Some studies have shown that the average employee wastes up to 4.3 hours a week looking for papers that have been lost or misplaced.
Paper clutter is still one of the biggest challenges in the workplace, according to the US-based National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
A US survey on the Cost of Disorganisation showed that 46% of office workers had lost a file, mobile phone, calculator, USB stick, briefcase, or laptop in the previous year.
But confidential information that gets left behind, whether on paper or saved on a hard drive, is a huge security risk.
Here are tips to getting organised in the workplace, that also help to improve data security:
- Organise: All supplies should have a place so you know where to find them and where to put them when you’re finished. Use a standard filing system for paper and digital documents. They need to be properly indexed for organisation and easy retrieval.
- Have a to-do list: Keep a daily (and weekly and monthly) to-do list. The key is to focus on completing the tasks. This will help to prioritise information you create, keep or dispose of.
- Label everything: Labelling helps to keep information better organised too. Confidential information should be labelled by contents and disposal/destruction date according to privacy laws.
- Use folders: Putting project information into folders helps keep the desk clear of loose papers, and it helps keep documents sorted on a hard drive too. A clear desk and computer screen protects information from being seen and stolen by information thieves. A Clean Desk Policy supports these goals by instructing employees to clear desks and screens of confidential information at the end of every day.
- Lock it up: All confidential information must be locked away – in a lockable drawer, filing cabinet or storage cupboard/room, and by password and other IT safeguards.
- Purge: Clean and clear files regularly. Confidential paper information that does not need to be kept any longer should be securely destroyed. On all hard drives, clear the ‘downloads’ folder, and delete duplicate files and unused apps. Remember that deleting files helps keep things better organised but does not mean permanent removal from the hard drive. Destroy all hard drives when digital information is no longer needed or the hard drives have broken down.
- Back-up: A back-up copy of files is critical if your computer crashes or is hacked by ransomware.
- Use technology: Keep phone numbers and other often-used data on your computer and/or mobile phone. Online organisers can help.
- Be tidy: Tidy your personal work space every day. Have a place for coats, and keep bags and other personal effects in a locked drawer. A tidy office sends an ‘organised’ message to visitors and other employees.
- Go green: While lamps, desks and chairs in decent condition can be recycled or donated, never throw away or recycle paper or digital documents before destroying them. A Shred-it all Policy means all documents must be securely destroyed before being recycled, and this should apply to both digital and paper documents.
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 data security survey.