There are many privileges to my job. The first is getting to know each and every one of my tenants, no two are the same. As I drop in to say hi, I am amazed at how different and unique are the ways in which our tenants are able to make their space “theirs”—to impart personality into their work space. Being with CoTEN, I’m constantly being reminded of and deal with certain elements that are usually present in the workplace, the most recognisable of which is, perhaps, the humble office desk.
Often overlooked but nonetheless still a necessity, your office desk is more than just a table you put your work stuff on. In case you didn’t know, your office desk can also tell your colleagues (and basically anyone who can see it) several details about you. After all, you spend, on average, over five hours a day at it—with the time you spend with it, you’re bound to leave some sort of imprint on it. In fact, you could look at your desk as that part of you which never leaves the office.
That’s why, for me, it’s interesting to know what impression you’re giving your colleagues at work through your desk. So, what is your office desk—a core piece of your work identity—saying about you?
Being in the business of providing quality workspaces to other businesses, I’ve come to know that how an office desk looks like or is set up can be related to a person’s attitude or behavioural traits, more importantly I am struck by the difference between my desks and Kat, who sits next to me at 35 Clarence Street. Those who pop in to my office normally comment, but in case you have not come to the prow of 35 Clarence, the picture at the top of this blog is the evidence you may need to prove that the desk is an advert to your working style.
So I decided to do a bit of research into what those who study these things for a living would say if they came to visit my work pod. The answers may surprise and frighten you, but try to work out the image your desk projects to the rest of your team from my findings, that I share below…
You might be a minimalist if…
Your desk is so tidy and straightforward that it’s hard to believe you get actual work done on it! Clean and orderly, it (and the surrounding space) is usually characterised by the following:
– Neutral colours and themes
– A simple, very clean keyboard, mousepad, and dust-free screen
– Little to no desk personalisation
– Paper, envelopes, and other essentials that are neatly stacked
Your desk tells others that you’re there to accomplish your tasks, no more, no less. You prefer fewer distractions and are generally a focused and conscientious individual. On the other hand, being a minimalist, you can also have a reputation for lacking creativity at work but, hey, at least you get the job done.
This theme is best if: you want to avoid distractions and do a good job.
You might be a techie if…
Your co-workers won’t notice your desk because of all the digital devices on top of it—it might even look more like a shelf in a gadget store than an actual office desk! In my observation, you’re basically telling your colleagues that you adore the latest technology if:
– Your desk has more than one screen you use for work
– Your desk has the latest superphone on display
– Your desk has other gadgets such as powerful laptops and tablets
– Your desk has at least two chargers under it
Being a techie, you are curious, insightful, and fun. You always want to find ways to increase productivity and often impress others with your knowledge about technology. This can be a bane as well though; you’re likely the office’s go-to person when it comes to your colleagues’ gadget woes, which can be distracting. You can also be over-reliant on technology, rendering you less useful when there’s a power outage or you don’t have access to your devices.
This theme is best if: you’re obsessed with finding ways to do your job easier and faster through technology.
You might be an extrovert if…
In the office spaces that we manage, desks that come with colourful and bold design elements that make them easier to spot amidst a sea of otherwise boring office desks usually belong to the extroverts. Other defining characteristics of this kind of desk include:
– Having bright, fun colours
– The presence of different accessories, gadgets, and knick-knacks
– Pictures of your family and friends on your desk and around your workspace
– Customised items such as a computer screen with a different design, attracting more attention to your desk
If you’re an extrovert, you’re assertive, fun, and insightful—all attractive workplace qualities for me. Be sure to get your work done though; you can have a reputation for being too chatty and easily distracted.
This theme is best if: you’re showing colleagues you’re fun, friendly, and approachable.
You might be a hoarder if…
You have a hard time using or organising your desk because of all the things on it, both needed and unnecessary. Now, to be honest, my desk most likely belongs to this category. That desk in the image below that looks like a storm passed through it? That’s mine, believe it or not!
This kind of desk usually has the following:
– A plethora of unused stationery supplies
– A slew of other things that you really don’t need, from old assignments to empty boxes
– Plenty of old pens and coffee-stained post-its
– Loads of office supplies (a reason why your officemates frequent your desk)
Office hoarders are usually known for being welcoming and friendly. While your desk might seem very messy and others might see you as unproductive or easily distracted, you’re usually still able to do your job quite nicely. I’ve learned that it’s in the way you’re able to use your desk—other people may find it distracting but for you it’s actually “organised chaos.” Plus, you have quite the distinction of “having everything,” which is why your officemates frequent your desk more—definitely good for making more friends in the workplace!
Just be careful though and don’t let your things reach the desks of the person next to you—he or she won’t like you for it. I recommend making full use of your office cabinets or, if you still run out of space, bring storage boxes if you really can’t let go of your items.
This theme is best if: you want to make sure you have everything that you need and will possibly need.
You might be an introvert if…
You’re almost the opposite of an extrovert—usually silent and shy, likes solitude, independent, and self-aware. An introvert’s desk is characterised by:
– Having stacks and piles of everything on it, from papers to books
– Being more of a fortress than a workspace
– Having a low-profile or neutral colour scheme
– Everything you need is within easy reach—you don’t like drawing attention to yourself
As an introvert, you may have something of a reputation for being shy or unapproachable. However, in reality, you just want to show your colleagues that you aim to be more focused, driven, and creative. Introverts are also quite efficient and perceptive, although they sometimes tend to be distracted or overwhelmed by too much stimulation or activity around them.
This theme is best if: you want to stay on the periphery, get the job done, and focus.
Whether we like it or not, impressions matter not just in the office but also in other aspects of daily life. Now that you’ve seen my desk, take a look at your own and ask yourself “what is it telling my bosses and colleagues about me?”
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