With COVID-19 vaccine administration efforts accelerating, businesses are evaluating and preparing to adapt office environments in preparation to welcome employees back. Although exciting, the long-awaited shift involves some logistics, especially with regards to document security. For example, as people transition away from their home offices, they’ll want to know what to do with the files and papers they’ve generated over the past year. Similarly, they will want to know how to address the documents they left at their desks when they rapidly switched to work from home last March—because many of these papers may no longer be needed.
Before employees return to the office en masse, it is a good idea to think through how to properly clean up and dispose of unnecessary or outdated documents, whether in home offices or the workplace. Here are a few strategies to consider as you prepare for the next new normal.
Review Document Retention and Disposal Policies
The shift back from remote to onsite work presents an ideal opportunity to review your company’s information security policies around printed documents and talk with staff about those policies. Key questions to address include:
- What documents should employees keep?
- How long should they keep them?
- How should staff store items that should be retained?
- How should they dispose of papers they no longer need?
- What if people split their work time between home and office? What are the guidelines for bringing documents back-and-forth between settings?
If your company does not have policies that cover this information, now is the time to create them.
Discuss Appropriate Disposal Methods with Staff
Conversations with employees should specifically cover what to do with old papers and notes, especially if those documents include information that must remain private and secure. When confidential items are not disposed of correctly, it increases the chances that sensitive data like social security numbers, credit card information, and proprietary company data will be stolen and used for nefarious purposes. Improper disposal can also lead to compliance violations that result in expensive penalties, legal issues, and/or damage to reputation and credibility.
The safest strategy for disposing of unwanted paper is to shred it since that will mitigate the risk of critical information falling into the wrong hands. Although employees can sort paper so they only shred confidential documents and throw the rest in the recycle bin, this approach can introduce risk if they inadvertently categorize things incorrectly. To avoid this, you may want to suggest a Shred-it all policy
, where you encourage staff to shred all unnecessary papers, regardless of the information contained in them. Not only does this make disposal more efficient, but it also reduces the chances an employee will overlook a confidential document and throw it away incorrectly. Once shredded, paper can be safely recycled, allowing you to preserve information security while limiting your company’s environmental footprint.
Schedule a Document Purge
To ensure your employees clear unwanted papers out of home offices and traditional workspaces, your company may want to consider scheduling document purges
. These involve partnering with a company like Shred-It, which would send licensed personnel to your office and/or employees’ homes at defined times to pick up documents and take them back to a licensed facility for shredding and destruction. We guarantee a secure chain of custody throughout the process and will supply a certificate of destruction after papers are fully shredded. This verifies the material was properly handled and destroyed, giving you peace of mind that your confidential information remains secure. Depending on the urgency in which you’d like to have spaces cleaned out, you can arrange for an express or priority service, where shreds are completed in either two or five days. You can also set up recurring pickups to help keep paper waste under control as staff increase their onsite presence.
Learn more about how Shred-it can help you
get ready to welcome staff back to the office, or request a quote
to take the first step towards securing your paper documents.