Does your cubicle say ‘professional’?

Most Americans judge their co-workers by how clean or dirty they keep their desks, says a survey by Adecco. And nearly half say they’re “appalled” by their colleagues’ offices.

“With so many open office plans today, more people can see into your work space, and they do judge,” says Jennie Dede, vice president of recruiting for Adecco. “It’s often personal. They think that you must be a slob in your real life.”

It’s likely that you’re not the one suffering from disorganized habits. But your co-workers or boss may need help wrangling their desks into shape. Here are tips on streamlining a mess:

√  Set weekly cleaning appointments. Promote the idea of a 15-minute “Get organized” time block once a week.

√   Establish zones within an office for different functions. For example, designate one area for the computer, one for the library, one for storage. Once everything has a space, don’t allow items to creep across borders. For example, once a bookcase is full, adding a new book will require tossing another one.

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√   Stop thinking of your desk as a storage space. “The only stuff in the radius of your arms should be the stuff you need immediately,” says Peter Walsh, author of Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier With Less.

√  Trade in sticky notes for calendar reminders.

√  Sweep the floor of clutter. A clear floor space equals an organized look. Find another spot to store gym bags, umbrellas or changes of shoes. Tip: Hang hooks in your office or on your cubicle wall, suggests professional organizer Jane Brown.

— Adapted from “The Dangers of a Messy Desk,” Jenna Goudreau, Forbes.