Monday, February 11, 2008

Which Is Better Clean Desk Or Cluttered Desk

There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not a clean desk leads to higher productivity. There are those that say an ordered desk is less distracting and that leads to higher productivity. Some studies suggest that requiring some people to clean their desk actually causes a drop in productivity.

In a book titled "A Perfect Mess" co-author David Freedman writes that,
Mess is good for a lot of reasons. First of all, you save a lot of time. Another reason is there is efficiency in mess," he said. "People who are really messy know where there stuff is. Because it reflects the way they work and think and in addition it's expressive.
What a great idea, allowing people a bit of freedom to express themselves and the way they work and think. Some people come by a neat desk naturally, some don't. Some like order and neatness and that is how they work and think. Others think in a more disordered way and their "space" reflects that. It isn't to say that one is necessarily better than the other.

The authors of "A Perfect Mess" found that employees that have messy desks are 36%more efficient. Another funny thing is that they conducted a survey that shows the bigger the salary, the bigger the mess. You have heard that you should always dress for the job you want not the job you have, well you should keep you desk for the job you want and not the job you have. The messier your desk the more your boss will know you want that promotion. Okay we all can see the fault in that but it still is an interesting tidbit.

I have seen a co-worker with a messy desk covered in papers with his cell, blackberry, ipod, laptop, and other devices plugged in charger wires running all over. He has his coffee cup, a water bottle, and an old McDonald's cup sitting on his desk. He always knows where things are at. Then there is the guy with an neat desk. He has one of those new charger station things to organize his cell, ipod, and blackberry, and there isn't a cup or bottle to be found. Yet he can't seem to find anything to save his life. Which is better?

Overall I think that a clean and neat workspace is better for all. I don't think it should come at the expense of individuality. People do need some freedom to express themselves. What does your desk look like? Is it messy or neat? Is your mess organized or do you spend a lot of time searching for things? I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein,

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?
Albert Einstein

later all and have a profitable and productive blogging day

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