People have a lot of different ways to create the perfect working environment. Some put pictures of their loved ones on their desks. Some put lots of sticky notes so as not to forget urgent and important things to do. Still, others like to keep their workspace clean and clutter-free, thus having a neat and clean desk.
With that said, there are operations that believe that a clean and neat desk is better for productivity. But does a clean desk policy work? Does it improve productivity? Or does it stiffen creativity? In this article, we explore whether or not you should implement a clean desk policy in your office.
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As the name states, a Clean Desk Policy means instituting a policy or rule that requires all employees to have clean desks with no papers, pens, and other unnecessary. This policy can also prohibit employees from having personal items on their desks that they don’t use or isn’t vital for work. The purpose of the Clean Desk Policy may vary depending on what your business goals are and what the company needs.
A clean desk policy isn’t for all companies. However, there are advantages an operation can reap from this type of guideline.
According to an IDC, otherwise known as International Data Corporation, report, a typical employee in your company would spend an average of 2.5 hours a day rummaging through their desks, searching for information. For all the time wasted searching for information, money is also being wasted.
Moreover, having a Clean Desk Policy would encourage your employees not only to organize files and documents, but to also use digital versions of these documents so as to reduce the company’s use of paper, ink, and printer that would help lessen clutter and mess in workspaces and desks.
You would never know who and when someone important will visit your office. Having a Clean Desk Policy and strongly imposing the rules within the policy would help create a habit of having organized, decluttered desks that would make the office look presentable and professional to anyone who would visit.
Having a Clean Desk Policy is not only a means to comply with ISO 27001/17799 but the policy is also in adherence to basic privacy principles.
A Clean Desk Policy would benefit your employees that leave valuable and private information on their desks like passwords on post-its and important names and phone numbers. This policy would protect your employees from dishonest personnel and maintenance staff from viewing information that they shouldn’t have access to.
When the place is more organized, your employees would be able to spend more time concentrating on their work rather than them spending too much time finding a report that is deep buried in clutter.
Proper introduction and implementation would be the key to ensure that the policy will be followed by your employees:
A Clean Desk Policy should be in writing and should be communicated to all your employees. This is crucial in introducing the policy to them. Failure to comply with the Clean Desk Policy should have serious consequences. Each and every employee must sign a document of their knowledge of the policy.
This is a smart way to subtly remind your employees of the on-going Clean Desk Policy. It would be a nice way to end an email and smartly reminding everyone that they need to clean their office space and desk thus, ensuring the implementation of the Clean Desk Policy.
Imposing a Clean Desk Policy will require you to have an available storage for employees to use. It’s necessary so that they will be able to file and stock important documents so as not to gather and clutter on their desks.
Employees should never throw any work-related documents in the trash can especially if it contains private and valuable information of the company because once the trash leaves the company doors, that information will become public property. Document destruction policy should be implemented to ensure all private documents of the company would be disposed of properly and securely.
Having a carefree attitude towards the enforcement and implementation would render the Clean Desk Policy useless. With that said, how do you enforce your Clean Desk Policy effectively?
Have a designated point person that will conduct random checks and floor walks during and at the end of the working day to ensure all desks and office spaces are decluttered and organized properly.
Having a Clean Desk Policy means that all levels of management should take it seriously. As they say, lead by example. Employees must see their bosses and the upper management abide, follow, and implement amongst themselves. If your employees see that the upper management isn’t following the policy, they might lose faith in the policy and won’t even bother taking it seriously.
All things considered, having a Clean Desk Policy would make the work environment more conducive for working. Employees would be efficient and productive because there won’t be any hindrance to their work. Plus, strong enforcement of a Clean Desk Policy would guarantee that all private company documents are secured and safe within the office.
Without a doubt, implementing the policy and continuously enforcing it would be a great challenge. What is important is impressing the advantages of the policy onto your employees in the long run.
At the end of the day, the decision to implement this policy still depends on the kind of operation that you run. However, these guidelines can be key to a clean, neat, and organized working environment. Having, implementing, and enforcing a Clean Desk Policy might be one of the best things that you would do in your company.
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