Citadel Blog

The Bottom Line: A “Clean-Desk Policy” can protect your business and increase productivity.

Posted by Lia Surkis on Oct 13, 2017 9:28:01 AM

Your work environment can have a major impact on the productivity, creativity, and attention span in the workplace. In recent years, businesses worldwide have been paying more and more attention to the way office spaces are kept by their employees.

“A clean-desk policy (CDP) refers to a set of corporate rules determining how employees should leave their working space after the workday is over. The policy requirements generally call for the employee to clear the desk and surrounding area at the end of the day from clutter and papers.”

Businessman being depressed by accounting in his office


Keeping a clean desk can be the first step towards a more productive and secure workplace. But where do you start, and how do you implement it?

A clean-desk policy can mean shredding various documents, filing them in file cabinets, organizing with folders, and sorting mail.

While a clean-desk policy is often used for creating a neater work space, these office policies are often connected to data security as well. If all files and documents are placed in folders, and sensitive information is not in plain sight, businesses can control the people who see the information and make it harder for it to be stolen.

Every policy will be specific to the business, but there are a few main principles that every policy can follow:

  1. Create your business’s policy. Every business will likely have specific procedures to follow in order to implement a clean-desk policy. However, if you are looking for a starting point, you can download a sample of a clean-desk policy here. This can be used as a guideline to help you get started. This policy should be company-wide, and enforced.
  2. Enforce your policy. Every policy should have consequences for not following. Punishments can range from a warning to a fine, but they should start with high level executives, and be enforced throughout the entire organization. Ultimately it is the employee’s responsibility to follow the procedures in place. All employees should sign-off on the policy, and punishments should be established for anyone not in compliance.
  3. Provide Support. Upper management should provide support to all employees when instituting a clean-desk policy. Management can provide reminders to help enforce the policy. In addition, management should provide the appropriate resources needed, such as file cabinets, folders, etc. to help with organization and sorting.

So now you have a policy, but what are the benefits?

  1. Information Security: A clean desk will help protect sensitive documents from being seen. Any documents containing personal or confidential information should be filed in a locked cabinet at the end of each day. If these documents are no longer needed, they should be placed in a shredding container and a AAA NAID Certified vendor should be scheduled to pick-up the documents for proper destruction. This will also reduce the risk of a data breach. In addition to just papers, clearing computer screens and logging out of any programs will help protect against a data breach as well.
  2. Productivity: A clean space has been proven to increase productivity in the workplace. According to the National Association of Professional Organizations, the average person wastes over 4 hours a week searching for papers; the average executive loses 1 hour of productivity per day searching for missing information. Having a clean desk will save time and money for your business.
  3. Appearance: A clean-desk policy can also greatly improve the appearance of your office space. Your office will be seen as a cleaner, more inviting space. This will be a positive for employees and visitors to your office as well.

Overall, a clean-desk policy is great tool to help reduce your company’s risk of a data breach, improve organization, and increase productivity. The most important part of implementing this policy is enforcing it.

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The Bottom Line: A “Clean-Desk Policy” can protect your business and increase productivity.

Topics: Shredding