Office Desk Psychology

Messy Office Desk

Are you struggling to move up the career ladder at work?

Have you been passed over for promotion more times than you care to remember?

The answer may lie right in front of you on your desk.

Studies have shown that it’s possible to determine personality characteristics and habits from the state of a person’s office desk.

In particular, behavioural psychologist Donna Dawson has identified 6 distinct types of personality that can be identified by their desk spaces.

1. Hyper Organised Desk

Picture of an organised office deskThis type of desk most commonly belongs to Personal Assistants, Secretaries or Sales Executives.

Generally there will be nothing on the desk other than essentials. These might include a notepad, pen or stationery holder & paper tray.

The type of person who keeps a super organised desk like this is usually highly efficient. They can carry an air of calm authority which in some cases may be intimidating to others. This type of person can be easily upset and may feel undervalued in an office environment. However, they are usually very dependable although subject to occasional mood swings.

2. Organised Chaos Desk

Chaotic office deskThis would be an accurate description of my accountant’s desk! She is highly efficient but I don’t know how she can ever find anything! Her desk is very much like the one at the top of this blog post.

The type of person who keeps this kind of chaotic desk thinks they have a filing system. This involves piles of paper, post-it notes and reminders. They usually have an above average IQ and their minds work at a hundred miles per second.

Typically a work-a-holic, this type of person can often be found working long hours and often into the night. They have a tendency to addiction and often consume way more coffee, cigarettes and alcohol then is good for them.

This person often likes to chat and you can rely on them for creative ideas and hard work. They are usually very accommodating and flexibility in the work place is also one of their strengths.


3. Creative Chaos Desk

Picture of an office desk at BT Office Furniture & InteriorsI like to put myself in this category. This is a picture of my office desk so I’ll let you be the judge! (don’t be too harsh 🙂 )

The clutter on this person’s desk will often show a diversity of interests. Like the Organised Chaos Desk, there will often be notes and reminders and they will tend to be on a wide range of topics.

This person may be easily distracted and occasionally lack focus. It is usually a temporary distraction however and is purely down to the strong creative thought process.

Once this person is back on track, they are hard-working and diligent.

The type of person that keeps this kind of desk will generally be an ideas person and have the ability to think laterally and of course creatively.

Often this person will know they have left a note or reminder for themselves somewhere on their desk but cannot for life of them remember where they put it.

View office desks on sale here

4. Personality Desk

Office desk with personal itemsThis owner of this desk will have personal effects on their desk such as photographs, plants, cuddly toys, hand cream, vitamins, bottled water and food. They will almost certainly have their own particular brand of herbal tea too! (I think you get the picture).

These people like to personalise their space and everything around them by displaying memorabilia and items that demonstrate their personality and lives.

Their walls may typically be decorated with posters of favourite holiday destinations and celebrities. This type of person will likely enjoy work and be dedicated and hard working. After all, they have made their office space a little like home from home and this helps them to be productive and happy.

A word of warning…although this person is generally easy to get along with and garrulous, be wary of revealing your intimate secrets because they are likely to be terrible gossips!

5. Power Desk

Man standing behind a deskThis desk will be large, expensive and exude authority. Take a look at our executive desks here.

Generally it will contain minimal personal effects and any paperwork will be neatly organised. This person likes others to know they are in control and the space helps to create this image.

The owner of this type of desk will likely have two distinct sides to their personality – the one behind the desk and the one in front of it.

Socially and away from the office they will probably be warm and friendly, even fun. However, once behind the desk, they adopt an air of superiority and may come across as arrogant.

6. Bling Desk

High Quality Office DeskEvery item on this type of desk has been carefully and strategically placed to demonstrate the successes and brilliance of it’s owner to others.

View our glass office desks here.

You will likely find certificates of achievement, photos of exotic locations they’ve visited, pictures of their cars and other such vulgarity.

These people are likely to be popular, confident and good at organising others. However, they probably also have huge egos that need careful massaging from time to time. If you do not fully appreciate how amazing they are, they can become stroppy and belligerent. You may have to duck when they start throwing their toys around the office!

This person is probably extremely materialistic and will love to talk about themselves in casual conversation.

Get That Promotion!

People often judge others by their appearance. The same is also true when it comes to the office space you maintain.

If you want to give the right impression to your employers and fellow employees, it might pay to give a little thought to your office desk.

Like music where the silences in between the notes are as important as the notes themselves, sometimes it’s just as vital to think about what you don’t have on your desk. Consider this carefully the next time you’re angling for a promotion!