Cleaning up your workspace is most likely at the very bottom of your to-do list. It is one of those never ending tasks that are too hard to make time for. We have all seen the studies that prove that you can be more productive in a clean, organized environment, yet it still doesn’t make it any easier to get started.
You should never leave your day planner or rolodex unattended at your desk or cubicle. Personal and professional information including phone numbers, passwords, or notes on meeting times, places and subjects—is vulnerable. Always store day planners and notebooks in a locked drawer or take them when away from desk for extended periods of time, including overnight.
Personal effects such including bank statements, checkbooks and mail should not be left on your desk. Bank statements include account numbers and other personal identifiers, mail carries home addresses and could reveal private information, checkbooks contains a history of financial transactions. You should keep all personal effects in a locked briefcase or locked cabinet devoted to personal effects.
Be careful with access tools such as keys, cell phones, PDA’s and building access cards. Cell phones can be stolen or have their call histories compromised. Stolen keys give intruders access to restricted areas of the office. PDAs contain sensitive personal and professional data. Stolen access cards can be used for continued access to the building. You should keep devices with you, and lock cell phones and PDAs with a pass code. Never leave your access cards or keys out anywhere, always keep them with you. Remember to notify security staff immediately if access cards or keys are missing.
Even applications left open on your computer can make your workspace vulnerable. Access to personal or sensitive corporate e-mail or passwords can allow ongoing access and intrusion. A CD left in a drive and data on printouts can be stolen. Cache files for applications and printers can yield sensitive data one might have thought wasn’t preserved. Remember to close applications and turn off your monitor when you leave your desk. Do not leave portable media such as CDs or floppy disks in drives. Enable a password-protected screen saver and turn off your computer when you leave for extended periods. Never write your passwords on a sticky note nor try to hide them anywhere in your office. Always remove printouts from printers before leaving your office. Shred sensitive printouts when you are done with them. Remember to clear cache files on your computer and memory on devices like printers regularly.
Another thing to think about is how desks and cubicles should be positioned so that sensitive material is not visible from either the windows or the hallway. You may want to close blinds on windows so that spying from another building or hallway do not occur. Use a screen filter to minimize the viewing angle on a computer monitor. If you use a whiteboard, remember to erase. If data on whiteboards needs to be saved, use electronic whiteboards or employ shutters.