What does your desk say about you?

Quite a lot, according to research out today

What does your desk say about you? Quite a lot, according to research out today which claims the state of your workspace is a reflection of your personality and abilities.

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

Donna Dawson, a psychologist who worked on the project with office furniture manufacturers Arneson Group, 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 if you’re keen to find out what the state of your – or your staff’s – desks have to say, read on:

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.

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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 desk category, including film director Michael Winner, fashion designer Linda Emmanuel, and author/columnist Matthew Paris. 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. T

his desk-owner is an extrovert, sociable and talkative, with a good sense of humour. Their desks act as a meeting place for others, and this type is often relied on to dispense advice. Former ‘Agony Aunt’ Claire Rayner and comedienne Nina Wadia fall 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 Mayor Ken Livingstone and 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, including Radio One DJ Mark Radcliffe. 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, an expensive lamp, a leather-bound diary, and expensive writing implements.

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 desk category.


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