8 March 2021

Better a tidy or a messy desk?

scrivania disordinata

In the past years, it was thought that in the office or, in the workplace more generally, one of the factors that had the greatest impact on productivity was order. More precisely, the order on your desk.

It was erroneously believed that disorder could only generate negative consequences on staff performance.

But, a more recent study by Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota disproves this theory.

This study showed that even a messy desk can have its advantages as it frees up creativity.

Psychological Science magazine published the results. These showed that, while people who keep their desks tidy and clean are more inclined to be generous and faithful, on the other hand people with a messy desk are more intelligent and creative.

So, to all of you who point the finger at your messy colleague every day, think before you scold him / her, because a misunderstood genius could be hiding behind his mess.

Also Albert Einstein worked in a messy place and this contributed positively to his discoveries.

The questionnaire

A University of Minnesota study presented participants with questionnaires to fill out in the office.

Some ran the questionnaire in a clean office with a tidy desk, others in a cluttered room with a desk full of paperwork.

Later the participants were given the opportunity to donate money to charity and choose a healthy or unhealthy snack.

The results showed that a clean room encourages people to do what is expected of them. In fact, the attendees in the tidy room donated more money to charity and were more likely to choose the apple than the snack.


The experiment

In another experiment, however, they had to find all the uses that could be obtained from a ping-pong ball. This is a classic test to measure the creative ability and the development of new ideas having practically nothing to use.

The results of the various tests show that people who preferred messy desks showed greater creativity and a desire to experiment with something new.

On the other hand, it has been shown that order and cleanliness lead to being more generous, more conformist and faithful, more attentive to a healthy diet and more good in general.

According to experts, these results show the desire to go beyond the rules and conventions that a disorderly environment stimulates in people.

Despite this, several multinationals impose rather strict internal regulations regarding order.


So is it better to have a tidy or messy desk? which of the two alternatives will make productivity better?

Both have advantages.

When it comes to developing a project or a product, creativity and the ability to go outside the box in the first phase of planning and brain-storming is very important, if not decisive. And so in these cases it is good to let yourself go and not be too careful about the order.

While in the next phase of development and planning, ordering your desk means planning your work and therefore can be very useful.

Are you tidy or messy? what kind of desk do you have: tidy or messy?

Contact us and we will tell you about our desks that will satisfy all your needs.

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