Working Through Messes
Lily Bernheimer, an environmental psychologist and director at Space Works Consulting, laid out research on common desk personalities in her 2017 book, The Shaping of Us: How Everyday Spaces Structure Our Lives, Behaviour, and Well-Being. One of the personas she identified, “The Clutterer”, has a work area that is messy, chaotic, and covered with a mix of personal and work items. Bernheimer says clutterers are more extroverted and welcoming to others. For some, this may be an innate system of working and an indication that you prefer to see everything laid out for you to work with.
Most people with cluttered desks are hard at work, busy and on the move, but having a ‘messy desk’ can communicate poor time management skills or create an impression that you don’t value the way you carry yourself at work. Having a desk cluttered with non-essential items for work, such as food leftovers, could also indicate signs that you’re feeling a bit down on the job.