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Home-Workers Could be Breaching GDPR Rules When Printing Work Docs

David Paul



Almost two-thirds of those working from home say they have printed documents containing sensitive business information. 

Staff at businesses across Britain could risk breaching GDPR guidelines when printing office documents at home.

New research by document shredding firm Go Shred has found that 66% have printed work-related documents since lockdown began, averaging at five documents every week.

Go Shred surveyed 1,001 adults currently home working and found that a fifth (20%) have printed confidential employee data including payroll, addresses, medical information.

Workers (13%) also printed personal documents such as CVs or application forms. The most common types of document printed were meeting notes (42%), followed by internal documents including procedure manuals (32%).

The cause appears to be a lack of knowledge of how to dispose of such documents correctly. To comply with the GDPR, all companies that store or process data on EU citizens within EU states must have a system in place to dispose of such information.

However, workers at home do not have the same level of document security and disposal that they would in the office. Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) admitted that printed documents have not yet been disposed of and a further 24% disposed of the documents in their own waste.


Commenting on the collected data, Go Shred managing director Mike Cluskey said: “Printing any documentation which includes personal information about employees or potential employees is a high-risk activity as should this information get into the wrong hands, it could be used to impersonate someone.

“It’s quite shocking to see that so many home workers are printing items such as payroll and personal information like addresses. This indicates that there is definitely work to be done when it comes to highlighting the risks of printing documents at home.

“Even internal documents such as meeting notes and agendas can be risky, so extra precautions should be taken in order to dispose of these properly.”

Despite the high number of homeworkers disposing of important documents incorrectly, 41% say they are “aware of the GDPR rules and regulations” around printing confidential documents related to work outside the workplace but are “left with no choice” but to print at home.

However, 12% of those polled admit they have no knowledge of GDPR regulations, with 9% saying their employer has not reinforced rules around GDPR and sensitive information while they’ve been working from home.

Cluskey continued: “It’s vital that business leaders review their current processes and educate their staff on the current guidelines, as working from home demands a different security standard than being in the office, especially with data security and disposing of confidential information.”

Covid-19 has forced people around the world to change the way they interact with data, and many find it difficult to understand or follow GDPR compliance rules.

In May last year, A grandmother was told to take down images from Facebook and Pinterest after posting without parental consent.

The woman’s daughter said that she did not give consent for the images to be posted. A court in the Netherlands ruled that the case fell under the European GDPR laws after the woman refused to take down the images.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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