Creating a Document Disposal Policy
As organizations slim down in the post-pandemic era, legacy document retention and retrieval policies need to be reviewed and reinvented to conform to new workplace realities. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to reduce the need to store papers. A sensible policy should govern how an organization’s records and documents are managed.
Create a document retention policy
A document retention policy (DRP) or records maintenance policy establishes and documents how an organization manages company information from creation to destruction. It can be incorporated into a company manual or exist as a stand-alone policy document.
A DRP promotes efficiency. Destruction of unneeded documents frees up valuable space. It makes it easier to quickly locate important documents when you need them. And an unambiguous procedure reduces time spent handling and retrieving documents.
It also enables legal and regulatory compliance and may provide some litigation protection.
Decide what records need to be kept
Some paperwork needs to be stored. Paper record storage provides continuity in the event of a disaster. It meets statutory and regulatory requirements, including archival, audit and oversight activities. It provides protection and support in litigation.
What does your organization do that requires documentation? What types of records does your organization create? Which records are mission-critical? What records are part of your work process?
Determine compliance requirements.
What records do regulatory bodies that have oversight over your organization require? Examples might include equipment purchase documentation, permit files, project files or reports. Labor laws may require time cards, HR actions and personnel files.
Review each type of record and think about why it is created and maintained.
Open a file drawer or banker’s box. Unfold a file and look at a document. Is it required by federal or state statute, municipal code or federal regulation? Or is it needed for financial audits, program administration, management reporting or organizational policy or procedures?
Mark document boxes with a destroy date.
Determine if a record needs to be saved for one year, two years, five years or seven years—or kept permanently. Mark the destruction date clearly on the box, and sort by destroy date for easier management.
Purge paper documents that are no longer required.
Box up the papers you no longer need, or drop them in a locked storage container. Locking storage containers on-site can be picked up at regular intervals for secure shredding.
Let OmniShred help you reduce unneeded paper, easily and inexpensively.
OmniShred, located in San Jose and close to work centers in Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Santa Clara and Mountain View, can help you reduce your paper storage footprint with a regular shredding program or a one-time purge.