The Wall Street Journal:
All nine employees of TheSquareFoot.com in New York City have neat, clean desks—except one.
Co-founder Jonathan Wasserstrum’s desk and the floor around it are strewed with paper, files, tech gear and old boxes. “I like being near my stuff rather than fishing for it in a cabinet somewhere,” he says.
Being near Mr. Wasserstrum’s stuff is harder for Justin Lee, the company’s other co-founder. At times, “some of his crud will spill over onto my desk,” Mr. Lee says. Other co-workers at the online commercial real-estate leasing and brokerage company sometimes print new copies of documents to avoid handling food-smeared paperwork from Mr. Wasserstrum’s desk.
One common explanation, that clutter can aid creativity, has some support in research. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found in a study of 48 students published last year that people working in a messy room came up with more creative ideas for new uses for ping-pong balls, compared with participants in a tidy room. “Being creative is breaking away from tradition, order and convention, and a disorderly environment seems to help people do just that,” says the study, published in Psychological Science.
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