“Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind?” Almost Half Of UK Workers Think A Tidy Desk Will Lead To A Promotion

It’s common knowledge that most employees need to feel like they can progress at work to stay motivated, but some research indicates the path to promotion could be changing. According to the CEO of EchoSign, “You’ll be paid well if you work hard and do a good job, but you probably won’t get promoted all that far on those efforts alone”.

Managers are increasingly looking at leadership skills, initiative and creative problem solving when considering promotions, and yet a recent study conducted by office supply specialists, Fellowes, revealed that almost half of UK office workers think a tidy desk is all that’s needed to rise through the ranks.

But does it really play a part in deciding promotions?

It seems so, with 1 in 10 managers admitting a cluttered desk would be reason enough not to promote a staff member. As Sir Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School, explains ‘our colleagues and bosses are making judgements about us every minute of the day, often without even knowing. The old adage “a tidy desk makes a tidy mind’ might not always be true, but, as the research shows, if you’re looking for promotion it’s important that you give colleagues the impression that you are in control of your workload”.

Beyond thinking it increases the chance of getting a promotion, the survey showed a tidy work space also effects how workers feel about going into work each day. Participants claimed it made them feel more productive, in control and generally happier, as well as keeping them from worrying they were being judged by colleagues.

As well as the positive psychological impact, the GDPR is soon coming into effect, further increasing the importance of keeping personal data well organised. Everything from how data is stored to the length of time you keep it will need to be in line with the new regulations, meaning that a tidy desk free of documents is certainly a good practice to get in to.

So, it seems spring cleaning might be worth more than we think.

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