5 Things on Your Desk at Work That Can Make You Look Unprofessional

Let’s be honest, when you think of a manager or CEO, the first image that comes to mind isn’t a slob. If you were to picture that ideal corner office that comes with a promotion, it wouldn’t be full of junk in corners or overflowing trashcans. 

Ever heard of that saying “dress for the job you want?” This is kind of like that, but for your office desk. 

When your colleagues, or better yet, your bosses come in and you don’t give off a professional vibe, it doesn’t lead them to see you in a managerial light. So let’s work on that! 

Here are a few things to keep off your office desk.

1. Dishes and food containers. I get it. It gets expensive to eat out every day and there is nothing wrong with bringing lunch to work, or eating at your desk for that matter. Clean up after yourself as soon as you’ve finished and put empty containers away. Clutter could suggest poor management skills to your colleagues. 

2. A swarm of papers or sticky notes.  I get it. You have a lot to do and you wanna stay on top of everything. Get a planner. Seriously. There are dozens out there to suit whatever amount of scheduling and planning you need daily or even by the hour. According to a recent survey of senior managers, having a messy or disorganized workspace was the “most distracting or annoying” thing about employee work areas.

3.  Anything political. Unless you work for a particular political party, in which case you’d presumably all be on the same side of a political argument, keep politics out of the office. Even having political stuff on your desk or computer screen runs the risk of making you look inappropriate in the office. 

4.  Toys.  This one is a little tricky because it really depends on the kind of vibe in your particular office but, for the most part, keeping a bunch of toys on your desk can make you seem immature and less professional.

5.  Out-of-season decorations. If your office has that type of environment where decorating is encouraged, go for it. But leaving your Halloween decorations up till December might look lazy or forgetful. Bring them down. 

For whatever it’s worth, appearances matter – a lot – in any working environment. Make yours one that stands out in a positive way. 

GiGi Diaz

GiGi Diaz

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