A disheveled workspace can hurt chances for promotion

» Posted on Jul 20, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Does your desk resemble a post-apocalyptic nightmare? Are old coffee cups breeding new life forms? Is vital information buried under reams of discombobulated nonsense? No matter how good you are at your job, having a cluttered workspace may prevent you from getting a promotion.

According to research from CareerBuilder, nearly 30 percent of employers surveyed say they most likely wouldn’t promote someone with a disorganized and messy work station.

Over a third of workers (35 percent) have a tendency to be office hoarders, with the gender breakdown being fairly even with male workers at 32 percent, and female workers at 38 percent. And while most organizations have entered the digital era, 48 percent of workers say they still have paper files in their office and/or strewn around their desk.

Thirty-two percent of workers surveyed said their desk space is between 50 and 100 percent covered with work-related materials. “Stuff”, said 15 percent of respondents, occupied 75 percent or more of their desk space. Remarkably, 36 percent said they have papers and files dating back more than a year, and 5 percent have files dating back more than a decade.

Even if workers are productive, and their projects are wielding positive results, employers still can’t look past the desktop lawlessness. Nearly two-in-five employers (39 percent) say piles of paper covering a desk negatively impacted their perception of that person; 31 percent feel they are disorganized, while 13 percent say they are just messy.

Some workers live under the illusion that a chaotic desk indicates a busy workload, which in turn denotes productivity. Not the case. Most employers view it as a lack of organization and perhaps laziness.

Here are some tips to keeping the clutter at bay:

  • Get acquainted with the office recycle bin. Schedule a time every week to feed it.
  • Even if you have multiple projects on the go, prioritize and take care of one project at a time.
  • Clutter and chaos can also happen digitally. Once a week, clean out and organize your emails.

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