Doomed to failure in traditional offices; an essential requirement in the New Way of Working
Clean desk policy is an office procedure that encourages employees to keep their desks neat and tidy. This makes it easier for anyone in the office to locate documents quickly and efficiently, as well as creating a more organized workplace overall. Additionally, having a clean desk policy helps keep confidential information secure by making sure documents are not left out in the open where unauthorized people can access them.
Montessori once said: “An untidy desk is a sign of an untidy mind”. Yes, but I can always find everything. Oh, and can your co-workers find the things they need on your desk? The basic rules for a clean desk policy are: you should never have more on your desk than what you are actually working on; a cluttered desk is always distracting. And: if you leave your workplace for any length of time, nothing should be left behind on the desk. An employee was asked why he carted four stacks of files to his workplace every morning and he answered: Otherwise my boss can’t see how busy I am!
Change management has to be able to combat this type of mindset (and many others as well) in order to implement the New Way of Working successfully. Another hard rule is: you may never personify the workplace. You may not do what, for example, dogs do – mark off your territory by ‘leaving your scent’. If you are in a restaurant, you won’t leave your things lying on the table until the next time you eat there, will you? Not leaving your things on your desk is a great clean desk policy example.
The fourth basic rule is: there is no such thing as a personal file. Everything that is produced at the office belongs to the company and all information on file should therefore in principle be accessible to the organisation. Yes, I know that some files are confidential. But they only become confidential after they have been marked as such. Confidentiality is usually grossly exaggerated and this should be taken into consideration in the change process. Only 0.5% of all files are really confidential, but nobody takes the trouble to look through files that are not marked ‘Confidential’. It may sound strange from a ‘storage specialist’: but a clean desk in a modern office leads to fewer cabinets and reduces the required amount of storage space, but it does demand better storage systems.
If you decide to introduce a clean desk policy, you should also take the following guidelines into account:
A clean desk policy is a great way to maintain a productive work environment. It keeps the office neat and organized, making it easier for staff to find what they need quickly. It also helps create a professional image, and can reduce distractions, promote better focus and boost morale. Furthermore, it also decreases the risk of security breaches as confidential documents are more securely kept out of sight when not being used. An effective clean desk policy helps keep the rest of the office tidy and makes cleaning easier. It is a prerequisite for reducing the amount of square metres and serves as an invitation for people to sit together and to come into contact with each other.