Making More Space In The Office? 5 Tips On Document Shredding & What To Shred

document shredding

Are you at the point where you need a gymnastics coach to make it from one end of your office to the other? Maybe you just don’t know when you should be shredding all of those documents that have been sitting around forever?

Unfortunately, this situation has landed you in a pickle. You’ve got limited office space and a growing pile of old, dust gathering paperwork.

When it comes to document shredding, how do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

5 Tips on Document Shredding

Federal and State laws dictate how long you must keep certain documents. To better protect yourself and stay compliant with the law, stick to these guidelines of practicing the right way to managing your records.

1. Employee

If you didn’t hire the someone, keeping their pre-employment information on file for one year is standard practice.

Having a personnel file for standard employee information is a good idea and this file should be kept separate from any legal or HR related files on said worker.

Once an employee has quit or been terminated, keep the files for at least three years. This length of time can vary according to state law, so make sure you check with the proper agency.

2. Benefits

All benefit plan records must be kept and maintained for at least six years. This number varies according to law. Keep general benefits information separate from any claims or medical record you may need to keep on file.

3. Banking

It’s a good plan to keep this information indefinitely. Contract, tax, and profit/loss information can be great reference tools for the future. Anything that a shareholder, accountant, or IRS auditor may need to look at it should have a permanent, secure home in your facility.

In some cases, you are required to keep anything that is confidential or sensitive.

Bank account and credit card statements should be kept for 7 years.

4. Junk

Any junk mail can usually be shredded immediately including notes made on post-its and scrap pieces of paper. Throwing them away dramatically increases the potential for a breach. Especially if we’re talking about passwords or safe combinations.

5. Clerical

Anything like purchase orders and receiving sheets should be kept on file for a year. This may seem like way longer than necessary, but you never know when the day comes where you’ll have to back track through six month’s worth of purchasing orders to find a $5,000 mistake.

The Takeaway

You owe it to your clients and employees to keep their information safe and secure. Failure to do so has some steep, legal consequences. To keep your business up and running and maintaining a secure environment for your sensitive documents, know when to shred and when to keep forever.

Check with state offices to see how your individual state handles document shredding, as it often differs from federal guidelines.