You’re always on time for meetings. You’re impeccably dressed and well groomed. And your manners are on point. But if you never clean your desk, you may be overlooking one of your boss’s biggest pet peeves.
More than half of senior managers say being messy or disorganized is the most distracting or annoying thing about employee workspaces, according to a survey done by staffing service OfficeTeam.
“Your workspace is a reflection of you. Keep it tidy,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, in a statement. “You want to stand out for your positive attributes, not the messy state of your office or work area.”
Dirty desks aren’t the only offenders. Sometimes it’s not how much stuff is on your desk, but what that stuff is that’s the problem.
“Make sure there isn’t anything on display that might cause others to question your professionalism,” Britton continues. “Showing a little personality on your desk is fine, but don’t go overboard.”
OfficeTeam offers these three tips for creating a workspace that leaves a good impression:
- Clean up your act. Spend a few minutes every day clearing out old documents, food wrappers, and dirty dishes. Reduce clutter by organizing files or going paperless.
- Keep it simple. It’s OK to have a few things in your workspace that are inspiring or fun to look at, but covering your desk with too many knickknacks can be an eyesore.
- Don’t be offensive. Remember, items in your work area aren’t always for your eyes only. Ditch the political posters, risqué photos, and anything that might be too controversial.
And now is the perfect time to get cracking and clean your desk, cubicle, or office if it doesn’t represent the put-together professional you are, since the second Monday in January is recognized as National Clean Off Your Desk Day.
“This day is an opportunity to begin your new year with a clean and organized workspace,” according to National Day Calendar. “Whether your desk is in a private or shared office, cubicle, home, or a make-shift desk on the counter, having your workspace uncluttered, organized, refreshed, and clean will help you work more efficiently and give you a sense of serenity.”