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Messy Office Desk Annoys Canadian Senior Managers Most: Survey

03/23/2017 01:18 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 02:16 EDT

In the wacky world of office life minutiae, a messy desk is a top irritant to Canadian senior managers, according to a new survey.

Toronto-based staffing company OfficeTeam surveyed more than 300 senior managers at companies that employ over 20 employees to come to their finding about cluttered workspaces.

“Your work area can be viewed as a reflection of you, and a messy desk or distasteful décor may leave people questioning your professionalism,” OfficeTeam’s Koula Vasilopoulos said in a news release.

messy desk

File photo of an office desk cluttered with snacks and candy. (Photo: Getty Images)

Just over half of senior managers surveyed (51 per cent) said sloppiness and disorganization are employee characteristics that annoy them.

Coming in second, 28 per cent said they’re not too keen on “too many knickknacks and decorations” on a desk. Thirteen per cent said they have a problem with inappropriate or offensive photos or quotes.

And of employees who keep a barren workshop that’s “too clean” and void of any character? Seven per cent of senior managers have a problem with that, too.

The remaining percentage just don’t care about messy, clean or offensive work spaces at all.

But of course, this latest survey isn’t a death knell for the messy office worker.

clean desk

Seven per cent of Canadian senior managers say desks that are too clean annoy them. (Photo: Getty Images)

A 2013 study from researchers at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management found having a clean desk has its perks — as does having a cluttered one.

Participants who had a messy desk tend to have more interesting and creative ideas, it concluded.

“Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: creativity,” psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs said at the time.

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