What your unique desk space says about you

Understand the way you work and why

 You can tell a lot about a person by the way they arrange their desk space. Whether you’re in an open-plan creative environment, or a more formal cubicle set-up, everyone’s space will be set up a little differently.


Considering the differences in how you and your team members prefer to work not only sparks an interesting conversation, but can also help you to communicate more effectively.


Consider the four core personality types

Start a great conversation by asking people if their desks mirror one of the four Insights Colour Energies. There’s bound to be some “true to type” desk set-ups in and around the office. The core personality types and their typical working environments are as follows:


  • Fiery Red – You prefer a well-organized, functional work space, with easy access to everything. You have regular clear-outs and your fancy pen is never far from reach.
  • Sunshine Yellow – You thrive in a busy, unstructured space – in other words one that’s a little messy! You like having the latest gadgets around and are lost without your mobile phone by your side.
  • Earth Green – You like your desk to have a personal, homely touch. Whether it be scattered with photos of your family and friends, your favourite mug or perhaps even a potted plant.
  • Cool Blue – Everything’s in order in its rightful place - you only have what you need on your desk and like to keep things minimal, clean and neat. No “hot-desk” here please!


Pick up on the cues and communicate accordingly

Take a look around the office at your colleagues’ desks and compare them to your own – do any obvious Colour Energy types stand out to you? Are there any prominent differences in how you like to work? It's useful to pick up on these little cues in order to tailor communication to people's preferred ways of working.


Working with Cool Blue types

When working with a colleague who preferences Cool Blue energy, give them time to ask fact-finding questions and clearly outline outcomes and expectations. Be aware that Cool Blue colleagues will want to know the details, so steer clear of vague, exaggerative communications in favour of logical, methodical and factual comms.


Working with Fiery Red types

Colleagues with a Fiery Red preference value honest and direct communication. Be prepared to respond to their questions quickly, confidently and with certainty. Fiery Red colleagues are goal driven and will appreciate it if you're equally focused on the desired outcome. Fiery Red types enjoy making the final decision when presented with different options.


Working with Sunshine Yellow types

An energetic, enthusiastic attitude will go down well when interacting with your Sunshine Yellow colleagues. They prefer to take a flexible, creative approach to solving problems and are known for their optimistic, upbeat qualities. Asking for their ideas and suggestions will go a long way. Sunshine Yellow types prefer informal, catch-up conversations - but remember to summarise agreed outcomes in writing.


Working with Earth Green types

Focus on building relationships with Earth Green colleagues, by making your communications personal and not too direct. Listen well, take time to establish their needs and be conscious that they'll need time to make key decisions. Demonstrate a sincere interest and empathise with any concerns they may have. Taking a collaborative approach to tasks will go a long way, as will providing personalised support and feedback.


Consider the common traits below for each of the Colour Energies on a good day and a bad day - this will help you to understand the motivation behind certain behavioural traits and enable you to better tailor communications to each Colour Energy preference. 


Bowline's desk spaces - an insight into our Colour Energies 

Before writing this blog, I snapped a few photos of my colleagues’ desk spaces along with my own, to see whether the Colour Energy descriptions rang true. Turns out, they were scarily accurate! Take a look at our desk spaces below, and see for yourself how they reflect our Colour Energy preferences.


Georgia – Dominant Colour Energy: Earth Green

Photos of family and friends? Check. Favourite mug? Check. It's safe to say that my desk is rather busy. I'd definitely agree that I like making a space a little home from home!


Jess – Dominant Colour Energy: Fiery Red

Clean as a whistle and no clutter at all, Jess's desk represents a true Fiery Red type. (We must've caught this after one of those famous clear outs!) You won't find photos or potted plants here, just a business card or two. 


Tim  – Dominant Colour Energy: Sunshine Yellow

Tim was in the midst of preparing for a task group session when I snapped his desk, which explains the neon cards and scented coloured pens - a nod to the extra little details which make the experience more fun, expressive and creative for others.


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