How to implement a clean desk policy

With agile or flexible working becoming a prevalent way of working in modern offices, it’s important to think about ‘clean desk’ policies.

Whether it’s a mutual understanding, or contractual obligation, clean desk policies help to protect equipment, maintain office hygiene and allow any flexible worker to touch down in the workplace with ease.

What is a clean desk policy?

A clean desk policy strays away from traditional desk ownership. Agile working environments often request a clean desk policy so that any personal, work items or paper are packed away securely at the end of the day, even if you plan to return to the same spot the next day.

What are the benefits of a clean desk policy?

Even if you love to be surrounded by paper at work, there are many benefits of a clean desk policy:


We’ve all known a colleague that’s managed to evade washing up. By making desks a communal space, it’s important to stress the importance of keeping all work areas clean, tidy and hygienic.

Whilst it’s not recommended to eat at your desk (after all the average keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat), on the occasions you are caught short catching up on work with a sandwich, make sure that all utensils are cleaned and put away as a courtesy for your co-workers. This should also be a professional responsibility for every member of staff enforced in the clean desk policy.


Having the option to work anywhere in the office can make the workplace more dynamic and productive. Clean desk policies allow staff to touch down anywhere they want to suite how they want to work. Read more about the benefits of flexible working here.


Clean desk policies are often put into place to improve security, and prevent data being left vulnerable in compliance with the data protection act.

In addition to keeping data safe, by providing secure storage such as lockers, you can ensure that team members can store their own personal possessions safely.

Tips of how to enforce a clean desk policy

  • Rather than a mutual understanding, we would suggest a written policy
  •  Discuss it with your team (or a focus group within your team) to agree on the best way to implement and manage the policy
  • Speak to HR regarding your company’s response to employees not following company procedures and policies, and make the team aware of the consequences
  • Encourage senior employees to champion the scheme and lead by example
  • Provide secure storage and ensure that all equipment is labelled up for the individual to avoid confusion.
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Do you need some advice about your workplace?

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