With the spring season now officially underway, it’s time for ‘Spring Cleaning’. Generally, this is the time many people do an annual ‘cleaning up’ – while some people might start a cleansing diet, others tidy up their apartment, and so on. Similarly, many business organizations also find this time of the year to be a great opportunity for organizing their office and documentation. Applying the concept of “spring cleaning” to office documentation ensures that outdated or unwanted documents are securely disposed of. Partnering with professional data cleansing companies can help businesses manage their sensitive information disposal processes.

Spring cleaning your office, though a real chore, can benefit your professional life.

  • Boosts Productivity: Cleaning and organizing your office will improve efficiency and productivity. By removing unwanted material and putting things in their right place, you would know where everything is, and you don’t have to waste any time fumbling around. A clean space is inspiring and would help you to accomplish more in less time.
  • Improves Mood: A clean, bright, appealing office can be a real mood booster.
  • Enhance Impressions: A clean and well-organized office sends the right impressions of trustworthiness and capability to the people you work with and for.

Though cleaning and organizing provide many benefits, spring cleaning your office can be an overwhelming task, following certain tips can help you can do it effectively and in no time.

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Office

  • Get Your Paperwork Organized:
    • Ensure that all paperwork is well organized.
    • Break down any paperwork clutter into sections and start with one area. Work in small sections at a time.
    • If you haven’t adopted the concept of having a paperless office, work on it. Though a paperless office sounds very appealing, turning that into a reality can take some time. This is because it requires all of your business processes to be digitized to eliminate using paper in your entire facility.
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  • Make space for storing necessary paperwork and supplies:
    • Make use of filing boxes or paper trays to store office files, notepads, and memos.
    • Make space for paper storage on bookshelves or cabinets and separate papers by type such as “to file” and “to do.”
    • Office supplies and stationery are commonly found on every desk in many offices. But many of these supplies are not normally used on a daily or regular basis. Keep the items that you use frequently on your desk.
    • Other supplies that are used occasionally can be moved to a special drawer or bin, or else, over time those supplies would make desks look very messy and untidy.
  • Keep necessary items within arm’s reach:
    • Keep your computer, phone, notepad, a few pens and a stapler within arm’s reach.
    • Keep important or most current paperwork in the desk drawers.
  • Virtual Clean Up:

    Office spring cleaning is not just cleaning office physically, it also means to clean your virtual workspace as well.

    • Do a digital deep clean of your desktop or laptop.
    • Organize your desktop by reviewing and removing any unnecessary or outdated files
    • Clean out your email inbox – by reading, replying, and deleting emails that you no longer want – because, an optimized inbox can easily increase productivity.
    • File documents away into folders and remove unused icons from the computer desktop.
    • Back up files regularly with the help of cloud or an external hard drive. Make sure that you regularly update external hard drives too.
    • Many companies perform mandatory password changes at least a couple of times a year. Update your passwords to prevent potential hackers from accessing your precious files.

These tips can help you clean up your office. Now, let’s take a look at spring cleaning sensitive documents.

Spring Cleaning Sensitive Documents

Businesses are required to protect documents – confidential client information, as well as, employee or company data – for a minimum amount of time. Some documents are required to be held on to for a minimum of seven years – which can include employee agreements, business loan documentation, litigation records, general expense reports and records. However, exposure of this information through a data breach can lead to financial and reputational disaster for the owner and the business. Therefore, to avoid such scenarios, it is necessary to train the staff on security protocols.

It is the duty of business owners to safeguard all business, customer and employee documents –that include word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, customer databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files – within the organization. Staffs should be trained on how to securely handle documents and devices to keep the business protected, else, serious consequences including data breaches and identity theft could happen.

Here are few tips to secure sensitive business data.

  • Educate your employees on best network security practices and create a robust policy for handling sensitive data.
  • Never leave critical documents out in the open. If a document needs a physical copy, ensure it is kept locked in a file cabinet and only designated employees should have access to it.
  • Scan and convert important documents into electronic format and save files to a drive or secure cloud storage server.
  • Back up data in a secure database as a part of your routine business operations.
  • To protect systems that hold confidential documents, safeguard your systems with strong passwords and encrypt your data.
  • Make a detailed and exhaustive written document retention policy to identify what information must be kept, how it is secured, how long it is kept and how to dispose of it securely.
  • Make shredders available throughout the office, to properly dispose of unwanted and outdated documents – what you no longer need.
  • Never keep sensitive information longer than necessary.
  • Make your digital files searchable by adding labels to it and index those files into a centralized electronic repository.
  • Remove all digital photos and other media that have no value.
  • Throwing away drives, DVDs and other CDs –after erasing- is not a safest practice while cleaning data. Physical destruction can make the objects unreadable by any machine.
  • Follow secure data disposal procedures that meet or exceed requirements and avoid hefty fines.

Spring cleaning can ensure that old, outdated and unwanted files and or papers are securely destroyed. This will help organizations reduce risk of fraud, data breaches or identity theft that can lead to exposure of confidential information, affecting their customers or even their own employees. Partnering with an experienced data entry service provider is a practical option to handle data management projects.