Shredding and the Gig Economy: Data Security for Freelancers and Contractors

Freelance worker is looking closely at the screen of a laptop while sitting in a work-from-home space.When I hear the word “gig,” I instantly think of a musician and band, grabbing performance engagements as they come along, no matter the location or time. In today’s work culture, the term represents a wide range of temporary work, including:

  • Freelancers
  • Independent contractors
  • Project-based workers
  • Temporary hires

Gig workers can be writers, ride-share drivers, photographers, accountants, realtors, handypersons, programmers, tutors, artists, or dog walkers.

Benefits of the Gig Industry

The gig economy has flourished in recent years for several reasons, including:

  • Many jobs can be done remotely.
  • Customers can find the best gig worker from around the globe.
  • Businesses can contract gig workers, avoiding the costs of benefits, office space, and training.
  • Convenience and better service.

Challenges for Gig Workers

During the Covid pandemic, businesses that survived often had office employees working remotely from their homes, communicating electronically via email, text, instant messaging, and video conferencing. There are several challenges common to both remote employees and gig workers. While remote workers transitioned from a protected office environment, where digital information on computers and sensitive paper documents were secure and disposed of following strict protocols, gig workers often face these issues without employer-provided protection or policy, despite being liable in the same way. Challenges include:

  • Staying current with state and federal privacy laws.
  • Protecting the handling of all paper documents containing personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Securing information while in transit or on a job site.

Solutions for the Gig Economy

No matter your profession, if you collect, store, use, or share personally identifiable information (PII) like names, addresses, and other identifying information of staff and clients, you are legally obligated to track, protect, and ultimately destroy that information when it’s no longer needed. Gig workers might not always feel equipped or see this as a priority, but they can still be held liable for any breach or theft of information. Here are some valuable insights to help gig workers manage this responsibility effectively:

Partner with a Shredding Company

One of the best features of a professional shredding company is their ability to serve not only large organizations with significant amounts of paper needing shredding but also smaller clients like gig workers and home offices. They offer one-time and drop-off shredding services to fit your schedule and needs. Shredding companies are knowledgeable about privacy laws, retention periods, and information security, ensuring you don’t have to navigate these alone. Their shredders meet the required destruction standards to comply with all laws.

Destroy Everything

As an independent gig worker, you likely don’t have time to meticulously sort through all the papers you encounter to determine what should be shredded and what can be recycled. Adopt a shred-all policy, sending all discarded paper to the shredding company. This way, you won’t risk missing any critical information. Since reputable shredding companies also recycle 100% of your shredded material, you’ll ensure it all goes to recycling and stays out of landfills. Additionally, shredding companies can destroy your hard drives and electronic devices, which should never be disposed of casually, as they may contain sensitive information. Instead of tossing old cell phones, laptops, USB drives, and other electronic storage devices, take them to your shredding partner to ensure they are shredded beyond recovery and recycled properly.

Richards & Richards offers drop-off shredding as well as home shredding services that fit seamlessly with your gig business. Our seal ‘n shred bags are 100% biodegradable and can securely contain your confidential documents for complete shredding. Let us help you stay compliant and secure by calling us at 615-242-9600 or completing the form on this page.


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