Hoarders: There's Probably One Stashed in Your Office

hoarders in officeYou've seen hoarders on TV, buried in piles of newspaper, stuffed animals, food, garbage, you name it. But you might not have noticed that they're all around you at work as well. Desks and offices covered with piles of papers, folders, files, books, etc. can reveal mild cases of office hoarding. And how about those closets, er, offices with stacks and stacks of outdated technical equipment?

There are some people who just can't bear to throw anything away, and a new survey from CareerBuilder shows that workplace hoarders are probably not racing up the corporate ladder. As a matter of fact, they're shooting themselves in the foot with their excessive collections.

"Nearly three-in-ten (28 percent) employers say they are less likely to promote someone who has a disorganized or messy workspace," according to CareerBuilder's national survey, for which they interviewed 2,662 U.S. hiring managers and 5,299 workers.

The survey also found that a third of the workers surveyed claim to be hoarders of some sort, and males and females are equally represented in that category. But we're not talking all out mountains of useless paper and equipment. For the survey's purposes, they considered a messy desk with random stacks as a form of hoarding, as well as a junk drawer or two.

And while many companies have converted mostly to digital files, the survey found that 51 percent of workers admit they still have paper files in their workspace, and 38 percent say that, between 50 to 100 percent of their desk surface is covered with work and other materials. Thirty six percent of workers claim that they have paper files from more than a year ago.

"Workers are being asked to take on more projects as companies function with leaner staffs, which could be resulting in more cluttered workspaces," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "While chaos on your desk space can indicate a busy workload, it can also imply a lack of organization."

There's a trend in high-tech facilities that disallows any hoarding at all -- employees don't have offices or even cubicles but sit down at workstations that are little more than computer monitors and keyboards placed on long tables, with no drawers or surface space to collect clutter. The only hoarding space in facilities like that is in your own backpack, where nobody knows but you.

Next:What Your Desk Says About You

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