No matter what you wear to work, you won’t impress your boss if your workspace isn’t dressed for success. That’s according to a new study examining how office décor influences a manager’s opinion of their employees. Here are the details:
Researchers at the University of Michigan asked hundreds of real-life managers to read anonymous worker performance reviews. Half of the reviews said the employee behaved professionally, and half unprofessionally.
Then, researchers handed out photographs of items from cubicles, including staplers, file folders, and potted plants, and personal items, like family photos, kid’s drawings, and softball trophies. And they asked the managers to figure out what belonged to which employee.
The result? Managers tended to say most of the personal items belonged to the unprofessional employees. And the personal items they paired with the “professional” workers were low-key objects, like a school picture - not a vacation party shot.
So, what’s the take-home message? If you want to get ahead, take most of your personal items home. The researchers found that the magic ratio for office decorating success is 5 to 1.
That means, for every 5 items in your work area, only one should involve you or your personal life.