Executive Suites: What Does Your Office Say About You?
From a desk photograph to certificates on the wall, the way you organise your office space tells others what kind of person you are. So what does your desk say about you? officebroker.com finds out more...
What does your desk say about you?
When you spend a lot of time at your desk it can become like a second home, and some people decorate their desk accordingly. But for others, work is work - and they prefer to surround themselves with charts and motivational targets.
The way you organise or decorate your desk can be a signpost to others, offering insights into your personality, the way you are with people, and even your level of efficiency.
But naturally, these assumptions can be wildly inaccurate. Experts say that, in the same way your clothes and body language make an impression on others, you can help control what people think about you at work by looking after your desk space.
"Everything in your office sends a message, whether you want it to or not," says Lisa Marie Luccioni, an adjunct professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati.
So officebroker.com investigates - what does your desk really say about you?
Pictures From Your Hobby... If you decorate your workspace with pictures, artefacts and mementos from your hobby or leisure time, it can give out the impression that you not concentrating on your work.
"Pictures of your hobby are good conversation starters, but if you have too many of them, it makes people wonder whether you're really daydreaming," says Barbara Pachter, business etiquette expert and author of "New Rules at Work".
Try to keep a balance - a few photos are fine, but don’t overload your space with artefacts unless you want to bring your work productivity into question.
Photos of People and Family... Having photos of people, rather than objects, signals an extroverted workspace that people will feel free to linger in. It invites others in and helps them to feel more comfortable in your office space. Similarly, a dish of candy and an open door signal the same.
Little Decoration, No Guest Chair... This creates an unwelcoming space and suggests that you are introverted, and don’t want others to hang around, says Sam Gosling, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas. This even goes down to the type of photos you have on your desk.
"Even if your office has photos or artwork, but they're images of things and not people, others can make an assumption you're more introverted and might not want them to linger," Gosling says.
A guest chair can also add to this. For example, if your guest chair is flimsy or covered in files, or if there is no chair at all. Similarly, if your desk faces away from guests or you have little or no decoration in your office, this can also put people off from coming in or staying longer than they have to.
Awards and Certificates on Show... This shows that you demand respect from those around you. Whether it’s degrees on the wall, a name plaque, a certificate or a photograph of you with notable people, this suggests that you consider yourself to be an important figure and you demand respect.
Lisa Marie Luccioni, adjunct professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati, says: "Name plaques form a strong impression. If it says just your first name, people assume you're friendly and approachable. If it has a formal title, they think you want to be respected for your rank."
A Messy Office... Experts say that a messy office or desk, for example with disorganised piles of papers, can discourage people from doing business with you. It suggests that you are not conscientious, as people believe that it can be very difficult to function in a messy office and they may naturally assume that this chaos will be carried through into your projects.
However, Gosling suggests that some people may look too far into this: "People think that someone with a messy office is less agreeable, which may not be accurate. My guess is, people assume a mess is inconsiderate."
What does your office say about you - and would you agree or disagree with that statement?