I recently won a "clean desk award" at work, which was a source of amusement to my co-workers, since, as a failure analyst, my desk is covered with broken parts. (Although it is nothing like the desks in this slideshow!)
On the other hand, there were no confidential documents on my desk, which is what the clean desk police were looking for. Other co-workers, who have otherwise immaculate desks, were denied the prize because they had a phone list next to their phone -- apparently, our phone list is confidential.
The prize was a free lunch in the company cafeteria -- who says there's no such thing?
When I first got hired, we had a lot of messy desks with a lot of material. Their self-made excuse was they could find everything they needed and only went to the stock room very rarely. This way they saved time. Then I parked myself in the middle of the lab with a stop watch. It turned out that we spent less time going to the stock room then looking for anything in a messy desk. 3 weeks later and 5 boxes (5'x5'x5' boxes) of trash we actually have desk space to work on. Now we only order what we need. No searching as everything is ordered in Microsoft access. And you don't lose your current project to a trash avalanche.... Now I was lucky some one senior to me listened and agreed with throwing everything out. Later he forced everyone else to participate. To this day people still complain how they could find things in an instant before the cleanup. Junk that you will not use the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years should not be saved but rather recycled. It should all be proportional to its value, size, and frequency of use.
Wow!! I thought an ex-coworker's desk was messy but nothing compared to the ones in the slide show. He had what I called a functional messy office. The man could find anything at any time on his desk and floor piles. It was amazing.
These are some impressively messy desks. Mike Carter gets the Biggest Mess award because his work space appears to be tipping over. Erich Voight is a close second based on sheer scope. It must take a great deal of fortitude to continue working under these conditions.