Was Einstein onto something when he pondered, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” or is “Cleanliness next to godliness”? The vast majority of employed individuals spend the bulk of their jobs sitting in an office. Needless to say, it is important to understand how to create the desk/cubicle environment into one that can help employees be more efficient and productive.
While there is research supporting both a cluttered and an organized work space, the reasons each scenario is beneficial differ. Some studies show how a cluttered or messy work environment can influence employees to think outside-of-the-box and help to bring out more creativity. For example, this could be useful in settings where employees need to find creative ways to solve problems. However, the cons of having a disorganized work space outweigh the benefits. Many studies have shown how untidy work spaces reduce employee focus, productivity and efficiency. On the other hand, an organized work environment counteracts the negative effects of a messy work environment and encourages the subscription to social convention and overall conservatism. A scenario of where this detailed and structured environment could be useful would be at an accounting office.
Even though both types of environments can be helpful, it is important to understand what you want to pull out from your employees: adherence to structure or creative thinking. Keep in mind that you may be sacrificing efficiency and detail to achieve creativity.