What the Boss Thinks of Your Messy Desk

More Than Half of Canadian Managers Are Annoyed by Untidy Workspaces

Toronto, ON (March 23, 2017) -- Is it time to spring clean your messy desk? More than half of Canadian senior managers (51 per cent) interviewed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said the most distracting or annoying aspect of employee workspaces is sloppiness or disorganization.

Nineteen per cent of senior managers reported seeing an inappropriate or offensive item in an employee’s work area.

Senior managers were asked, “Which one of the following, if any, is the most distracting or annoying when it comes to employee workspaces?” Their responses:

Having a messy or disorganized workspace


Having too many knickknacks or decorations


Displaying inappropriate or offensive photos or phrases


Having a workspace that’s too clean or bare


Don’t know/no answer




*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

Senior managers were also asked, “Have you ever seen an inappropriate or offensive item or decorations in an employee’s workspace?” Their responses:







“Your work area can be viewed as a reflection of you, and a messy desk or distasteful décor may leave people questioning your professionalism,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Keep any personalization simple and declutter regularly. A tidy space can lead to fewer distractions, and a more comfortable and productive work environment for everyone.”

OfficeTeam offers three tips for creating a workspace that leaves a good impression:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

About the Research

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit roberthalf.ca/officeteam. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]

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