Does Having a Messy Desk Hurt Your Career?

Are you a messy desk person or a neat-desk person? If you’re the former, do you ever get worried that the boss will see your chaotic workspace, and think you’re disorganized, or even lazy? The staffing pros OfficeTeam recently set out to find out what hiring managers think about an employee with a messy desk, and their findings might surprise you.

Only a minority of the human resources managers that OfficeTeam  interviewed thought that having a cluttered desk was a bad thing. In fact, most of them (68%) said that it’s at least somewhat acceptable to have a messy desk at work.

Nine percent of HR managers even said that a messy desk is a sign that an employee is creative.

That’s the good news for messy desk people. The not-so-good finding from the survey is that nearly one-third (32%) of HR managers surveyed said they would question an employee’s organizational skills and effectiveness if that person had an unkempt workspace.

So, while only a minority of HR managers feel this way, it’s a pretty large minority.

Perhaps the best advice we could offer workers is to find a happy middle ground between your natural state of desktop chaos and the more pristine, hyper-organized workplace of the person in the cubicle next to yours.

In other words: clean up your desk once in a while.

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