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Working From Home

A Messy Desk Might Help Neatniks Be More Creative

Now’s the time to experiment with clutter that sparks inspiration.

bwwfh messy desk
Illustration: Oscar Bolton Green for Bloomberg Businessweek

Millions of people are discovering that there are perks to working at home. Among them: You can have a messy desk, and there’s no one—or, at least, no colleague—around to judge.

In this new world, even neatniks might want to let the papers pile up. Studies show that a messy desk can spur creativity by keeping interesting things in sight and top of mind. That could be a blessing in isolating times, when we don’t have co-workers close by to spark ideas and we’re not meeting interesting people for dinner or drinks.