Common tech business challenges and solutions provided by clear desk policy implementation
By Tom Armenante, director at GTSE cable ties
Businesses face a multitude of challenges, from keeping up with rapidly developing technology and industry standards to workforce retention. Whilst some are complex, others can be simplified through small changes to the workplace and its day-to-day operations.
An increasing number of workplaces have brough in return to the office, with the number steadily growing over the past few years. Hybrid working and hot desking are now popular, with three quarters of UK businesses offering it (according to CIPD), however, this has brought with it new challenges and risks.
One solution to just some of the issues could be the implementation of a clear desk policy, to reduce business risk, improving health and safety, GDPR practices and office culture.
What is a clear desk policy
A clear desk policy or CDP, is an initiative where employers and their workers agree that all desks much be left “clear” at the end of each day (according to GTSE). That is, clear of all paper or digital documentation, personal items and notes. The idea behind such a policy is to reduce business risk and create a safe working environment.
Six business challenges that clear desk policies can support
Such an initiative can support a range of challenge areas within the tech space. From GDPR and safety, to productivity and collaboration.
Challenge: remaining GDPR compliant
The need for better data protection practices, that are in line with GDPR can lead businesses to turn to CPDs. As such policies ensure that documents, notes and information is not left on desks at the end of the day. This means that there is less chance sensitive information will fall in to the wrong hands.
Poor data security can pose as a huge risk to tech businesses, their employees and clients, leading to potential financial losses. Often businesses will have visiting clients, interviewees, tradespeople and of course cleaners alongside their full-time workforce in the building.
Challenge: creating professional first impressions
The tech industry is known for more relaxed office spaces and dress codes but, a professional atmosphere should be maintained. Walking into a tody workspace is a great first impression for visitors and potential clients. An office which is free from clutter encourages a sense of pride in the workspace too.
Challenge: streamlining processes and file storage
The nature of a tech business means it has great potential to go fully digital, following the paperless office trend. This has multiple benefits, helping to modernise processes, allow for better collaboration internally and with other stakeholders, and particularly with remote and hybrid teams.
A paperless filing system can save time, giving your employees quicker access to files, meaning that they can be more efficient and spend time working on more profitable tasks. Cloud based backups also gives more security should physical copies or equipment be lost or damaged.
An added bonus is that less physical storage space is needed in the office, less time spent shredding and less waste for recycling and landfill. Making it better for the environment too.
Challenge: encouraging collaboration
Modernising process in this way can aid collaboration, as a clear desk policy can encourage hot desking with employees being less tied to a specific seat in the office for document access or personal items. By fostering inclusivity, adaptability and creativity amongst your teams, collaboration becomes easier and more natural.
Challenge: keeping on top of health and safety
Businesses are obligated to create a safe place of work for employees and the public, according to HSE. Removing hazards which could harm employees such as untidy belongings and documentation can help provide a safer working environment. This has a positive impact on the risk of fires, alongside slip and trip hazards.
The pandemic highlighted the need for clean, germ-free workspaces and CPD policies make the space easier to clean. Helping to keep your workforce healthy and productive.
Challenge: managing productivity
Productivity is often enhanced when workers are in a clean and tidy environment. That’s according to one study which suggests that workers are able to work for on average 7.5 minutes longer before losing focus when they have a clean desk, increasing productivity and persistence by 84%.
In addition to work-based benefits, the study found that individuals were likely to have greater mental stability, better sleep, reduced stress and more likely to make healthier food choices also.
To help drive such policies forward you will need to ensure an individual or team is given the responsibility of doing so. This could be an office manager, CEO, operations department, security team or HR. With good planning and consistent enforcement clear desk policies can bring transformative benefits across your business. Which is perhaps why they have become common place for so many in recent years.