July 21, 2022

Storing Up Trouble: New study Highlights Data Security Concerns Over Brits Working From Home

  • One in four (24 per cent) UK workers questioned said they don’t always follow workplace policies on destroying confidential information when working from home
  • Only one in three (34 per cent) UK workers questioned said they shred and recycle paper they use when working outside their office
  • Shred-it calls for greater awareness about the security risks associated with hybrid working practices


MANCHESTER, UK. – 21 July, 2022:  Work-from-home Brits could be risking commercial secrets and data breaches due to lax security in their home offices, new research has shown.

The survey, which was commissioned by Shred-it UK shows that while millions of people continue to embrace hybrid working, privacy and security measures have not kept pace.  Nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) respondents said they deal with confidential papers – but 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.

Risks of confidential or sensitive personal information leaking out also increased as four in 10 Brits said they shared a workspace with others – with half of those questioned saying that others in the house could access or see the confidential information.

Toby Black, Shred-it’s UK Senior Vice President, said: “Many workers are seeing the benefits that hybrid working can offer, but the survey results are concerning because they show confidential business data could be at a greater risk. They also suggest that workplace green initiatives including paper recycling, may not be fully realised when people are working from home.”

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

One in three (34 per cent) of those surveyed said they shred and recycle the paper, notebooks and printouts they use when working outside their office; and nearly one in five (18 per cent) don’t recycle shredded work documents when at home and/or just put documents in the bin. Other respondents admitted that they don’t have time or think it’s important to shred confidential documents.

Toby continued: “The shift in working practices has been unprecedented. Greater awareness of the security risks associated with a data breach and the impact it can have on a business’ reputation and profits can help businesses mitigate the risk of confidential information getting into the wrong hands”

Although the number of people working exclusively from home is decreasing, the proportion of workers utilising a hybrid work model is increasing, according to Office for National Statistics data. One in seven people (15 percent) worked exclusively from home, while nearly a quarter of working adults (23 per cent) worked from home and their office.[i]


About Shred-it: Shred-it is a Stericycle solution that helps organisations maintain the security and integrity of private and confidential information through document shredding and recycling, hard drive destruction and workplace privacy policies. As one of the largest document destruction providers in the world, Shred-it is working to shape a healthier and safer world for everyone, everywhere, every day with safe, responsible, and sustainable services and products.  For more information, please visit: www.shredit.co.uk

About the survey: The research for Shred-it was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 20 May, 2022 and 30 May, 2022 amongst a panel resulting 1,006 British employees who are office workers and regularly work remotely. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).

For media enquiries, please contact:

UK media team - pressoffice@stericycle.com


[i] Office of National Statistics, 17 June, 2022. Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights: Lifestyle. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19latestinsights/lifestyle#home-and-hybrid-working. Last accessed 20 June, 2022