Although the work from home (WFH) trend has steadily increased over the past decade, the pandemic has sent it into overdrive, with wide-reaching business implications. One particular area that’s evolved relates to the volume of work-related papers printed in home offices. According to a recent Shred-It survey
, 75% of employees print work-related documents while working from home. With the rapid growth in remote work, it stands to reason that the volume of paper being generated outside the office is on the rise.
Work-related documents often contain confidential information. And because of this, the typical methods for disposal—throwing papers in the trash or recycling bin—are not appropriate. Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of people who print work-related documents at home use one of these two methods for disposal.
What Are the Risks of Improper Paper Document Disposal?
When employees do not throw paper-based information away correctly, it increases the chances that sensitive data like social security numbers and credit card information can be stolen and used for nefarious purposes. Improper disposal can also lead to compliance violations that result in expensive penalties.
Despite its importance, many companies don’t address WFH document disposal in their information security policies or staff training. For example, 45% of small business owners don’t have a policy for how to properly store and dispose of confidential information when employees work offsite. And even if they do have a policy, only four out of ten believe their employees strictly follow it. The statistics are similar for training. Nearly one-quarter of C-suite leaders and more than 50% of small business owners don’t offer regular training on information security policies or procedures.
Are There Home Shredding Services Available?
There are a number of options available for people looking to securely dispose of paper documents to maintain information security of their business and personal information.
- One-time pick-up services. Work with a company that can come to you and pick up your bags and boxes of confidential material, guaranteeing its security once it leaves your home. After documents are fully shredded at a secure shredding facility, ensure you receive a Certificate of Destruction that verifies the documents were properly handled and destroyed. Not only can you use this service to dispose of sensitive work materials, but also any personal papers, such as old tax returns, credit card receipts, legal documents, and more.
- Drop-off services. You may also choose to drop off your confidential documents at a location close to you. This option is ideal for paper volumes that aren’t quite large enough for a one-time or regular shredding service.
- Community shredding events. Participate in or host a shredding event to bring awareness to identity theft and fraud and to provide a secure paper shredding option for local residents. Shred-it holds many shredding community events throughout the year all across North America.
If you opt to work with a shredding company, check that it offers a secure chain of custody that documents waste handling from the moment paper leaves your home office until it is completely destroyed in the facility.
How Can You Be Sure You Are Disposing Documents Appropriately?
You should brush up on your company’s secure information policies to find out how you should handle confidential document disposal while working offsite. There are many options available, such as taking them back to the office for shredding, arranging for residential paper shredding, or dropping them off at a nearby paper shredding company. If you choose to take papers back to the office, make sure you store them in a secure, locked location, such as a drawer or cabinet, until you are ready to go back onsite.
To ensure you fully dispose of confidential material, you may want to follow a Shred-it all policy—where you shred every paper document you generate during the workday regardless of whether it contains sensitive information or not. This way you don’t have to determine what needs to be shredded. You can handle all paper the same way. Not only does this make paper disposal more efficient, but it also reduces the chances a confidential document will be overlooked and thrown away incorrectly.
Learn more about how Shred-it can help you safely and securely dispose
of business and personal documents.