Cleanliness is next to godliness, as the old phrase goes!
Whilst there are arguments both for and against the clean desk policy, it’s becoming more and more popular. Hot-desking, flexible working, maintaining company image and protecting data security have all made keeping desks clear a priority for many businesses.
A clutter-free, organised office might sound good in practice, but how do you make it stick? Find out how to implement an effective clean desk policy with help from these top tips.
The business benefits of a clean desk policy
Having a clean desk policy isn’t just about making your office look good – it also has a number of business benefits, including:
Modern working practices
The workplace is changing, and with more and more businesses implementing flexible working and hot-desking, the days of every employee having a desk of their own is a thing of the past. If employees sharing desks, it’s vital that they keep the space clean and tidy.
Efficiency & professionalism
A clear desk office is likely to deliver significant benefits in terms of organisation and efficiency. A clutter free, tidy and organised office gives off the right impression with potential clients.
For businesses dealing with sensitive data, information security is a serious concern. Keeping a clean desk policy will help to protect information, and reduce the chance of corporate espionage and data leaks.
9 secrets to implementing a clean desk policy
1. Clear communication
Set out clear rules, write them down, and make sure every employee gets a copy. It’s also a good idea to add it to the company handbook. This will help to minimise confusion, and will ensure that every staff member knows exactly what’s expected of them.
2. Tell them why
Employees are much more likely to buy into your clear desk policy if you explain to them exactly why it’s being implemented. Gather everyone together, and talk about the reasons behind the changes. Be prepared to answer questions, and expect some resistance (many people naturally resist change – however small).
3. Practice what you preach
Make sure that everyone follows the same rules, at every level of the organisation from the top down. If the senior management team lead by example, you’ll find it easier to encourage other employees to follow suit.
4. Systemise it
Integrating your clean desk policy into the workday will help to smooth the transition. Set out clear guidelines in terms of clearing desks at the start of the day, at break times, and before leaving work.
5. Provide your employees with the right tools
You can’t expect staff members to follow the policy if they don’t have the right tools. In practice, this means providing every member of staff with enough storage space for their work materials.
6. Go Paperless
If your office is heavily reliant on paper, your staff members will struggle to keep a clean desk. Investing in secure electronic document storage systems and second monitors for your workstations will help to minimise your printing needs and your paper use.
7. Shred it
Implementing effective document shredding systems will help to reduce paper usage. Often, it’s more cost-effective to team up with an external partner for document shredding. Make sure you have secure, locked shredding containers, and ensure that employees dispose of all sensitive documents in the right way.
8. Keep reminding them!
It’s easy for standards to slip if you don’t keep on top of things. Putting up signs around the office, and adding notes to internal email signatures reminding people to save paper can help to reduce office clutter.
9. Enforce the rules
Appointing an office supervisor or monitor to enforce the rules will help to ensure the policy is followed correctly. You may even want to introduce a fun-fines or reward system to encourage employees to follow the system.
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