10 Tips to Getting Organized – and Improving Workplace Productivity and Security

Posted  January 03, 2018  by  Jenny Green

Here are a couple of facts that you may not have known about disorganization in the workplace:

  • A quick online search shows 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 National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
  • An earlier U.S. survey called the Cost of Disorganization showed that 46% of office workers had lost a file folder, mobile phone, calculator, flash or memory drive, briefcase, or lap top 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 organized in the workplace.

  1. Organize: All supplies should have a place so you know where to find them and where to put them when you’re done. Use a standard filing system for paper and digital documents. They need to be properly indexed for organization and easy retrieval.
  2. 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 prioritize information you create, keep or dispose of.
  3. Label everything: Labeling helps to keep information better organized too. Confidential information should be labeled by contents and (discard) destruction date according tp privacy laws.
  4. 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 clean 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.
  5. Lock it up: All confidential information must be locked away – in a lockable drawer, filing cabinet or cupboard, or room, and by password and other IT safeguards.  
  6. 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 organized 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.  
  7. Back-up: A back-up copy of files is critical if your computer crashes or is hacked by ransomeware.
  8. Use technology: Keep phone numbers and other often-used data on your computer and/or mobile phone. Online organizers can help.
  9. Be tidy: Tidy personal work space every day. Have a place for coats, and keep purses in a locked drawer. A tidy office sends an ‘organized’ message to visitors and employees.  
  10. Go green: While lamps, desks and chairs in decent condition can be recycled or donated, never toss 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.


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