Clear desk policy - thoughts?

(Dermot Jones) #1

Following on from the Great Spring Clean of the last four days (!) the directors would like to float the idea of a Makerspace-wide clear desk policy to keep the Space useable long-term

This would mean that all work surfaces would be clear of everything except the rare piece of heavy fixed equipment. All consumables and tools would be stored elsewhere, leaving workspaces ready to work on, with zero objects attracting the general accumulation we’ve come to know

For example: in the electronics area soldering irons would be stored on the shelves above the benches and taken down when in use

And of course all members’ projects would need to be completely cleared at the end of a session

@members please share your thoughts and ideas

@techs let us know how it could work in your areas, or if there are barriers

We’d have to be vigilant on this, and have clear expectations: go home and leave your work on a surface, expect it to be gone tomorrow? Can there be exceptions? What might they be?

Many of us will have experience of systems like this from other organisations – let us know what really works

(Andrea Campanella) #2

I would love that.


The only problems could rise from where to store what’s already on the benches

(Andy Sanderson) #3

Yes please! And we need to enforce the PCs not being left out forever on the main table, speaking of which, the windows PC appears to have no home…

(Dean Forbes) #4

100 percent behind this

I would also like to see a one project at a time policy also introduced please …

(electrotech) #5

There should be some kind of punishment for failure to comply. Leaving stuff to be discarded by others is the current mode of operation, therefore nothing will change.

Clear desk policy is a must. I reckon.

With electronics area I find myself repeatedly turning off soldering stations and power supplies. Similarly with the Sandwich maker and hob in the kitchen. I have lost count of how many times I’ve turned them off. I’m convinced someone will manage to burn the place down.
I suppose that’ll solve the desk issue.

(Dermot Jones) #7

We did wonder whether to just get some laptops…

@StudioNelle suggested the could slot under the main table, and be attached if we wanted to keep them static

(Pete Hellyer) #8

Some places I have worked have taken this to the extreme of ‘it is legit for the office cleaners to throw anything on your desk in the bin’

I’m not suggesting we do that here, but if you arrive to a workspace and there is clutter on it, it is 100% legit to decamp it to the 3 week bin.


(Dean Forbes) #9

it depends on the setting personally, I would bin it - if you dont value your stuff why should some one else

But this view collapses when it is not your stuff

As in most of what is left lying around belongs to the space and the techs get lumbered with sorting and repacking

so a clear desk is a good start but not the whole answer - we need behavioural change and for the space to be respected

This thread is “clear desk policy” I have digressed but it is really about the same thing - a safe pleasant clean functioning environment to create in

(Chanelle) #10

If it was possible to relocate the format printer and or the vinyl cutter it could sit on a desk in that space?

(Calum Nicoll) #11

I am in favour of this.

However, I think each area would need storage to put left out tools in. As well as storage for disposed of projects/left kit.

To actually be used - I think that the storage should be in each area and very prominently marked. This will allow anyone using the area to put tools in the relevant box if they don’t know where the permenant storage for said tool is.

Otherwise we’re just going to end up with the current 3 week boxes full of useful tools from everywhere and everything is going to get covered in oil/shavings/sawdust etc.

Keeping the cleared tools in their area will also make it easier to sort and reduce the effort required to tidy.

I also think that projects that are unmarked/invalid storage requests should be free to hack - this will help people learn very quickly if there’s a genuine risk of loss of your item.

(Dermot Jones) #12

The ‘I don’t know where it goes’ box that @CriticalTolerance has championed for a while

And yes, there a few things that radiate from this

(Martin John Finch) #13

How about a trial period? Say one month. At the end, online vote to retain/abandon/extend trial period.

(EdwardBilson) #14


In the woodshop I would say this extends to:

  • Both benches
  • Tablesaw surface
  • Pillar drill table
  • Router and shaper tables
  • Chop saw bench
  • Bandsaw

Clear surfaces are particularly important in the workshop due to the hazard of stuff falling on you while operating an adjacent machine.

(EdwardBilson) #15

With the caveat that glued, cast or painted projects which are properly labelled with a notice get an exception, obviously.

(Dale Connolly) #16

In favour. Leave stuff laying around without a note attached to it explaining why, expect it to not be there when you return. Sounds fair. Can’t expect others to clear up after you.

(Dermot Jones) #17

It’d have to be a very good note…

(Petra) #18

Can we keep up the 3week bin?
I’d volunteer in keeping an eye on it, perhaps every two weeks peek into it and if it contains something of a value post a photo on discourse and if no takers within a week then binning it?

(Dermot Jones) #19

Yes please… it’s three bins, we talked about a two week rotation initially

(Petra) #20


(Dale Connolly) #21

Was thinking more along the lines of the old ‘drying’ notes we had for glued items in the woodshop. I always leave my name, number and what time the clamps can be removed. Courtesy 101.