January 16, 2018

Document Management: How to Declutter the Office

The start of a new year is a great time to start fresh… and declutter the office.

“There is an overwhelming amount of research to suggest that a decluttered space is essential to workflow,” said one workplace expert.

A comprehensive document management process will enhance workflow and the overall efficiency of a workplace. But decluttering is also essential to protect confidential information from external fraud and security breaches caused by human error.

Data breaches in the United States and around the world continue to increase at alarming rates. Piles of old files on desks and in common areas as well as dated data files on hard drives are just what information thieves are looking for. In addition to high financial costs, a data breach can cause compliance-related legal headaches and damage a company’s reputation.

Here’s how to declutter the office.

Clean and organize your desk: Review all items on the desk, and get rid of anything that is not used regularly. Position work tools like the mouse, keyboard, tablet, phone, and monitor within reach. 

Send it home: Securely dispose of trash or items that are no longer needed, take home personal items, and sort loose paperwork. Don't keep what doesn't support your work or make you genuinely happy to see, and make sure everything has a home. Stop using post-it notes for confidential information like passwords.

Drawers and cupboards: Desk drawers often fill up with a mess of office supplies, business cards, unorganized papers, cords, and junk. Remove everything from drawers and create two piles, a ‘use’ and ‘don’t use’ pile. Put the ‘use’ items back into the drawer. Throw out, recycle, or have other items securely destroyed.

Clear the floor: Remove personal items like gym bags, purses, and footwear from sight and store them in a closet or drawer. Hang hooks for coats, umbrellas, and bags. Do not stockpile old hard drives and other devices.Have all electronics securely destroyed by your document destruction partner.

Office supplies: Use shelving and separators to store work essentials such as the stapler, paper, pens, pencils, etc. Baskets, bins, and labels also help keep these items organized. There should be an area for generic office supplies such as copier paper, toner cartridges and pens.

Lock up data: There should be a lockable drawer or cupboard for devices and files that contain confidential information. Periphery items, like USB keys, should be locked away at the end of each day too.

Go digital: A great option for important and confidential information is to store it digitally. Also, a contacts app or tasks program will help remove clutter from the work space. Organize digital files and the email inbox with a system of logical and clearly labeled folders.

Securely destroy information. Set up a Data Retention process so that confidential data is flagged with destruction dates. Partner with a professional document destruction company for secure destruction services of both paper and hard drives and other e-media.

Schedule clean-up: As part of a Clean Desk Policy, tidy the work space at the end of every day. Once a week, go through the office and get rid of accumulating items.

Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.