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What is a Clean Desk Policy?


A clean desk policy means that all employees must clean off their desks at the end of their workday. For us it was a very natural decision to imply a clean desk policy since we have adapted to an activity-based workplace. But no matter if you are interested in trying ABW or just want to keep your current workplace strategy – a clean desk policy might still be something for you to try. Let us tell you why!

If you have an office with assigned seating, you probably recognize this situation: 

You come to the office and you go to your desk, ready to start the day. You notice that you forgot to take your coffee cup and your plate back to the kitchen yesterday. And in addition, it seems like all your post-it notes with important passwords has fallen off your computer. So instead of getting started with your work you first need to take back your dishes to the kitchen and clean up your post-it mess. Happy Wednesday.

We're not here to tell you it's a waste of time (or are we?), you do you and so on, but we believe there are much better ways to start your day!

before clean desk policyReal footage of our desks before we implemented a clean desk policy

The benefits of a clean desk policy

Let's go through the benefits of a clean desk policy. There are more than you think!

Reduce stress

Think of yourself as a chef. Before the guests arrive in the evening the chef has worked all day to have “mise en place”. If you’re not acquainted with this saying it means “everything in its place”. Chefs use this preparation to be sure that when they start cooking, they will have the best conditions. By doing this yourself you will get more organized and probably more focused on work instead of looking for that pen, document, mug etc.

Make a good impression

You never know who is coming to visit, do you? Visitors will get a more positive outlook on your organization if the office is nice and tidy.

Avoid sensitive information leakage

Even if you’re not one of them who has their passwords written down on a post-it sucked on to their computer screen (yes, we all know it’s your passwords, Carol), it’s very easy to leave documents or notes on your desk at the end of your workday. Maybe it’s not on purpose or even consciously – it still happens.

By implementing a clean desk policy this will be avoided naturally. If you have the habit of removing your documents and stuff before leaving the office, the problem is solved.


How do you implement a Clean Desk Policy?

There are some preparations that need to be done before introducing a clean desk policy into your workplace.

Install lockable cabinets

First things first: to make a clean desk policy work there must be storage where your employees can put their stuff at the end of the day. Otherwise, you have a really big issue.

Communicate with your colleagues

Even if you have understood the benefits of a clean desk policy, it doesn’t mean that your colleagues have. Therefore, you have to inform them. It’s the magic word dialogue we aim for here. Easier said than done, but for a clean desk policy to work – everyone needs to be on deck.

Put up a start date and make a cleaning event

When it’s decided that your organization is going for a clean desk policy, make sure to make everyone involved. Book a date and invite your colleagues to a collaborative cleaning where each and every one can take the time to clean their own desk and structure their cabinets. This does not only help with implementing the policy, it will hopefully also be a nice, joint moment for your colleagues.

Are you implementing a clean desk policy as a part of your hot desking strategy? In that case, you should check out our additional hot desking resources! We wish you good luck with your clean desk policy! Read more about workplace design and other smart workplace hacks on the Meetio blog!