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Clear Desk Policy

By Bizzo ·
Rumour has it that our company is about to introduce a clear desk policy.

After working for over 16 years in this (IT) industry I don't think I've ever had a clear desk. Even at college my work area has been less than clear.

I appreciate that for security reasons that you may leave some secure information on your desk, and also tidy desks give a better impression for visiting customers. My desk is (sort of) tidy, but it is not clear.

In the role I currently have I work on a number of contracts, sometimes up to 7 different ones a day and I have information about each of them on my desk. With the obvious exception of the secure contracts where all information is locked in drawers.

If I have to clear my desk, not just make it tidy, it's either going to take a lot longer to find the information I need, or I'm going to have to completely change the way I work.

Do you have to comply to a clear desk policy? Have your personal work practices changed? Do you have any advice to someone who's about to go 'Clear Desk'?

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The easiest solution

by Jaqui In reply to Clear Desk Policy

is to not have hard copy at all about anything, wherever possible.
If everything for each contract is only stored electronically, then the simple logout will give you a "Clear Desk"

For those where hard copy cannot be avoided, just a note in the system that you have additional details in hard copy will help to keep the two sections available, since it can be kept locked up unless you are actively using it.

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Comply? I've just written the darn thing!

by gadgetgirl In reply to Clear Desk Policy

- for the second time, may I add, after the merger of two NHS Trusts, so I now have to get 5,500 users to comply with this.....

Primarily, ours is to ensure that no personally identifiable information is left to open view on a workspace.

(and yes, this is a clear desk and screen policy before you ask!)

As we have a distinct problem with lockable storage, we've had to come up with a few ways to help the users comply with this policy.

A lot of our work is done electronically; but as we have patient records, we must also keep a certain amount of paper copies on hand too - it is these that I'm trying to secure.

I speak at the monthly induction for new starters, and I always tell them that I'm not looking for a desk which is scrupulously empty as if it were ready for cleaning. I'm looking to ensure that there is no identifiable information left available. As there is a distinct lack of storage, we have resorted to using box files. They look neat and tidy, and you can fling any sort of info into them at the end of the day, and it's hidden. It's also ready to be picked up and opened the next day, too.....

I suggest you try that approach first. All seven contracts needn't be in separate folders, but could be if you needed it that way. They can then be either left on the desk, or filed along the desk, or filed on a shelf.... well, you get the drift.

The other thing in here is yellow sticky notes all over screens and bases....AARRGHH! Nine times out of ten they have some sort of information on them.... and it is with great delight that I'll go to a workstation full of stickers and start ripping 'em up! You can bet your bottom dollar on the fact that someone's mobile number is on there, and the user of course, needs it so critically they haven't yet put it in their phone....

<smug> too late! rrriiiipppppp! </smug>

Yeah, I know. Evil. But grief, does it work well!

Try and work more electronically if you can (and keep locking your screen EVERY time you move away from the pc) but if not, try the box file system. If you need any more inspiration, you know where I am, and I'll do what I can!


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Now that is something that I'd like to see GG

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Comply? I've just writte ...

Mainly because there have been some changes here concerning Individual Records and when related to things like Medical or other Personal Records they need to be kept confidential at all times. Currently the AU Government is having a field day catching Commonwealth Public Servants who are not doing the right thing and looking at information that they shouldn't be looking at for Profit or just Gossip reasons.

But as I know what is required here I'm wondering how other countries cover this issue.


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Clear desk compliance

by Tig2 In reply to Clear Desk Policy

First- if clear desk is required, you will need enough lockable storage to comply. In the US, if a file is required to be locked up, it MUST be locked up in order to be in compliance. I assure you that the one time you fail to do that will be the day that your workspace is audited.

Use your white board to direct you as opposed to recording sensitive information. That is a way to keep you organised. I use step files with everything I am currently working on. At the end of the day I can put them in an overhead bin and lock it. The key is on my badge.

Old files can be filed in any lockable drawer. To keep clutter from accumulating, I spend the last 20 or so minutes of my workday to process any paper that is on my desk and determine if I need to retain it. Anything that I no longer need is folded in half and put to the side. When I have finished processing all the paper, I have it in the correct file or I have folded it in half. Anything folded goes to the burn barrel.

I schedule a monthly clean out. Anything not directly related to the current work- old files and the like- get boxed to be taken to off-site storage. I retain a spreadsheet of the things that I sent off-site and the date that I sent them there.

If you use notebooks for your individual projects, much the easier. Notebooks can be placed in the overhead bin or in a file drawer.

I have been complying with clean desk/clean screen for so long that I will lock the pc at home if I walk away from it. And my cats can't read!

It IS a habit. Analyse how you work and look at how you can reduce the paper clutter. Believe me, you will find yourself tossing more than you think you will!

Also- if you are in a "workroom" with others as opposed to a private workspace, your management will need to provide you with appropriate storage. Mention that to them if appropriate storage does not exist today.

This really is do-able. It just takes a bit of time and effort.

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Try Aerospace 5S House Keeping

by TheChas In reply to Clear Desk Policy

Many companies that supply or work with the aerospace industry have been through 5S training and audits.

When taken to it's "full potential" 5S means that every item in the company has a place and is stored in that place except while being used. Even down to specific locations for every item that stays on your desk.

It even includes a plan for how your files and task information can be located in the event you are unable to come to work.

Perhaps the worst part of a rigid 5S system is the "Sort". Under strict 5S rules, every item that has not been used for 6 months is supposed to be disposed. There go all those spare parts for keeping older systems running.


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