What does your desk say about you?
Pen To Paper highlights the latest trends in desktop accessories
The average office worker will spend 13 minutes and 13 seconds each day searching for missing paperwork and stationery, according to new research from Avery UK, and that’s despite one in five de-cluttering their desks on a weekly basis.
Fiona Mills, Marketing Director at Avery UK, warns that as well as wasting employees’ time, a disorganised workspace could create a bad impression on visitors, colleagues and bosses.
“It’s important not to let an untidy desk jeopardise an otherwise good reputation,” she said. “A bright and clear workspace is an easy way to demonstrate pride and care for a job. Looking at the bigger picture, employees’ desks can sometimes unintentionally say something about their organisation as a whole. A series of untidy and disorganised desks can reflect poorly on a business.”
One thing office workers can do to try and stay organised is to use desk organisers. As well as helping to maintain a neat and tidy desk, a desk tidy can improve productivity by reducing time wasted looking for things.
Given the recent trend for hot desking, where people don’t have fixed desks but share communal ones, you might expect to see a decline in demand for desk organisers in enterprises, even if, as Avery’s Mills suggests, desk sharing creates a greater need for desks to be left tidy and organised so that the next occupier is not inconvenienced.
However, Karen Couling, European Product Manager, ACCO Brands, suggests that any decline caused by hot desking is being offset by the popularity of flexible working and the growing number of homeworkers.
“An additional 800,000 people have become home workers over the past decade in the UK and there were over 600,000 new business start-ups in 2015, which is an upward trajectory we are seeing across Europe. Having a desk that contains the stationery and equipment needed to work efficiently and productively is just as important in a home environment as it is in a corporate office,” she said.
This changing pattern of demand is reflected in the sales figures at Office Depot Europe. These show a positive sales trend (+4.5% on average) for desk organisers in the company’s European Retail channel, but a slight decline in its Direct (Viking) and Contract (Office Depot) channels, which it says mirrors he overall market performance.
Changing buyer profiles might also explain the current trend for nontraditional, colourful desk organisers that enable users to add a bit of personality to their workspace.
Mills suggests that the requirement for desktop accessories to be stylish as well as practical might in part be due to the rise in home offices, where desk organisers will need to fit in with domestic décor.
“It’s also simply a reflection of the expectations of today’s consumer; just because something is a daily essential doesn’t mean it has to be dull. Many of today’s office basics, from technology to furniture, have evolved to become more aesthetically pleasing,” she said.
Andy Page, European Sales and Marketing Director of Deflecto Europe, also highlights changing working practices as having a key influence on design trends. “Home workers have easy access to colour palettes and design inspiration on the internet, which allows them to furnish and decorate their homes stylishly. So why should they have a ‘contract’ coloured letter tray in their salmon pink study?,” he said.
Show your true colours
Manufacturers have responded to this demand by bringing an inviting splash of colour to the world of work. Avery’s latest range of desktop accessories, ColorStak, is a case in point. The collection of trays and pots – stackable without the need for connecting risers – can be mixed and matched in a combination of colours. As well as keeping desks clutter-free, Mills says they have the added benefit of bringing “a mood-boosting burst of colour to the workspace”.
The Joy range from Rexel, one of the company’s flagship product launches in 2015, is a colourful collection of office supplies, including desk tidies, staplers and hole punches, that has taken the brand into new product areas, such as scissors, notepads and journals.
Couling said: “We identified a gap in the market for colourful products from an established brand, and we now offer consumers an extensive choice. Our initial venture into colour has been the base for extensive product development. It has led to the expansion of the JOY range to include a vast array of new solutions for customers to bring some brightness to their workspace.”
Office Depot has also taken note of the trend for more colour. Andrew Bond, European Product Specialist, said: “Within Office Depot Europe we see that people are moving away from the traditional black ranges and having more colour on their desks. We recently launched a coloured mesh range, and sales for this have performed ahead of forecast.”
Kate Robson, Marketing Manager at Durable UK, says demand has been particularly strong for the company’s award-winning VARICOLOR range of desk accessories, which includes draw boxes, letter trays and a desk organiser. She points out that, as well as having an aesthetic appeal, the use of colour has a functional role on products such as letter trays as it aids organisation.
Page says that, subject to order volumes, Deflecto can manufacture desk accessories in almost any colour to suit client needs. He said: “We recently produced some of our CRAFT items in PINK to support the Breast Cancer awareness charity. Trend colours such as Mellow Yellow and Warm Grey have been used recently in our desk top accessories section to complement even the most stylish of home offices.”
Positive work environment
While some people subscribe to the view that a tidy desk is the sign of a tidy mind, others might feel more creative in what, to colleagues, looks like a disorganised mess. A desk is a personal space and we all have our own ways of making our mark on them.
For this reason, desk accessories are about more than just making a workspace look nice. As Avery’s Mills points out, they also enable workers to express a degree of individual style in the office. “If an office worker is surrounded by things they like, whether it’s their favourite colours or family photos, it creates a more positive environment to work from,” she said.
Allowing employees to personalise their desk in small ways, even something as minor as picking their favourite colour for pots and trays, could make them happier and improve productivity – a win-win for staff and the business.