Steps to Remain Secure & Compliant in a Hybrid Work World

Following months of remote work, the future for many organisations looks hybrid: a mix of office and home-based working. Recent research by Microsoft, spanning 30,000 employees around the world, found that 70% of workers want flexible working options to continue and 66% of decision-makers are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work. [1]

Despite the benefits of this flexible model of working, free movement between home and office and lax security in home offices can pose significant information security risks. 

survey commissioned by Shred-it shows that although nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) home workers said they deal with confidential papers, as many as one in four (24 per cent) revealed they do not always follow their workplace policy on destroying confidential information when working from home. [2]

The survey also showed confusion over who is mainly responsible for destroying and recycling paper and hard drives when working remotely. Of the 1,000 home workers polled, 43 per cent said it was their employer’s responsibility and 45 per cent said it was theirs.

In response, employers must continue to equip hybrid working teams with regularly updates, education and protection against physical and online data threats.  The kind of threats that can have on a large impact on a business’ reputation and profits.

It’s time to shred unwanted hybrid-habits and introduce more secure ways of working. 

We’re here to help! Read on to discover some simple steps for the work-at-home-as-well-as-in-the-office crew can take to help data stay secure and your business compliant while working in a more flexible hybrid world.

1. Home to Office

Before commuting to the office, check that your devices and physical documents are secure. Laptops, USBs or the report you printed out for a meeting are easily left on the train or become a target for criminals if left in the car. Being mindful of everything in your possession can help to keep them out of the clutches of data thieves, who are always on the prowl for their next data goldmine opportunity.

2. In the Office

For many people, being back in the office is a chance to catch up with colleagues and enjoy greater collaboration. For opportunists, it’s the chance to steal any sensitive information left lying about in plain sight. Don’t fall back into old habits and be sure to secure any documents and removable devices every time you leave your desk.

3. Follow a Clean Desk Policy

Regardless of whether you’re making the commute from office to home, or from the kitchen to the living room, getting back into the habit of following a clean desk policy can greatly help to ensure compliance and protection of confidential information. Securely dispose of post it notes, make sure removable media or notebooks are locked away and double-check your desk is clear at the end of every day.

4. Cybersecurity Education and Awareness

Since COVID-19, bad actors have continued their criminal cyberattacks and that’s only set to continue as employees flex between office and home environments. Being able to identify suspicious emails, use secure passwords and mitigate any risks can be a giant step to shoring up your defences against online threats.

5. Shred-it All Policy

Introduce a Shred-it all Policy to securely destroy all documents that are no longer needed, safe in the knowledge that all documents are securely shredded and recycled. This removes the need for employees to decide what is or isn’t confidential and decreases the risk of human error – over 40% of data breaches occur as a result of employee negligence. [3]

6. Book a One-Time Shred Service

After a long-time working from home, there’s every chance that old documents have piled up and will need to get destroyed. Likewise, as hybrid-workers go back into the office, there may be an influx of documents that will start filling-up your secure shred containers. Book a one-time shred service to free up office space and to lessen the data breach risks that come with.

7. Be green! Save Co2!

Shred and recycle – much-needed workplace green initiatives including paper recycling, may be at risk and not fully realised when people are working from home. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) of people in the Shred survey said they don’t recycle shredded work documents when at home and/or just put documents in the bin. 

By encouraging the safe passage of paper from home back to office or organising home pick-ups, you can help make sure that documents are securely shredded and recycled – saving you unwanted risk while safeguarding our planet and your own CO2 emissions.

Get Ready for a Hybrid World of Work with Shred-it

Sector-based compliance and GDPR means there’s a wealth of information that is processed and stored on a daily basis. There’s never been a better time to think about  secure data protection.

By embedding the above advice into your organisations way of working, you’ll be well on your way to helping employees remain secure and compliant in a hybrid world of work. Get in touch today to see how our services can help support your business to stay protected, regardless of where your employees are working.

And for all your document and hard-drive destruction needs, Shred-it is a click or phone call away.  to protect your people, customers and business and give you peace of mind, so you can focus on the day-to-day running and success of your organisation.


[1] - Microsoft

[2] - Shred-it Survey 2022 UK

[3] - Tech Republic