Thursday, July 17, 2008

I was clicking through Planetizen's newsletter from last week and ran across an article I found worth sharing. The article, "Getting Stuffed" was featured in Macleans Magazine.

The focus of the article is on American's obsession with stuff...and our need to store it, particularly as it relates to the self-storage units. The author also relates the self-storage boom to the increase in housing foreclosures.

The article made me think about office practices (as well as personal junk storage, of course). In the effort to reduce real estate costs and make offices closer to paperless, many companies have turned to off-site archiving solutions. These are great solutions as some files absolutely need to be kept for legal or other reasons; however, there is not a need for regular access of these documents. Off-site storage allows these files to be stored in preferable environmental conditions, as well as in lower-cost real estate.

My question is, how much of the stuff we store in archives do we actually need to keep? The answer is, probably not as much as we thought when we were cleaning out our desks. Perhaps companies need to think about doing an annual "archive purge" in addition to the regular office clean up. This could benefit not just the company (lower storage costs), but also the environment (more paper into the recycling stream, fewer needs for new storage facilites, to name a few).

Companies also need to be more stringent in what employees are allowed to send to storage. At my office, as long as I fill out the forms, I can put pretty much whatever I want in my boxes. Yes, we do have archiving protocols, but not everyone knows them and those who do don't necessarily follow them. Since we don't archive THAT much stuff, there's also not significant cross-checking of what we're archiving. I'd guess lots of companies operate similarly.

How much have you thought about your archived files? What needs to be there? What should have been recycled? What did you need to keep for only a few years?


OldFM said...

As a former FM who managed records storage, I can attest to the "got to have it" mentality, although most boxes, once sent out were never returned. Eventually no one knew what was in the box, who sent it out, why or even why not. The person was long gone and the box was still being charged storage charges. Thanks for reminding us to rethink our storage needs and hopefully utilize electronic rather than paper whenever possible!
Old FM

storage Tulsa OK said...

When we work in an office which requires bulks of paperwork everyday, some choose to save their filesin computers but there are still things that require tangible proof and here is where proper organization is required. We need to be organized at all times so that when a particular files is needed, we know exactly where to look. Saving files in office hard drives can also save us time and money because this does not require printing or paper. Aside from that, we also need to hink about filing company documents properly in shelves or storage spaces to avoid clutter. This goes to show that organization is very essential in maintaining a productive working environment.

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