Piles of Paper: Shredding Options For Employees Who Work From Home
In the spring of 2020 many workplaces and employees had to make fast pivots to deal with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kitchen tables and spare bedrooms became home offices and remote classrooms.
Employee commutes were drastically reduced down to the time it takes to walk from the kitchen after breakfast to their makeshift workspaces.
Many people have found they enjoy the freedom and extra time this has given them, to spend time with family, work on hobbies, or simply just not having to sit in traffic or on transit every day.
As the pandemic starts to wind down, many employees and employers are taking a critical look at where and how we work.
Managers are realizing their staff can be just as productive from a home office, and they don’t need to always be present in the office to be productive.
Companies are offering more flexibility, continuing to allow work from home arrangements or hybrid models for those who prefer it in order to retain staff.
However as the landscape of work has changed, employers continue to have a responsibility to ensure privacy of data from clients and patients, even when employees are working at home.
It’s been nearly two years since many employees shifted to working from home as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have accumulations of records which need to be disposed of properly.
Do you have a plan in place to manage shredding services for employees who have been, and continue to work remotely?
We know it is a common privacy breach to have confidential information discarded in the garbage or recycling bin and subsequently disclosed to unauthorized persons.
Many offices may have overlooked this in the rush to have employees work from home at the start of the pandemic, when many of us thought this would just be a temporary measure, maybe a few weeks and then back in the office.
However, this has gone on much longer than anyone could have anticipated, and now there is a workforce with papers piling up at home, many of will continue to work remotely going forward.
Now is a good time to review previous procedure decisions and tweak them as necessary.
Spring might be a good time for a little house (or home office) cleaning.
Prevent Paper Privacy Breaches
The ultimate goal is to prevent privacy breaches from paperwork being disposed of improperly.
With this in mind, there are a few options to consider:
- Having employees return the confidential paper to their place of employment for secure shredding. This could be difficult for those who normally commute by public transit or simply don't want the hassle to carry boxes of paper to the office.
- Arranging for a shredding company to do a home office pick-up. This could be done through a courier service or arranged with your current shredding company. Both would likely already be covered by existing contracts and security precautions – but check this for surety.
- The employee arranges to have a shredding service pick up at their home office. The employee pays for the service and either bills back to the employer for expenses or, perhaps, include in their home office expenses at tax time for a tax credit. In this case you may want to vet shredding companies in your area first and make suggestions as to which ones are approved for this purpose.
Arranging remote shredding services for your work from home employees means happier employees (as they no longer have to worry about papers piling up), and more peace of mind for clients as well.
Choose Convenience And Security
The cost of having a secure shredding service attending the home office is far more likely to be managed securely and completed.
Some things to look for when choosing a shredding company include:
- Do they have an understanding of compliance requirements for shredding personal health information?
- What training do their staff have?
- Are their staff subject to background checks?
- Mobility – Will they come directly to you?
- What prep work do they require of you (for instance do you need to remove all of the staples from your files before shredding)
- Do they have a reputation for arriving on schedule? (check reviews)
- Can they shred documents on site, rather than taking them to a secondary location?
- How do they handle the waste from shredding, will it be responsibly recycled?
- Transparent pricing with no surprises
- Do they offer a certificate of destruction?
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