overwhelming temptation to mess it up

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

The Sick Note

  • Can be quite obsessive compulsive
  • Values their personal space
  • Easily distracted
  • Calls in sick more often than not

What you think

  • Offices are a breeding ground for germs
  • Everyone else’s desks are filthy
  • They can’t help being ill all the time

What your colleagues think

  • THEY’RE ILL AGAIN?!
  • Your desk is a good source of painkillers/cleaning products
  • Secretly jealous of all the time off you have

Sickness absence costs costs UK employers around £16bn a year. The cost to the US economy is nearly $600bn a year.

The Techie

Key traits

  • Curious & eager to experiment
  • Like to do things in your own time
  • Enjoy being the smartest person in the room
  • Impulsive

What you think

  • More gadgets = more productive
  • How can anyone work with only one screen?
  • The new iPhone is definitely different to the last

What your colleagues think

  • All that tech is more distracting than productive
  • You’re the go-to person when anything slightly technical goes wrong
  • Have you got an iPhone charger I can borrow?

Multiple computer screens increase productivity and efficiency by 9 to 50 %.

The Personaliser

Key traits

  • Open to new opportunities & ideas
  • Extroverted & creative
  • Inspirational posters/quotes say you’re neurotic
  • Curious

What you think

  • Feel more at ease having your own items around them
  • Helps get your creative juices flowing
  • Helps show off some of your personality

What your colleagues think

  • Quirky and creative
  • We see enough photos of your kids on Facebook
  • Why do you have toys on your desk?

Etsy gives each new employee a $100 site credit to decorate their desks.

Source: http://www.jfk-binding.co.uk/blog/office-desk-infographic/



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  • Take a look around your office desk for a second. Is it littered with clutter and mess?
  • If you have a cluttered desk, then it might give a somewhat unprofessional impression, particularly if you have visitors walking around the office.
  • Just a few people who have had famously messy desks include Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein, so you’re in good company.