Desk Etiquette

My intention for this blog post was to write about the 10 must-have items on your desk. However, while researching that topic, I came across a more interesting subject to write about: what not to have on your office desk.

When you think about office desk etiquette, you may have only thought about keeping a tidy, organized desk for aesthetic purposes. However, what your desk says about you is more than just a stray Post-it note or pen. Even though your desk may be the only place in your office that you can call your own, you have to realize that when you are absent, your desk is still representing you. So, beware of the items you display. Here are several items that should not be on your desk by the end of this blog post according to U.S. News & World Report.

Racy photos
Even though your officemate is your best friend, your boss probably is not. You should strive to have your peers think of you in all aspects of your life as the classy businessman or businesswoman that you are at the office. They don’t need to see a snapshot of you at your best friend’s drunken bachelor or bachelorette party.

Goofy figurines
It’s OK if you love cats, Barbie dolls or snow globes, but don’t let them hinder your reputation at the office. Choose one small figurine that can serve a purpose on your desk, such as a paperweight or tape dispenser, to show your affection for your collection. Keep the rest at home.

Fan shrines
Your office is not the place to show off your love of comic books, movie stars or sports teams. It is all right to have some memorabilia, but limit it to one or two items. Break time is not the appropriate time for a fan club meeting.

Children’s artwork

Sneak peak at Sarah’s desk.

Having a couple of small pieces of art or cards from your children is charming. Having your whole wall covered in crayon drawings is excessive. Take the remaining items and put them on your fridge at home.

Political or religious items
The Bible or a vote-for-president pen on your desk is not what I am talking about here. You can have representation of what you believe in, but don’t display items that give off proselytizing messages or that will offend anyone.

Fragrance diffusers
Be a good neighbor, and don’t have scented reed sticks or potpourri on your desk. A scent that you think is pleasurable may smell bad to a coworker. Also, someone may be allergic to the scent. You don’t want to be known as the smelly one, do you?

It’s common for those with a desk job to eat snacks or lunch at their desk. Just remember to clean up after yourself and take your leftovers home with you. Leftovers can cause odors, or worse, bugs.

In my opinion, most of these items are common sense. However, with the hustle and bustle of working hard, it can be difficult to find time to take a step back from your desk and look at what it says about you.