Whether you’re working from home, back at the office or sharing a ‘hot desk’ in a collaborative working space, being aware of what’s on (or not on) your desk is something you perhaps need to pay some attention to.
We’re all different, and have our own style, but we also all have numerous ‘signals’ that give clues to our state of mind, approach to work and other aspects of life, and how we like to go about things. And our desks can be a visual marker that gives some of these signals to our colleagues.
There is definitely no issue with having a few pics of your family, activities, holidays etc. on your desk, but be aware of what impression these might give – too many pics of holidays, and a calendar with bright circles around your next vacation date may suggest to others that you’re more focused on your next getaway than the tasks at hand.
Similarly, whilst there is nothing wrong with letting your hair down on a night out, having a bunch of snaps of you in a range of bars and clubs taking full advantage of the cocktail specials may not instill the greatest confidence in your ability to snap into work mode on a Monday morning!
Whilst a few fun toys on your desk, perhaps collected on business trips, signal that you’re a fun person, try and avoid going overboard and cluttering up the bulk of your work surface with the top 100 from Hamley’s! Read your environment and the desks of your bosses – find a median point between ‘corporate serious’ and ‘approachable’. And most definitely avoid toys that make noise – there is nothing worse than a repetitive, noisy toy that gets wonkier and wonkier as the batteries lose power!
There are few things that clutter up a desk faster than a disorganized pile of papers and sticky notes everywhere, and quite frankly there are plenty of digital technologies and filing systems these days that can help you get properly organized! If you must have paper piles, make sure you have neat, stackable organisers to keep them in line!
You may well have an excellent regime for taking your vitamin and supplements or may keep some medicinal capsules at work just in case you suddenly develop a headache, but keep your pills to yourself – your colleagues need not be reminded of what you’re doing to stay healthy!
There is real value in having some greenery in the office, and a small plant on a desktop can bring significant benefits both from a visual and an emotional perspective. But there is no merit in having a pet plant and the forgetting to maintain it! Watering, feeding and trimming your desktop plants will help keep them in tip-top shape, and prevent them from getting root-rot which can be odorous, getting too large and taking over or simply dying and becoming a rather depressing feature. You should also avoid plans that have pungent scents as there may be people in the workspace who have allergies.
Everyone loves a morning coffee or tea, whether it’s a takeaway or made in-house, and you may well also have a snack or take your lunch at your desk. But be sure to clean up after yourself – stale food, sour milk and mouldy leftovers are unpleasant for everyone, and will also clutter up your desk in no time. In general, this is one of the biggest no-nos in an office of any kind!
Staying organized in your workspace not only helps you be more productive but keeps you and everyone else around you happier and more collaborative too! Start with your desk and carry this through to all aspects of your working environment.