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There are a number of reasons why an organization may want to create a records retention policy. Some records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, HIPAA, or policies related to Sarbanes-Oxley. Beyond legal requirements, an organization may just want an efficient way to archive project records, communications, and other data.

Although records retention is not specifically a telework issue, records management becomes more problematic when data are being generated and stored in individual's homes. If the organization has a records retention policy, it should be amended to address telework. If the organization plans to create a policy or incorporate some records retention guidelines in a telework policy, here are a few points to consider:

  • Identify a records steward and departmental contacts.
  • Evaluate the business need for records.
  • Determine if any government or industry regulations or requirements apply.
  • Identify the types and sources of records, whether electronic or hard copy that need to be retained.
  • Define the retention or destruction period for different classes of records.
  • Establish the infrastructure and procedures required to support records retention.
  • Determine if additional storage be required to support records retention.
  • Develop a records retention policy, along with a communication and enforcement plan.
  • Ensure the records retrieval system is practical.
  • Consider both the up front and on-going costs of a records retention policy.
  • Ensure that teleworkers understand that all aspects of your records retention policy apply to their work-related data and records, even if located on their personal home computer.

Records management is discussed on the Workplace & Legal Issues page.

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This page was last updated on May 23, 2009