At my office, we have a Clean Desk Policy. They’re not trying to promote the whole Einstein ‘cluttered mind’ philosophy – it’s just an attempt to get people not to leave confidential information on their desks when they’re not there.
It goes hand in hand with the Data Classification Policy – every document needs to be classified as one of Internal, Restricted, Confidential or Public. Naturally, only the latter may be found on your desk when you’re not there. For this purpose, lockable drawers and cupboards are provided for each desk to pack things away securely.
Now, you may think (given my cynical nature) that I’m dead against this, and am about to make fun of it mercilessly. But you’d be wrong. In these dark days of corporate espionage, and employees leaving companies at the drop of a hat (or a stock market), some sort of protection is necessary. And so I try to be a good corporate citizen, and make a reasonably decent effort to keep my area infringement-free.
However, my lapses in cleanliness seem to correlate perfectly with spikes in diligence on the part of those who are meant to invigilate our behaviour on this front. And so I’ve arrived at work twice this year so far to find one of these red pieces of paper on my desk (I’ve blanked out the company name in order to protect whatever needs protecting in cases like this):
The second one of these was during the week that I was on leave, and the file of information that was objected to was left on my desk by another colleague who’d left the company the previous Friday (after I’d left for the day). I therefore didn’t have a chance to pack it away because it was put there after I’d gone. Not my fault. So I felt just a little bit aggrieved. But nevertheless, I tidied it all up again, and made sure that the only papers on my desk were those that clearly didn’t have any internal classifications, or were obviously not of any worth to anyone.
So, this morning when I got to my desk, I saw this:
Firstly, a Clear Desk Month? If it’s standard company policy, you shouldn’t need to have a month to focus on it. That’s like having a Ladies Night at the Knitting Club, or No Pork November down at the local Vegan Society. Secondly, there was no confidential information on my desk. And Thirdly, anyone using the word Attestation in this context deserves a bit of ridicule.
Therefore, I scrapped together a bit of genuine confidential information, scribbled it down on my notepad, and left it on my desk. I’m interested to see whether I get rapped over the knuckles again for this. I certainly hope I do…