This is what people are really thinking when you have a messy desk

That one individual with a messy desk in your office may not really be neurotic or inconsiderate, but ultimately that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the majority of his or her co-workers perceive that they are an undesirable employee. Many may not even be aware that they’ve judged a co-worker based on their workspace, but it’s still happening on a subconscious level.[7]

“Once trait information about a target becomes activated in perceivers’ minds, either consciously or unconsciously, that information can subsequently affect how they process information about, the types of questions they ask of, and how they behave toward the target, possibly bringing out the very trait information that they expected to see from the target in the first place,” concludes study co-author Sarah Dyszlewski, a research technician in the Department of Psychology.

It may seem like a hassle, but take the time to clean your desk. It may make all the difference.

The full study can be found here, published in Personality and Individual Differences.[8]


  1. ^ whether or not they make their bed each morning (
  2. ^ University of Michigan (
  3. ^ not a nice person to be around. (
  4. ^ press release (
  5. ^ a promotion or important project (
  6. ^ Michigan Medicine. (
  7. ^ perceive that they are (
  8. ^ found here (

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