“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” In this rhetorical question, Einstein somehow managed to imply the whole world of mind-states in-between; Fifty Shades of Grey Matter… and made me look at the desks here in Central Office in an entirely new light. The busy desks, messy desks… the dirty desks! Will good decisions be made at the hot desks?!
We have always espoused a clear desk policy, but the word “clear” is not clear at all; with at least five different definitions. If you choose to be obtuse, you might expect to find see-through desks in the office. “Forget the glass ceiling, we have glass desks!” is never going to win a recruitment contest! It could mean full… “ I want one clear desk between me and colleague X, for reasons of personal hygiene.” is not the way we should deal with a tricky and sensitive HR issue. A clear or “free of contents” desk, falls into Einstein’s empty desk/empty mind trap… fail. These silly examples tell us that it is easy to be misunderstood, either in error or contrariness; good communication is about the output being explicit and the receiver being onside.
So in practical terms, what we really mean is we have a straightforward, logical, coherent and free of obstructions and unwanted objects desk policy. (Not so catchy, I admit!) It doesn’t even need to be a desk. Any location that not only doesn’t impede your ability to work, but somewhere that actually supports it. So why, I hear you ask, do you have a crocodile holding a party popper in its jaws, on your desk? Why does Issy have a tiara on hers? Well, we are all individuals in a team… and greater for it. Or as Albert also said: ” Let every man be respected as an individual… (as long as the desk he/she sits at is an effective place to work!)”. Ok… I made the last bit up!
Central Operations Manager