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5 Tips To Protect Your Privacy

For all the buzz and outrage over the admitted access the National Security Agency has had to vast amounts of data from various phone companies and internet search providers, then pay more attention when you go into an elevator at your company or sit on commuter train or bus.  It’s a fact that people say the most outrageous and highly private or confidential things to each other or over their mobile phones, often in very loud voices.   In fact, several popular Twitter feeds (two shut down in 2011) were devoted to recounting verbatim conversations in the elevators at major media companies (CondeNast, Hearst) and investment bank Goldman Sachs.


A recent survey by flexible workplace provide Regus (which has more private and secure business lounges in over 1500 cities around the world) shows that when office workers (in NYC) can’t be in their actual offices during the day, only 37 percent say they “need” privacy….and  younger workers 18-39 are even lower (34 percent).  Nearly 20 percent of those asked what is the “worst” part of working remotely say fear that “someone can hear my phone calls” (10 percent) and “someone can see my computer (9 percent).  


Here are a few tips to make sure you safeguard your employers’ secrets (or your own) while working remotely:


  • Never use the name of a company while making a phone call if you are not in complete privacy – use phrase like “our client” or “our customer”


  • Use a privacy screen on your laptop on long plane, train or bus trips so your traveling companions can’t see specifically what you are doing


  • When you are in the elevator at your company or a customer’s, name mention any person by name or the nature of your visit, even to a colleague traveling with you


  • Look for remote working options that allow you to speak behind closed doors, or not have to shout over the noise of music, road noise or espresso machines (that same survey notes 14 percent of New Yorkers have “done work” in the bathroom – even in the most private of places, you still should not let your desire to chat outweigh common sense).


  • If a topic or subject is strictly confidential and you are in public, don’t talk about work at all – how about those Mets?