Part 5 – Your Working Environment

While working in the office, or remotely/from home, employees should remember that the documents and other information they create and use in their work are institutional records. ​

​You must still follow the institution’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Policy and its supporting Procedures[1] as you create, use, store and manage institutional records at home. This applies to all institutional records including those containing personal information.​

More about records and working from home

If you won the lottery…​

  • What records and information would your replacement and your colleagues need to continue your work? ​
    • Would they be able to access your files and information?​
    • Would they be able to find your files and information? ​
  • Best Practice: keep institutional records in an appropriate shared repository​
    • When convenient (Monthly? Weekly?), systematically transfer Records to a shared storage location​


  • You get emails to institutional email that have important information in them.
  • If you won the lottery, your team wouldn’t know what is in these emails, or even that these emails existed. ​


Once a week, transfer these emails to (for example) a team SharePoint site, and file them in a way that makes it easy to find them. ​

  • Name the file something that indicates what the email is about​
  • Be sure to store attachments separately​

*Alternative idea: transfer important emails to a shared email account, and make folders in Outlook to sort emails​.


You create or receive files (pdfs, word docs, presentations, or anything else) that need to be kept. These are stored on your computer, then uploaded to OneDrive. Your team doesn’t have access to your OneDrive, or even know that the files are there.


Set up a regular schedule to transfer your files to shared storage such as Shared drive, or SharePoint. Some departments might have a system that has document storage, or a different shared storage location that is appropriate.

  • Name the file something that clearly indicates what the file is about
  • Include dates at the end of the file so the latest version can be found easily
    • Use the format YYYY MM DD (i.e. 2022 12 08) so that all files with the same name fall chronologically
  • Have a folder structure that will make it easy for someone else to find the right file.

Key Points

Minimize the amount of paper records you create to save having to dispose of them while working from home or remotely. Even hand-written notes concerning your work, or preliminary versions of documents which you might normally print for proof-reading, are confidential institutional records requiring secure storage and secure destruction when you no longer need them.​

  • Don’t leave devices unattended in public places
  • Don’t use public computers to access Personal Information
  • Personal information stored on mobile devices must be encrypted
  • Have reasonable measures in place to preserve records
  • Find a quiet & secure location to limit unintended access to PI (e.g., close door, wear earbuds)​​
  • Use your work email account for work related emails

Learn More

Institutions may have policies detailing:

  • Access to Information and Privacy
  • Records Management

IPC: Data protection while working from home


Click here for the next module: Part 6 – Freedom of Information Requests


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To the extent possible under law, Marion Hansen, Manager, Privacy & Records Management, Brock University have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy, except where otherwise noted.

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