Advice:What does your desk say about you?

By , published on 10th April 2011

Janette Whitney of Award-winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates gives insight on claims that the state of your workspace is a reflection of your personality and abilities.

Recent research claims that most people fit into one of five desk personalities that reveal insights into their organisational skills, career ambitions, communication skills and sense of humour.

Psychologists working on the project explained: ‘Your desk, much like your clothing, is an extension of yourself and projects a certain image. People form strong impressions of you based on the appearance of your desk. This means you could be sending out all the right – or wrong – messages’.

So, what does your – or your staff’s – desks have to say?

The ‘Artistic Temperament’ Desk

This desk is cluttered, but in an interesting way: books, papers, folders, drawings, photos, artwork and artefacts are all casually strewn across the desk, piled on top of each other. There will be post-it notes pinned everywhere, to remind the desk owner of project deadlines and people to contact.

He/she has a lively, enquiring mind, a strong imagination, abundant creative ability, and a ‘gut’ feeling about things. Many media people and ‘creative types’ fall into this category.

The ‘Self-Expression’ Desk

This desktop is an extension of the outgoing person sitting behind it, and it will contain lots of personal touches, such as posters, photos, postcards, cartoons, funny sayings, a zany mouse-mat etc. One or two mugs will be in evidence, as this person could not survive without their coffee break.

This desk-owner is an extrovert, sociable and talkative, with a good sense of humour. Their desk acts a meeting place for others, and this type is often relied on to dispense advice. Former ‘agony aunt’ Claire Rayner fell into this desktop category.

The ‘Control Freak’ Desk

This desktop may have little on it, or the contents may be neatly arranged to show order and control. Any files or paper stacks will be piled neatly, and any ‘overlapping’ will be neatly constructed. Items such as post-it notes and sellotape will be avoided like the plague because they are ‘too messy’.

This desktop owner prides him/herself on being organised and in control. He/she may have trouble getting started, but once into their work they can concentrate completely. This category includes some writers as well as publicity guru Max Clifford.

The ‘Trophy’ Desk

This is a slightly messy desk with a collection of ‘things’. These things may be favourite items, but there is a ‘show-off’ feel to them. They could range from travel posters or souvenirs of places visited, to remnants of various work campaigns or sports paraphernalia.

These desk owners are friendly, energetic, ambitious, often noisy people, who relate well to others. This is no shrinking violet – these people crave appreciation and attention. Many entrepreneurial types fall into this category.

The ‘Show-Off’ Desk

This is a desk that projects a ‘ heightened’ image of the person who sits behind it. It is always a large desk, luxuriously made, usually solid dark wood with leather inlay. It may have very little on it, and everything will be strategically placed. However, there is another version of this desk, which does have personal effects on it. These effects will be expensive and classy, and may include gifts given to the desk-owner: for example, a Faberge egg, a leather-framed photo of a family member.

This personality craves attention, has high ambitions and aspirations, and needs to feel a cut above the rest. They have a tendency to be arrogant and class-conscious, but balance this out with loads of charm and interesting conversation. He/she works hard and plays hard. Lord Archer falls into this category.

Want to know what your Business says about you? Contact Janette on 01403 733671 for professional, impartial advice and solutions

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Janette Whitney

About Janette Whitney

Janette Whitney is an award-winning business consultant, media columnist and award-winning business author. She specialises in business growth strategies and finance and formed her consultancy business after a highly successful career in banking. Janette’s expertise has won her both national and regional awards which include ‘Consultant of the year’ and ‘Business Book of the Year’ award (as co-author of ‘The Essential Business Guide’).

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