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Records Management and Remote Work
State agencies and local governments are facing new and unparalleled challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How staff manage records and data generally is no different - all government officials and employees must comply with established policies and procedures, including retention schedules issued by the State Archives.
Staff are likely preoccupied with managing essential functions during this time and records management might not be high on anyone’s priority list.
However, with an increase in remote work, there are some key points to keep in mind:
- Any records created or received on any device might be a public record. This includes use of personal email accounts to conduct official business.
- You must maintain, store, and preserve all government records created or received in the course of official business no matter where you work.
- When using cloud storage or collaborative platforms (i.e. Office 365 or Google Drive), establish directories and files so that records can be stored safely and efficiently retrieved. Create a logical set of folders, metadata, and file names that help you know where to store and retrieve records.
- Remember privacy considerations and store records appropriately. Avoid saving records with sensitive information to personal devices and be cognizant of the location of any printed materials.
- Avoid multiple copies. Be conscious about what you’re putting on a personal device or government laptop. Try to avoid creating copies of records in various places that you will need to manage.
- Purge old files. Go through electronic files and purge the digital ROT (redundant, obsolete, or trivial materials). An important part of records management is getting rid of materials you don’t need and that have met their retention requirements.
- Don’t leave public records at home. When you return to work on site, return any hard copy or digital records to your official record-keeping systems.
- Records not normally considered to have long term value may now have historical or research value. The State Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org) can assist in identifying potentially historical records. See our additional guidance on records retention and documenting the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.