Unlike what the phrase implies, a clean desk policy goes beyond having a clean desk literally. A clean desk policy also encapsulates strategies to prevent data breach. Here’s how you can implement one.

Define and Communicate Goals

It is necessary that you communicate the benefits of a clean desk policy to all stakeholders in your organization. It drastically eliminates the possibility of fraud and identity theft. Explain the risks and benefits to your staff. The better they understand, the higher the level of buy-in. Pay attention their concerns and respond them. Data security is a collective effort.

Clearly state Expectations

Now that you have your team on board, the next thing is to clearly state your expectations. For instance:
– When a workstation is not in use or left unattended, sensitive or confidential information should be stored in drawers or filing cabinets
– Passwords should not be written on paper
– Printed documents should not be left in the printers
– All computers should be shut down at the end of the day.

Reduce it to Writing

Whatever forms the basis of your clean desk policy should be reduced to writing, and all members given copies. You can’t expect your staff to just remember everything. Reducing it to writing eliminates the possibility of employees trying to get out of their obligations by debating the contents of the clean desk policy.


Encourage electronic documents

The best way to ensure that there are hardly any documents lying around to defeat the purpose of a clean desk is to discourage printing. Promote the use of electronic documents. Where a document has to be signed, a digital or scanned version of a signature could easily be applied to it. Even where a document has to be printed, set a time for it to be destroyed using an industrial shredder. This is for when it is no longer needed.


Benefits of a clean desk policy

1. It is more environmentally-friendly. The average American consumes 680 pounds of paper annually. When you strive for a clean desk, you consume less paper.
2. Reduced cost of operations. When you print less, you save costs on paper, toner, and printing equipment.
3. Increased productivity. A clean desk ensures that you spend less time searching for essential documents that you need for work. It enhances the feeling of competence and reduces anxiety.
4. Enhanced data security.  When papers are left lying around on employees’ desks, you might end up giving away confidential information about clients, financial position, strategy, trade secrets, and more. If such information were to leak to the public, your organisation could open itself to litigation or lose competitive edge.
5. A healthier workforce. A decluttered working environment is less likely to breed dust and dirt that cause common illnesses and downtime.
6. Higher motivation to work. Neat spaces are more pleasant and are always a exciting to go to.


Now that you know what goes into a clean desk policy and the benefits that go into it, don’t hesitate about implementing it. And when you do so, don’t forget to get your industrial shredder from Mastershred.