7 Easy Tips for Maintaining a “Clean Desk” Policy

In the age of information and identity theft, clean desk policies seem to be the norm, but maintaining a clean desk can be hard, especially when you’re trying to keep up with your daily task lists and projects. The benefits of implementing a clean desk policy are apparent, from ensuring papers and information aren’t lost to helping maintain better filing and document retention practices, there are lots of positives to making it happen, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. We have put together a list of some easy-to-do items that can help you stay on top of your “clean desk” maintenance and help to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect proprietary information, even when it’s still in use.



  • Make sure your employees have the necessary tools and resources to maintain this policy. This includes things like a list of permitted items or a list of items that should never be left out, as well as providing filing space and lockable drawers and cabinets for items that need to be protected.
  • Set aside time at the end of each day to ensure your desk is clear of papers, files, and other information that might compromise information security. Additionally, schedule regular cleaning intervals to get rid of the additional clutter that might gather on your desk over time.
  • Only keep documents on your desk that are needed for immediate work on-hand. Make sure that other papers are filed and put away in the appropriate place and in accordance with your document retention policies.
  • Create a desktop filing system. If you have to keep items on your desk, create an inbox of sorts where you can keep active files organized and easy to find and that you can easily clear out at the end of each day so information is not left out overnight.
  • Use less paper! Not everything has to be printed or written down. Saving things digitally on a password protected computer, and even inside password protected documents or programs will go a long way in helping reduce the paper clutter on your desk
  • When in doubt, throw it out ((or securely destroy it!!)). When it comes to records you aren’t sure what to do with, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Any items that do not have a specified filing process or that you do not need to hold on to long-term, should be securely destroyed.
  • Send reminders and tips regularly to help encourage everyone to participate in your clean desk initiative. Make sure that the efforts start from the top down and that you communicate the importance of having a clean desk policy.

10 Clean Desk Policy Tips | Lean Six Sigma Group
Clean Desk Policy: 5 Ways to Improve Your Security | Adelia Risk