My general manager wants clean desks…help!!

Dear Aunty B,

My new general manager (who has been here all of three days) has just told my staff to clean their desks as he is an advocate of the paperless office.

I couldn’t care less about whether a desk is clean or not as long as the staff do their bloody job.

But I also feel he is in the right, especially in these days of environmental ‘concerns’.

What should I do? Surely to god I don’t have to clean my desk…





Oh, David, you are a man after my own heart. I too am messy and by bad luck – and obviously bad judgement since I hired them – I am surrounded by the freaky neat.

Every night as I turn off the lights, I am forced to confront the anal sterility of their desks that sit silently in judgement of my chaotic paper mountain range in the corner.


David, take a stand for all the messy bosses out there. Employers have very few rights. They spend their waking hours at the beck and call of all and sundry – from clients to employees to government to kids! (Thank god the school holidays are over.)


At the very least we should be allowed guilt-free MESSY desks!


Dave, you have to get hold of this book, “A Perfect Mess: the hidden benefits of disorder” by the professor of management at Columbia University’s School of Business in New York, Eric Abrahamson.


His research showed that moderate mess helped employees finish their tasks faster and that messy people are more innovative – or in his words “allowing mess to accumulate increases your chances of creating interesting connections, patterns or cross references you may not have thought of.”


He recently told BOSS magazine: “You can let 20 things pile up on your desk. When it all gets too much, you’ll spend one morning or an hour or whatever filing them all away. That expends less energy than stopping what you are doing every time you get a new piece of mess.”


So Davie, I recommend you buy the book, read out the relevant quotes to GM and then casually lie it on top of your biggest mound of junk – where it can remain until your next big clean up.



What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!




Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments