As an assistant at a small estate planning law firm, we have tons of paper that needs to be shredded on a daily basis. We frequently deal with extremely sensitive data including client’s social security numbers, banking information and information about their relatives. We can’t just throw important legal documents and old case files in the trash. Not only is this a huge problem for the client, but our business could be held liable for any identity theft. I’m sure you can only imagine how many sensitive documents law firms handle every day.
Guess who has to do all of that shredding? Me. When I first started working at the office, I was shown shredding room. There was a fairly expensive office shredder and huge stacks of boxes full of legal documents. I thought finishing all of this shredding wouldn’t take longer than an hour or so. Surely this top of the line office shredder would work quickly. .
Boy was I wrong.
Standard office shredders are really slow, and can break or jam up frequently (especially if you put too many paper in at once). The first box of closed files took me almost three hours to shred, start to finish. It took up half of my work day! Keep in mind I also have other projects and tasks that need to be done too.
After a couple of weeks I found myself spending half the day on routine shredding and the other half playing catch up. I talked to my boss and suggested that we look at outsourcing the office paper shredding. It took him a few days, but he finally decided to hire a shredding company for the office.
Let me tell you, it’s one of the best work suggestions I’ve ever made. I get so much more work done now that we’ve outsourced our office’s shredding. I’m finally able to get ahead of projects and daily tasks. Our office is much less cluttered than it was before, now that the boxes of old paperwork are taken care of.
As far as my boss is concerned, he’s happy because outsourcing the shredding actually wound up being cheaper than doing it in-house. We used to buy more expensive “industrial” strength garbage bags. We’ve actually seen a profit increase since hiring the shredding company. On a per-hour basis, it’s much more cost efficient for me to spend time on higher value projects.
My boss also saves a ton of time on maintaining the office shredder. He used to spend a few hours a week fixing the shredder, but that’s a thing of the past! A typical office shredder really isn’t designed for high volume paper shredding. The average small business shreds almost four hundred pieces of paper a week, but in a law firm we shred thousands! Even if you’re maintaining your shredder, the shear load is enough to jam or break it.
Finally, our clients can feel 100% assured that their information is safe with our firm. Professional shredding companies use a combination of cross-shredding and burning to completely destroy paperwork. Although traditional office shredders can do an adequate job of destroying paper, the only way to be sure your personal information is completely protected. Business document shredding really is best left to the professionals.
I used to feel more like a paper shredder than an assistant, and I can honestly tell you that work is so much more enjoyable. Our client’s sensitive information is safe, and I can spend my time at work on more important projects.