If, like many B2B businesses, you’re experiencing a bit of a slump over the festive period, this could be the perfect time to get your employees involved with an office clear-out. These six useful tips will help you to supercharge your clear-out operation and refresh your workspace for the new year ahead.
1. Create a detailed plan of action and communicate it with your workplace!
The quieter times of the year create the perfect opportunity for your employees to complete tasks they’ve been putting off or haven’t had the time to prioritise. Be it clearing out their overflowing desk drawers or organising the stationary cupboard, there is always something to do during the Christmas slump. Create a detailed list of everything that needs to be done and communicate it with your workplace.
If you need help communicating your Christmas clear-out plans, feel free to download our print-ready Christmas Clear Out poster. We recommend placing it around your workplace as a reminder for your employees.
2. Assign specific tasks to specific people if needed.
Play to your team’s strengths by assigning specific tasks to each employee based on their skill set and availability. This will help ensure that everyone is working on something they are good at and there are no gaps in coverage. If you are managing a large workforce, assign tasks to teams. You can even create a task leaderboard to create some healthy competition!
It’s also important to be mindful of confidential information. If you work with personal data or confidential business information restricted to authorised personnel only, you will need to limit some tasks to certain people. For example, you shouldn’t let your sales team loose on your old HR files. If you do need to limit tasks to specified personnel, ensure they don’t get overloaded with other decluttering tasks as this could make them feel demotivated.
It’s also worth getting your files in order while organising your archives. Putting files into date and alphabetical order will take time now, but will save time when finding and destroying files later. For this task, we recommend picking people with lots of patience who love to organise.
3. Create an incentive.
To get everyone on board, incentivising your clear-out might be a good idea. For example, if everyone completes their tasks, clears out their desk and wipes down their workspace, buy the team lunch. You’ll end up with a fresh office, a way to ensure you are meeting your organisation’s document retention obligations, and you’ll have happy employees. Not only because you’ve bought them lunch, but because decluttering can lead to a boost in mood, a sharper focus and can even relieve anxiety!
4. Think about safety.
Keep your clear-out safe by ensuring everyone has the necessary equipment, skills and supplies to complete their task. For instance, you wouldn’t want someone who hasn’t had manual handling training to be moving dozens of old boxes around. Ensure any cleaning materials supplied are safe and gentle, don’t mix chemicals, and don’t use hazardous substances like bleach. Get your Health and Safety Team involved to ensure your Christmas Clear Out doesn’t spell disaster. Remember, if it’s not safe, it’s not fun.
5. Be thorough and remember the little things.
When organising a workplace clear out, it’s important to be thorough and to remember the little things. There are lots of materials you might need to destroy that may not be immediately obvious. For example, old promotional or marketing materials could be very useful to your company’s competitors. You may need to shred these items before disposal. Little things like Post-it notes could even contain confidential information about your workplace or customers. Ensure things like this are also securely shredded rather than just put into general waste bins. This leads to our sixth and final point – managing your waste properly.
6. Ensure your waste disposal is done properly.
The most vital step of all when supercharging your office clear-out is ensuring your waste disposal is done properly. It’s no use organising your workplace if it means putting confidential materials into an unlocked recycling bin and risking your entire company’s reputation. Environmentally, it’s also not great to declutter your space if it means sending hundreds of recyclable files to landfill. Think carefully about the environment and GDPR compliance when throwing away your materials. We advise adopting a ‘Shred Everything’ policy to keep confidential information secure and outsourcing your shredding services to a fully accredited shredding and recycling service provider. A reputable supplier will provide a secure shredding bin to keep your documents or confidential storage devices secure and ready for destruction.
You also need to ensure you are sticking to your data retention obligations. There will be some files you should destroy immediately and others that you should keep for years. Feel free to read our Getting Started with Data Retention and Destruction help guide if you need some help with what to keep and what to destroy.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive alerts about new blog articles, data protection advice, and Shred Station news.