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With the advent of COVID-19, the trend for remote employee working exploded. Businesses and staffers began to develop new methods of working using new remote technologies. To keep a company prosperous, employees set up home offices and IT Departments began offering remote access to networks. While normally these steps might have been slower in the past, the pandemic stepped up the changes so that employees now found themselves to be caretakers of often personal and proprietary company information. Where shredding was once typically focused on a business’s main location, companies now had to worry about multiple locations and ways to get this information efficiently shredded for the protection of the company and clients.
Employees working from home have access to a number of documents that may need to be organized and retained. Unlike a business office, where there are specific locations such as filing cabinets for maintaining organization, a home office often has limited space. Even when an employee creates storage for the documents, the volume may be so large that it becomes an impossible task to keep the documents and perform their work.
Another challenge for remote staffers is in the ability to easily access the documents that they need to accomplish their daily tasks. Without the time to file them or the organization to locate them, documents often become lost in a pile, creating frustration and inefficiency.
Remote workers are additionally required to have company network access which means that they may be printing out proprietary company data as a reference or as needed. This information would normally be shredded or destroyed at the company site but in the case of a home office, the documents are left as the responsibility of the employee.
Businesses are now relying on their employees to be as organized as they have been within the company workplace. Since staffers don’t have all of the benefits of the workplace environment a company will need to create some form of standardization for all of the documents and paperwork that an employee will have at their remote office.
Certain original documents are required by state or federal law to be retained in a secure location. An example of this type of document are the medical records of a patient which are governed by HIPAA Laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Copies of this information must be destroyed so that there isn’t any breach of data.
Companies can create a standard of action and follow through based on document type and legal requirements for document. Working with management, a guideline can be crafted to assist employees in maintaining organization to access documents that are regularly used, create a filing system for those documents that need to be accessed, and establish an area to keep documents that are required to be destroyed. The methods used will depend upon the type of business that is being conducted and the documents that will be available to the staffer.
Not all documents are the same and there are a few ways that an employee can maintain an organized home office while not getting overloaded in paperwork.
If the employee doesn’t have an all-in-one printer that includes a scanning ability, the company can supply the staffer with this device. Some documents can then be scanned into a digital format for access or transmission and the original document can be destroyed; reducing the volume of paperwork. This method is perfect for the docs that might be a single use or can be accessed via computer, but is not the best use for all documents.
Digital storage is now acceptable for compliance with many of the state and federal laws, but once scanned, the employee is left with documents that are required to be destroyed. Due to compliancy laws a company must supply proof that all documents that hold personal or private information are destroyed. To protect both the company and the employee, a business will need to coordinate a strategy for document shredding. It’s not a good idea to rely on an employee to shred documents using a home shredder as there is no guarantee that they are using the correct type of shredder and it doesn’t offer proof of compliance.
Shredding types are categorized by “security level,” and the smaller the pieces that are shredded, the higher the level of security. One may question why this information is important but the reality is that some shredders may allow perpetrators to use the pieces to reconstruct a proprietary document. The lowest level of shredders are listed as “P-2 and P-3” and are basically for documents that don’t contain any personal or proprietary information. Shredding listed in the “P-4” category are used for any document that does have personal or proprietary information, and a “P-5” shredder is a Micro cut that shreds to very tiny of pieces. A “P-7” shredder is the most commonly used for government top secret documents.
Just as many companies have been forced to use their imagination and ingenuity for their remote office workers for the success of their business, they are now being required to not only “think outside of the box,” but to get rid of the box entirely. Most companies may have been accustomed to having a professional shredding truck show up at their main location and shred the documents that they had prepared in-house. While there might be some employees still at the main location, the volume of documents are now spread out among all of the remote employees.
Coordinating with your professional shredding company is the best option to ensure all documents, no matter where their location, are successfully shredded. The better professional shredding companies have made a number of changes in how they are doing business and are now offering various options that can help maintain the integrity of a company.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many are concerned regarding contact with anyone or any company that they are unfamiliar with. A good professional shredding company will have drivers and staff that comply with personal protection equipment such as gloves and masks, as well as have them checked for COVID-19.
There should be no physical contact with either the drivers or those collecting the containers as they will pick up the containers.
A professional shredding company will maintain a list of all of the locations involved in document pickups, and the date(s) and time(s) of the pickups. This information should be included as part of the certificate of shredding that they will supply to the business and is the formal proof that the company has complied with document destruction requirements involved in state, federal, or legal situations.
A certificate of shredding needs to include:
The price of document shredding depends upon the type of shredding that you are choosing to use. Flat rate can appear to be the most cost-effective but in the long run, when your remote staff has only small volumes of documents to be shredded, it may not be the best option.
The ship and shred choice can be the least costly, but you do need to talk to your professional shredding company to make sure that all remote employees are included in their scheduled driving areas. There may be additional costs if the company is required to drive outside of their standard area.
Remote shredding offers the best pricing options because they will pick up the containers and shred them at their site. The time savings is passed along to the customer.
Some companies will sign a contract with a business but have an arrangement with an outside company to do the actual shredding. This adds another level for any compliance issues as there are now two organizations involved in the shredding process, requiring additional certificate proof. It also allows for the potential of an unknown entity to have access to documents that are personal and proprietary.
The best document shredding companies will own their own shredding locations. A business can be assured that the documents that are picked up will go directly to a shredding facility, be handled by shredding company employees, and will not involve any other individuals or companies.
Parent page – Secure Document Destruction
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