Attitudes towards One’s Workspace

How do you treat your desk and work area? Many years ago,  I defined four distinct types of Workplace Desk Styles. They are:

Clean Sweepers: Nothing rests for long on this desk. Accessories are limited. This desk is cleared after each working session, before lunch and when the owner leaves for the day. This desk occupant might be a traveling sales person for a company, top level manager, C level employee or customer service technician.  Paper free work processes and computer portability have likely increased the number of Clean Sweeper’s out there in the working world today. Now as a caveat – many of these clean sweepers often have a hidden working office that contains their “real work world”. This can be their car, home office or sometimes a back office out of view.

Middle of The Roaders: A medium amount papers are scattered on this desk. Occasionally, this desk may have one or two piles of files and working material sitting on the sides of the desk. This desk is likely occupied by a hard working individual who has some restrictions put upon his or her space by their employee. C learning up at the end of the day is often a workplace expectation. Cubicle dwellers are likely to be in this category.

Fortress Builders: A fort like structure is erected by papers and working material around the perimeter of the desk. The foundations of this fort are likely to be many months or even years old. Individuals who have this type of desk, are likely to be researchers, academics, fiction writers, mortgage brokers, accountants and some high school teachers. Fortress builders may have a good “pile  and stack filing” memory. Should the piles be touched or rearranged by others, the fortress builder is likely to be very upset.

The Layered Look: This desk has relatively no visible or empty space. The desk owner constantly remarks “it is here on my desk somewhere… I know it is. The desk is likely to have an excuse sign such as “A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind”, which is barely visible. This desk is occupied by someone who receives lots of incoming information in all forms; electronic, paper and “sample material”. This material arrives throughout the day and the desk owner usually has a job that juggles a multiple project deadlines. Editors, investigative journalists, event planners, analysts,  interior designers, and educational program designers are common owners of this desk.

So what is your current workplace desk style? Do you aspire to be in a different category or are you happy to be where you are? Do you have colleagues that fit well into some of the other categories?

You may enjoy the previous posting Attitudes towards One’s Residential Space

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1 Comment

Filed under Knowledge, Organizing, Philosophy, Productivity, Techniques, Terms

One response to “Attitudes towards One’s Workspace

  1. Fred

    Terry’s classifications of work space certainly ring true to my experience. I know individuals who fit all four categories. For example, my boss and a close friend (who has a PhD) are classical fortress builders. Terry’s description fits them to the T. In addition, I know many clean sweepers; they seem to outnumber fortress builders by a wide margin. I tend to alternate between the layered look and middle of the roaders and on occasion have even attained fortress builder status. But alas, I received some veiled, subtle reprimands and so had to dismantle the fortress. I have never ever been a clean sweeper except maybe when I was in elementary school. Since then I’ve gone steadily downhill in organization as I’ve trod the uphill path of life. However, I married a clean sweeper so maybe it all balances out!

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