Back in February, a joint report between Global Workplace Analytics and Flexjobs, a company that specializes in helping employers find telecommuters, found the number of remote workers in the U.S. increased by 159% between 2005 and 2017. In just the past five years, remote work has increased by 44%. The COVID-19 pandemic is certain to increase this even more. It leads to one big question, what happens to business equipment that’s outlived its lifespan. How do companies dispose of electronics that are in locations other than the office?

ITAD can seem like a complex matter. It’s made more difficult as different states have different rules. Some states lack any rules regarding electronics recycling. If you have workers scattered across the nation, each one may have specific criteria that have to be followed. Those rules may not be enough to meet your goals for privacy and data security. These five tips can help you get a better idea of how to handle IT asset disposition for your satellite offices and remote employees.

Pay Attention to the Laws

Keep track of where your workers live and read up on their laws and regulations for electronic disposal. For example, workers in Florida will find there is no Florida e-waste program. In California, people pay a fee when they buy electronics and that money helps pay for e-waste recycling. As a result, workers in California may have an easier time accessing a place to drop off electronics for recycling than someone in Florida would.

This makes it easy for some of your workers to place their unused electronics in e-waste bins in their city. Others may not have a place they can go, so they’ll need your help getting rid of electronics that are past their usefulness.

Maintain an Inventory of All Electronics Being Used in Remote Offices

As soon as anyone in a satellite office or home office brings home office electronics, you need to keep an inventory of those items. Note the serial numbers, make/model, what it’s for, and who has it. If the purchase of new items is necessary, do the same with those new items. You want an updated listing at all times. That way if anything goes missing, you know who had it and what it was for. You may even be able to take measures that cut access to the device if it is reported as stolen.

When it’s time to recycle electronics on that list, you want to track where it is. You don’t want employees trying to sell items on their own. If you don’t have an inventory of who has what, it can be easier for someone to sell an item. Without proper data destruction, that could put private information into the wrong hands. You want a secure chain of custody that allows you to track the electronic assets as they leave the remote or satellite office and see where they are in the process of destroying data, shredding the device, and properly recycling the glass, plastic, and metal components.

Make Sure Items Don’t Still Have Value

Your employees may not know how to fix electronics. An item they feel is past its usefulness may just need some software reinstalled or to have a part replaced.

With a company like ERI, we can help you determine the value of your items and recover some of the value in order to purchase new electronics.

Create a Strict Policy for Deleting Data and Disposing of Unneeded Electronics

If you already have a policy for data security and electronics disposal, make sure employees know they must follow those same rules at home. They need to use the same care at home that they use in the office. If you don’t, it’s time to make one. Get a copy to every employee who is working from home and make sure they read and understand your rules.

You need to carefully list the requirements. If you’re using a company like ERI that can send secure home and business recycling boxes to your employees’ locations or satellite offices, give instructions on how employees are to order and use those boxes. Employees will find recycling boxes are easy to work with. It’s a five-step process:

  1. Order the right box size.
  2. Wait for delivery of that box and the supplies for sealing the box once it’s ready to ship.
  3. Fill it with unwanted electronics and seal it.
  4. Call UPS to arrange pick-up and hand the box to the driver.
  5. Track the package’s journey from UPS to ERI.

The recycling boxes come in a variety of sizes, so you’re able to get the right size for your remote workers’ needs. You can get them in sizes as small as 9 by 5 inches to a full pallet that can hold hundreds of pounds of electronics. Would a pallet be right for you? If your remote workers are all located within a few miles of your office, they could bring unwanted electronics to the office to fill the pallet. That way everything that needs to be sent back goes all at once, which saves you money. If workers are scattered across the U.S., you’ll want to get smaller boxes and make sure each location that needs a box has one.

Choose a Reliable ITAD Provider

Partner with a reliable, qualified ITAD provider. Look specifically for an ITAD expert that holds certification from NAID AAA, R2, and e-Stewards. You want a guarantee that data is destroyed properly before anything else happens. You also want to make sure the recycled electronics are not shipped overseas or illegally dumped in the landfill. You want reassurances that plants that handle your data destruction and recycling are secure and also focus on worker safety.

Ask if there is a way to track the electronics on the way to the facility. If there isn’t, choose someone else. With ERI, you can track your recycled electronics along the way to one of the eight facilities. With some security levels, you can also watch the destruction of items on camera to be reassured the items have been properly disposed of. Look for a leader like ERI to be sure your electronics are recycled following all laws and regulations.

In New York City alone, ERI’s bin program has helped with the recycling of more than 10 million pounds of obsolete electronics. We serve every zip code in the USA and can help other companies find ideal solutions to their electronics recycling needs. Let us know your needs and where your remote workers are located, we can help you find the best solution for your ITAD needs.