A new study from Germany suggests that messy desks could actually encourage employees to think more clearly, as they are forced to focus on and simplify their tasks despite the chaos.
“Messy desks may not be as detrimental as they appear to be, as the problem-solving approaches they seem to cause can boost work efficiency or enhance employees’ creativity in problem solving,” say researchers from the University of Groningen in a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Business and government managers often promote ‘clean desk’ policies to avoid disorganized offices and messy desks, for the purpose of boosting work efficiency and productivity. This practice is based on the conventional wisdom that a disorganized and messy environment can clutter one’s mind and complicate one’s judgments. However, not all evidence supports this conventional link between a messy environment and a messy mind.”
Interesting stuff! Even so, it’s a good idea to at least tidy up your desk when the boss is nearby or clients are in the office. Not everyone appreciates the clutter.