What does your desk look like? Clean & organized or perhaps pleasantly messy? Many company’s have introduced the ‘clean desk policy’ which stimulates employees to clean up after themselves. It’s a way to keep offices organized and professional. But what is the effect of such spotless offices on our creativity?
Clean Versus Messy Desks
It turns out the clean desk policy may not be the best choice with regards to CREATIVITY. Research shows that when people are placed in a tidy room they favor conventional choices. They want everything to stay the same. However, when placed in a messy room participants would choose more ‘outside the box’ or NEW choices.
Other studies support this finding. The University of Groningen (in the Journal of Consumer Research) stated the following: “Messy desks may not be as detrimental as they appear to be, as the problem-solving approaches they seem to cause can boost work efficiency or enhance employees’ creativity in problem solving.”
For more on this topic, read: Why Procrastination Is Good For Creativity Backed By Research.
Why The Clean Desk Policy Tempers Creativity
It seems that more unstructured environments stimulate a more unstructured way of thinking. If innovational thinking is what a company is looking for, the clean desk policy might NOT be the way to go.
If you want to learn more about finding a balance between creativity and structure, check out former head of Google’s innovative People Operations department Laszlo Bock in his book Work Rules!.
What do you prefer regarding your work space?
Albert Einstein – designschool.canva.com
Al Gore – designnews.com
Steve Jobs – contentverse.com
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