UK workers say menial tasks override GDPR compliance in their office

UK workers say menial tasks override GDPR compliance in their officeThe majority (86 percent) of UK office workers claim they are more likely to be told off for forgetting to do menial tasks, like emptying or loading the dishwater and keeping their workplace tidy, than complying with GDPR policies, according to a new poll which assessed whether GDPR is being taken seriously by UK office workers since its introduction in May of this year. The study from Fellowes found that only 14 percent of workers have been given a ticking off about careless handling of confidential data, while 25 percent claim office chores, like emptying or filling the dishwasher, has landed them in the hottest water. The data, collected from over 1,000 UK office workers in July 2018, also reveals that many are more likely to be challenged about missing deadlines and being late (17 percent) than ensuring they are compliant with GDPR.


Further data reveals workers are yet to get to grips with how confidential data should be handle according to the GDPR guidelines:

  • 54 percent have seen personal or confidential data they shouldn’t have
  • 33 percent of workers admit they have left confidential or personal data unattended
  • 45 percent have sent a confidential email to the wrong person
  • 61 percent have received an incorrect email from the wrong person
  • 19 percent have left a USB pen lying around somewhere
  • 14 percent have left confidential documents in public places

Darryl Brunt, Country Head UK & Ireland at Fellowes, said: “It’s a worrying sign that companies in the UK are more concerned about office chores than GDPR, which could cost businesses millions of pounds. One in ten workers don’t know who is responsible for GDPR within their business, and the truth is, protecting confidential data is everyone’s responsibility. It’s also troubling to see that almost one in five workers haven’t been given a concrete policy for handling GDPR. This has to change, or businesses will pay the price.”

Nearly all of UK office workers (94 percent) said they print out documents to read, but 7 percent have a shredder they never use and 16 percent of offices don’t even have a shredder. A quarter (26 percent) also admitted they throw confidential documents in the bin as they are or just ripped a few times.

Key tips to ensuring data is secure in any organisation include:

  • Set up an audit team: By having a dedicated team within an organisation who understands what data you hold, you can ensure key data policies trickle down to employees in different areas of the business
  • Train and re-train staff on data protection: Make sure all your employees are fully up-to-date with data protection laws with a robust policy implemented
  • Shred any documents you don’t need: Ensure all employees have access to shredders so all confidential paper waste – from sales figures to CVs – are destroyed correctly
  • Add signs to common areas: Add signage to shared workspaces as well as frequent update emails to remote-workers highlighting GDPR risks
  • Don’t leave documents behind: Remember to check for any documents you might have left behind after working in public places including USB sticks

Find out more at Fellowes dedicated GDPR page here.

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