January 07, 2022

Start the New Year Fresh: National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

How would you like a ‘new year, new leaf’ feeling with a desk clear of clutter and papers? Welcome the new year by participating in National Clean Off Your Desk Day on January 10. Begin your new year with a clean and organized workspace—whether a private or shared office, cubicle, ‘hot desk,’ or a makeshift spot on your dining room table—and immediately begin to increase productivity, reduce stress, and boost your effectiveness. 

A poll from the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) revealed that 27% of employees feel disorganized at work. Of those, 91% said they would be more effective and efficient if they better organized their workspace. The Advisory Board reports that 25% of business owners said that organizing their workspace more efficiently would improve their productivity.

So, it makes sense that you could have relevant and essential information more readily available by decluttering your office and reducing time wasted searching for the correct papers, notes, and files. Less time wasted means more time on crucial projects and priorities, which benefits you and your business. Better organization could also allow for easier, more seamless collaboration between team members.

But before you break out the recycling bin, try to remember that keeping desks clear of clutter is not only about making the office work better. Just as important, decluttering can help  prevent theft of sensitive data. 

A recent report from Verizon found that while cyber and phishing attacks make headlines, physical data breaches—including document thefts—with known data disclosure still accounted for 43% of breached assets in 2021. According to Shred-it’s 2021 Data Protection Report (DPR), one of the most reported causes of data breaches was human error. A tidy workspace, whether it be at home or in the office, can help reduce potential vulnerabilities. 

How to Participate in National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Not sure where to start? Here are practical steps to make cleaning, organizing, and securing your workspace a bit more manageable:

  • Mark the date and schedule ahead. If you leave your desk clearing to when you have five spare minutes available, you may not be as successful as scheduling the activity. Take advantage of National Clean Off Your Desk Day on January 10 and commit some time to decluttering.

  • Organize and evaluate. Collect all the documents in your workspace and review each one’s purpose. Is the document still relevant? Will you need to reference this information to perform your role effectively? Take time and think about what you regularly use at your desk. Do you need to “dig” through drawers to find something? The upper drawers of your desk should have the items you use every day.

  • Conduct a clear-out. Securely destroy what you do not need. Shred any documents that contain outdated or irrelevant information. We recommend partnering with a professional shredding service (on- or off-site) to ensure everything (paper, hard drives, and e-media) is securely destroyed, giving you peace of mind that there is no chance of potentially sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. Alternatively, a drop-off shredding service may be more optimal for smaller volumes of confidential documents and clutter.

  • Clean up digital information. Decluttering your workspace extends to your electronics, too. Collect and review the contents of all hard drives, USB keys, and laptops and ensure they are securely filed away in a locked cabinet when not in use. When electronics reach the end of their life, have them physically destroyed.

  • Donate unused office products. Look for non-profit groups that could benefit from extra supplies such as pens, unused notebooks, and envelopes that tend to get stockpiled. 

Now that you have cleaned off and organized your desk, do not let all that hard work go to waste. Your company may benefit from establishing clean desk and shred-it-all policies to encourage consistent decluttering and secure destruction to help reduce vulnerabilities. 

Consider a Clean Desk Policy

A clean desk policy is one of the simplest ways an organization can try to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of a data breach and identity theft. In general, the policy will mandate that employees clear their desks at the end of each working day. This means, for example, securely disposing of Post-it notes, keeping written notes in a safe place, and ensuring that any removable media is not lying around unprotected.

Intended to keep personal and proprietary information away from visual hackers, a clean desk policy helps reduce the likelihood that sensitive information will be easily viewed or taken by someone who should not have it. Even a list of employee email addresses can be useful to someone crafting a social engineering attack or phishing scam. 

Decide Whether a Shred-It-All Policy is Optimal

According to Shred-it’s DPR, twenty-two percent of those surveyed answered that data breaches happened inside of businesses due to simple employee errors. With a shred-it-all policy, all documents are shredded once they are no longer in use. Instead of employees determining what needs to be shredded, a shred-it-all policy removes the decision-making and simplifies the process down to—as the name implies—shredding everything.

Productivity and peace of mind await. Start 2022 on the right foot by celebrating Clean Off Your Desk Day and securing your workspace.

Securely Clear Out Your Confidential Information by Partnering With Shred-it

Ready to take a step toward protecting your information when decluttering? Learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and provide a one-time shredding service to start your year off right.