If you work for a company, chances are you’ve already signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). In its most basic form, an NDA is a legally binding agreement that creates a confidential relationship between a person and a company.
NDAs can come in the form of a mutual non-disclosures too, but oftentimes they’re one-way, meaning they specifically protect the company and its information.
As a startup company, protecting your intellectual property early on is pretty imperative. If you’re new to the subject, there are tons of online resources to help, including RocketLaywer and this Entrepreneur Magazine guide on legal documents.
NDAs typically cover topics like “protecting sensitive information,” including things like technologies your company is developing and the names of its business partners. As well as “Disclosure of confidential information to anyone outside the company.”
Private Company Meeting at the Kitchen Table
Chances are at some point, someone in your household has or will overhear a private company meeting, details about a confidential transaction, or even walk through the background of a partner video call.
Working from home becoming the new norm begs the question, do your roommates and family need to sign an NDA? And do you need to sign an NDA for the company they work for?
For anyone who has a house or apartment with a soundproof office, not to worry. You and your safe-room are, well, safe. To anyone else, it could open up a question of personal risk and professional liability.
Remote Work Began Long Before
Remote work isn’t a new thing, and yet the answer to this question is not very clear cut.
An example of where NDAs are common in a household is when a family hires a nanny. Understandably, that role is privy to a lot of private information, both family-specific and work-related. There’s a great story on that called Why You Need a Non-Disclosure Agreement for Your Nanny.
So all that said, I don’t have an answer. I have more questions. Are current NDAs iron clad to cover this new edge case of employees perpetually working from home or moving to a two day at-home work week? Will companies need to add new clauses to contracts depending on what that looks like? This matters as much to corporations as it does startups.
Lawyer with Remote NDA Expertise Wanted
If there’s anyone in the space that can help speak to the area, I’d love to connect and learn more.