Have You Implemented a Clean Desk Policy Yet?

12 June 2019

Let’s face it, offices can get messy after a busy month, week and even day. Unless we stay on top of organizing and de-cluttering, it’s easy to let it slide during work duties. Unfortunately; when this is ignored, it results in more than just a “messy and demotivating” feeling. It can actually lead to security issues you might not have even considered!

What security risks you might wonder? For starters, the biggest concern with a desk that screams chaos, is the potential for information to go missing. Whether documents are lost, stolen, or misplaced, any of these circumstances can happen in the blink of an eye if not careful. The consequences of leaked information can quickly result in ID theft and fraud. Businesses and consumers need to be aware of the possible damages that can arise from these events, as well as ways they can alleviate their risk of falling victim. This is where an effective policy should come into play.

Over time, companies have begun implemented policies intended for reducing the risk of information exposure. While some businesses have their own unique policies to help combat this; the clean desk policy is a more universal and well-known policy that has made its way through many organizations throughout the country. The advantages of such a policy can be incredible if and when it is used and managed efficiently.


What Does a Clean Desk Policy Entail Exactly?

In simple terms, a clean desk policy is a policy that requires the desks and computer monitors of employees to be entirely free paper notes or documents, or electronic files prior to leaving at the end of the workday. The idea is that by requiring employees to store documents away, the information on them is more likely to be secured, and employees are naturally encouraged to adopt organized systems for storing their data.


How Will it Benefit My Workplace?

Clean desk policies have the potential to bring about many benefits for the state of your workplace:

  • Contributes to higher levels of information security. This is a key purpose of this policy. By requiring any and all documents to be stored out of site when the office is empty, there is less of a risk of sensitive information being exposed to unauthorized eyes or hands.
  • It can help manage employee stress. Stress can be tough to cope with but luckily it can be reduced with small changes. For instance, you can limit stress at work by having an organized file system where information can be retrieved and accessed with ease. Having this policy in place reinforces and encourages staff to be more mindful as to where information is kept; making it easier to find information when it is required.
  • Employees will spend less time looking for information. When employees know exactly where documents are, there is less time needed to physically search for those files.

Clean desk policies bring many direct and indirect benefits. When looking through the effects and results, it’s no wonder why the clean desk policy is growing in popularity.


Best Approach for Implementation

A clean desk policy can improve your information security efforts dramatically. Of course, to ensure it is successful, you need to implement and communicate all aspects of the policy to those involved in your workplace. Some of the ways you can communicate the message effectively include:


  • Make sure it’s in writing
  • Provide all necessary details, but not so detailed as to cause confusion
  • Use simple but clear language
  • Highlight the importance of the policy, both internally and legally (if applicable)
  • Add a reminder of the policy to email signatures


Once the policy has been introduced, it is recommended that you stress test the policy and take a good look at the results to see whether the policy is being carried out and is having the intended effects on your workplace and employees. Every business has unique needs and demands, which means you may have to customize your policy until it benefits your workplace and the goals/restrictions it has in place.


Document Shredding Contributes to a Clean Desk

Far too often, files are located in office recycling bins in-tact. Tossing documents in the recycling bin goes against the primary goals behind your Clean Desk Policy; doing so simply doesn’t make sense from a security viewpoint.  Documents are highly vulnerable to theft when they are left in an open recycling bin.

Make sure your documents are disposed of securely with secure shredding services from Tri-State Shredding.

Talk to us today to find out more about our services, and to put together a solution that fits the needs and budget of your workplace!