Post-it notes can indicate a person who feels in over his/her head.

Post-it notes can indicate a person who feels in over his/her head.

Business Monday: What your workplace accessories are saying about you

Is your cubicle blanketed with Post-it notes or neat as a pin? Check out your workplace style and what it says about you.

Personal items displayed at work convey messages and, like it or not, judgements are made about you based on your taste – or lack thereof.

Patti Wood, an American communications and behaviour expert, says that workplace accessories “define who you are; they’re an extension of your image”. She recommends accessorizing with a few “items that define you, like a hobby such as golf or fishing, and allow for small talk and a point of reference – nothing inappropriate or overdone. You need to show a sense of humour, approachability and warmth.”

So let’s check out your workplace style and what it says about you:

Plants and foliage: Well-tended plants hint at a person who intends to stick around.

Post-it notes: A deluge indicates a person who feels in over their head.

Time and time again: Task-oriented people tend to be conscious of the time and often have a time piece on hand. Clock lovers are usually thorough and hardworking.

Family photographs: Psychologists haven’t reached a consensus on this one, with some saying family photos are a status symbol and others maintaining they’re displayed out of guilt from too much time spent in the office or to genuinely remind one of beloved family members.

How they’re displayed could provide clues. If they’re facing visitors, they could be for show. If oriented toward the person, motivations are more personal. Family photos in very obvious places – especially at the right of your computer screen – reveal that family and relationships matter.

Sweet offerings: This could be a bowl of sweets or anything that entices others to enter the work area. Extroverts tend to have this cubicle feature, while introverts tend to avoid placing anything that could give others an extra reason to stop by.

Motivation plaques, posters, etc: This indicates engagement in the job and a desire to stay motivated.

Degree of personalisation: The amount of personalising (for example, decorating) a worker does to the space signifies how comfortable they are in the environment. A high degree indicates that they’re secure enough to put a personal stamp on the space.

Neatness: A spick-and-span work area suggests a neat and organised individual.

Just bare: Empty work spaces hint at a person with little status in the company and who likely is not committed to his or her job.

A Messy or cluttered desk means you are creative; these people can be very innovative types.

A pristine work area may indicate a less approachable type who considers work to be work – forget the socialising. And don’t ask questions; their personal life is just that – personal. They work well, effectively, efficiently and may have aspirations to move up the corporate ladder. Colleagues socialising and taking personal calls on company time easily annoy them.

An absence of personal items altogether may indicate lack of permanency – less to pack when it’s time to move on. They may also be secretive; it could reveal they were fired in past jobs and they don’t trust they’ll be there long.

If Kids’ artwork and a few cuddly stuffed bears adorn the work area, this indicates a warm and fuzzy kind of person who has no problem showing their emotions; self-disclosure comes easily. Spending time with friends and family rates high on their priority list.

Techie toys reveal a good problem solver who’s a big kid inside. They’re more left-brain oriented and love to show how smart they are – if you’re in the market for a new TV, computer or camcorder, be sure to seek out their advice.

As we can see, what’s displayed on your desk can be a good indicator into the type of worker you are and your comfort level on the job. That said, how you keep your work space adorned is just as important as what you keep on your desk. Finding the right balance of each of these items can really set you apart and speak on your behalf.

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