Having a Clean Desk Policy
WRS Tech Ltd as a company follows some very stringent internal policies with regards to sensitive commercial information and personal information of our clients and candidates. Dealing with such information is integral to the working day of all employees within the company. One of the simplest routes we (the senior management here at WRS Tech Ltd) have found - is to implement a “Clean Desk” policy.
What is a “Clean Desk” Policy?
In brief - A clean desk policy instructs that all employees must clear their desks at the end of each working day. This not only includes documents and notes, but any post-it notes, businesses cards, and removable media (e.g. USB memory sticks).
One of our Directors, Paul Hollowell, has transcended the clean desk policy by working towards a paperless office/desk concept (which is worthy of another article in itself and is the topic of many a car journey client visit debate).
Due to the high work flow of our consultants, keeping a clean desk requires a lot of attention to maintain.
However a clean desk policy should be looked at because of the numerous benefits it can provide your organization beyond adherence to company policy.
1. Save Time and Money
According to an IDC report, a typical employee in an organization spends 2.5 hours a day searching for information. WRS Tech maintains a custom CRM system which enables our team fantastic information at their fingertips in relation to their clients and candidates. However written notes on pads and post it notes are an inevitable result of long qualifications calls on the phone or via Skype. Assuming the knowledge workers in your organization earn £64,000 a year, a 1000-person organization loses approximately £2 million a year from the inability to locate and retrieve information.
A clean desk policy will encourage employees to use digital versions of documents (and in WRS Tech’s case utilise our CRM system further), significantly reducing your organization’s costs of pads, pens, printer paper, ink toner, and printer maintenance.
2. Make Good Impressions
Who knows who and when someone will visit your office? A clean and tidy workspace makes your organization look efficient and presentable to anyone who decides to visit, including the auditors!
WRS Tech makes good use of our idyllic office location in Hambledon, Hampshire. Primarily to meet with clients and long standing high level contractors. Beyond the stone floors, oak beams and wood burner, tidy desks help leave a good first and strong lasting impressions.
3. Easy ISO Compliance
A clean desk policy is not only ISO 27001/17799 compliant, it also complies with basic privacy principles.
Canada’s federal privacy legislation PIPEDA requires that Canadian organizations safeguard personal information. UK’s Data Protection Act requires organizations in the UK to ensure that personal information is kept secure. As mentioned previously WRS Tech’s own internal policies go above and beyond most statutory legislation.
4. Discourages Prying Eyes
Employees usually leave sensitive information on their desk.
Post-it notes are usually the worst culprit, containing names, phone numbers, and even user names/passwords in plain view. These habits could prove a boon to sharp clients visiting our offices or recruitment consultants from our competitors who come to interview at WRS Tech to join our superior working environment…
5. Reduce Stress
A place for everything and everything in its place. When your employees are organized they can spend more time concentrating on work rather than feeling stressed because they can’t find a report due in the next 10 minutes.
Implementing a Clean Desk Policy
A clean desk policy should be in writing and communicated to all employees, especially during introductory and refresher training.
Consider purchasing small storage boxes for employees which fit under their desk as it is difficult to implement a clean desk policy if you have no where for employees to put documents.
WRS Tech encourages its staff to work with electronic documents whenever possible through which are stored within our in house CRM system. This cuts down and reduces (but does not completely) removes the need for paperwork on a consultants desk. If you discourage employees from using physical documents, make sure your organization has a dependable backup routine in place. Employees need to know that their documents will be safe in the event of a power loss or hard-drive crash. WRS Tech has multiple redundancies for its IT Systems provided by a fantastic IT solutions provider.
The inevitable paperwork that does coalesces on a member of staff’s desk should never be thrown into the waste basket. Nothing can ruin your organization quicker than careless employees throwing sensitive information into a waste basket. The ruthless enforcement of proper document disposal is the most important takeaway from this article. WRS Tech’s trusty cross shredder is a vital member of the team.
Enforcing a Clean Desk Policy
A clean desk policy needs to be taken seriously — especially with all levels of management. If your employees see that upper management does not have to abide by the policy, they will soon lose faith.
The fact that upper management usually handles more sensitive documents should reinforce the need for a clean desk policy for all employees regardless of their status within the organization.
Note on WRS Tech
WRS Tech is an independent consultancy who resource, recruit and retain technical professionals and aims to be the world’s leading Shipbuilding and Shipping recruitment agency.
We are the markets choice for providing permanent and contract technical staff, due to our specific industry knowledge and our commitment to providing a fruitful, transparent and ultimately useful service.
We work with a global client and candidate base and maintain relationships with some of the industry’s most respected individuals and companies. This delivers the results our clients and candidates have come to depend on.
As team members at WRS Tech, our consultants offer an industry leading service and professionalism which benefits those we work with through all stages of the project life cycle from feasibility studies and design through to complex marine and offshore operations and Technical Management.
Tel: +44 (0) 2392 633 952
Fax: +44 (0) 2392 633 824