Clean Desk Policies: Why You Might Want One

By | 2016-12-01T19:13:54+00:00 April 21st, 2015|Workplaces|

Maintaining a clean desk and office can be important factors in terms of maintaining company professionalism or increasing your employee productivity, but unfortunately, we often stop there when tackling workstation clutter.

Instead of only thinking of cleanliness in the realms of aesthetics or productivity, we should also begin to consider cleanliness as a central part of maintaining privacy and confidentiality.

Clean Desks and Privacy

While cleaning my desk the other day I was sickened to find something I swore I would never leave: a written password with security questions and answers.

If you have worked in an office for any length of time—especially if your desk has remained unchanged for years—chances are you and your coworkers have sticky notes plastered everywhere. Like me, you have probably written down sensitive or confidential information down which can then be easily taken or seen by people unauthorized to do so.

Because of the increasing threat of security and information breaches that seem to happen almost daily, some companies have begun implementing office cleanliness rules commonly referred to as Clean Desk Policies.

Clean Desk Policies

A clean desk policy is basically a set of rules outlining what actions staff and employees are supposed to take in order maintain their individual workspaces and the office as a whole.

Depending on the needs of the organization, the CDP can include anything from clearing your desk of papers and locking them away to wiping down whiteboards and ensuring computers are logged out.

Clean Desk Policy Tips

In order for your clean desk policy to be successfully implemented, here are some helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction:

  • Have a written policy employees can refer to while learning the rules.
  • Make sure that your CDP is communicated to new hires and internal transfers.
  • Encourage staff to not print emails with sensitive data unnecessarily (then shred them!).
  • Provide adequate storage for the items you have outlawed from being left on work surfaces.
  • Encourage a Clean Screen to prevent displayed computer data from being seen while away from your desk.

If you’re looking for an actual Clean Desk Policy example, the folks at SANS have a version worth peeking at.