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How to Get Rid of Workplace Clutter and Why You Should

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lynn Brown


Even the smallest size business generates a ton of data – and clutter – these days.  

People, businesses, and devices are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day online, and they’re creating a lot of paper clutter too.

The Paperless Project reports the use of paper products in the United States has increased 126% in 20 years from 92 million tons to 208 million. The average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year.

According to the IBM Marketing Cloud study, 90% of the data in the world today has been created just in the last two years. The data growth rate is expected to just keep skyrocketing with new devices, sensors and technologies emerging.  

As a result, companies of all sizes need a strategy and plan for how to collect, use, protect, and destroy data.

There are significant costs associated with clutter in the workplace.    

Time: A typical employee spends 30 to 40% of his time looking for information that is locked away in email and filing cabinets, or lost.

Money: Instead of focusing on their jobs, employees spend a lot of time looking for data. Plus, thepaperlessproject.com numbers show that each lost document costs $350 to $700 – and large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds. Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, takes up to 9 square feet of floor space, and costs $1,500 per year.

Stress: A Psychology Today story reported that clutter is distracting in the workplace and sends a signal that work is never done. This can create feelings of anxiety and guilt, and “inhibit creativity and productivity”.

Reputation: A cluttered office also sends a message of disorganization to employees and visitors. Whether privacy laws are understood or not, there may be concerns about compliance.

Data breaches: Clutter is often equated with carelessness. Among 874 data breach incidents reported in a recent Cost of Data Breach Study by Ponemon, the majority (568) were caused by employee or contractor negligence.

To reduce clutter, implement a Clean Desk Policy so that tidiness becomes a best practice throughout the organization.

Outsourcing document destruction is another common strategy to reduce clutter and better protect the workplace.

There are two types of shredding services available: regularly scheduled service and occasional (on-demand paper shredding) purges.

Here are some of the reasons why regularly scheduled service is recommended:

  • The shredding company takes care of everything including scheduling, providing locked consoles (for the collection of documents), and security-trained professionals who remove documents for secure destruction on- or off-site.
  • Data doesn’t accumulate – and require storage – between shreds (which happens with infrequent purges).
  • Clutter is reduced in the office overall.
  • It is more convenient to have a service contract rather than to have to call for occasional service.
  • Regularly scheduled service is more cost efficient in most cases.
  • There is proof for customers and third parties who are increasingly demanding this kind of information security from any company they do business with.  

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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.


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