A Messy Workspace Could Hurt Your Office Cred

January 25, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A new survey suggests those with messy office desks may end up with career advancement problems.

An OfficeMax news release about its survey said the areas people are reportedly most ashamed of anyone seeing include their desk or workspace (35%), or desk drawers (12%).

Not only do professionals judge their own organizational habits, but over half (53%) surveyed admit to thinking negatively of their coworkers with messy desks. In fact, professionals who see a colleague’s cluttered workspace reportedly assume that person must be lacking in other aspects of his or her job (40%) or take it one step further and have a lower overall opinion of this colleague (13%), the news release said. However, some are more forgiving and believe the coworker is simply overworked and doesn’t have time to clean up (33%).  

Nine in ten (90%) Americans admit that disorganization at home or work has a negative impact on their lives. Their productivity (77%), state of mind (65%), motivation (53%) and happiness (40%) are negatively affected when there is disorder.

Americans have the best of intentions to organize their desk or workspace (45%), computer files (36%), or email (28%) but for various reasons never get around to it. The biggest challenge seems to be deciding what goes and what stays. Nearly half (46%) have struggled with prioritizing what should be saved or thrown away, while others claim finding the motivation to get the job done (43%) or having the right organizational tools (27%).

OfficeMax’s 2011 Workspace Organization Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between December 30, 2010 and January 4, 2011 via email invitation and online survey.