Storage ideas to reduce building footprints and organize files for improved productivity
In this article, we offer six innovative ways to reduce the building footprint and organize files and other materials to enhance productivity. When we typically think of storing file folders, the natural progression leads to traditional vertical and lateral file cabinets. Almost everyone who has worked in or visited an office are familiar with the standard four-drawer file cabinets lining walls or in an area dedicated to these antiquated monuments to storing documents.
Traditional filing cabinets include inherent problems and disadvantages. Obvious shortcomings include the physical dimensions occupying large amounts of valuable office space. It often means your company must purchase or lease and maintain larger offices for your employees to perform their tasks. Even if you relocate the filing cabinets in a separate area, this still requires additional space requirements. Especially, with the accompanying higher operating expenses for the physical space in the way of rent or purchase price of the larger facility, increased costs for air conditioning, heating, and lighting. These drawbacks to traditional filing cabinets are easy to recognize, and most of us are only too aware of these problems.
The unseen disadvantages of traditional filing cabinets include:
- Wasting time due to walking long distances to cabinets and opening and close drawers
- Bending down or standing on footstools to retrieve files.
- Searching for misplaced files.
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Doing this once or twice a day is not a problem. However, if employees must repeatedly perform this action every workday, efficiency (and morale) will surely trend down. Furthermore, the fatigue factor will begin to take its toll. For their time and place, file cabinets were marvelous solutions to a vexing business problem. However, several better solutions that eliminate many of the inherent limitations of filing cabinets are now available as more efficient methods to store and access files. Click here to view all of our file storage solutions.
Open File Shelving
The first way to improve your file storage is by using open file shelving. Open file shelving organizes files in less space by eliminating drawers and taking advantage of vertical air space. All files are visible, unlike file cabinets that limit visibility and access to one drawer at a time. Unlike lateral file cabinets that mandate space for drawers, the vertical design of the open filing shelves require as much as 60% less space. It also provides adjustable shelves to store file boxes, binders, and supplies to meet your unique storage requirements. Open file shelving systems can be easily equipped with roll-down security doors for file security.
These unique overhead rolling doors mount on top of the open file shelves. The doors are available in standard widths up to 12’ long, reducing the number of doors to open and close and keys to manage. To secure the contents, lower the door to their resting place in front of the open shelves.
Several options are available to operate the doors. The first, and most cost-effective, is the manual operation in which employees open and close the doors much in the same way of a garage door. The rolling doors are lightweight and easy to operate. The second option is the remote control (similar to a garage door opener), where the employee presses a button to open and close the rolling doors. The third and more security-conscious option is a touchpad. This device is placed on the side or near the filing system. Access codes can be programmed to the touchpad to control who can access the contents of the file cabinets.
Bi and Tri-File Sliding Shelving
The second way to improve your file storage is by using bi and tri-file sliding shelving. This filing equipment gets its name because these cabinets are placed two or three-deep and slide back and forth on tracks for easy access. The unique configuration saves significant office space. To gain access to the back shelving units, roll the front units to the left or right. Bi and tri-file sliding shelving systems compacts file storage by eliminating the need for aisle space. You can add more sliding units at any time to increase storage capacity. A feasible scenario of utilizing this type of shelving is to add sliding shelves with the accompanying tracks in the front of your existing fixed shelves against the wall. You would store less frequently accessed material, like archival file boxes on the fixed shelves. The most frequently accessed material, active files, would be in the front file shelving units. To gain access to the less frequently needed material, move the front shelving unit along their track to gain access to the second shelving unit. Should you need to access contents from the wall shelves, move the second file shelving units to reveal the fixed shelves.
These file storage units are available as single-sided wall units or double-sided units that are freestanding. These cabinets can range in width from 24” to 48” with depths from 9” to 36” and range in height from as diminutive as a countertop to 12’. Different size shelving units can store letter-size or legal-size file folders, file storage boxes, binders, and supplies. For limited budgets and restricted floor space, bi and tri file saving may be an ideal and cost-effective solution.
High-Density File Shelving
The third method to improve your file storage is with high-density file shelving. This space-saving storage equipment is an excellent solution for small, medium, and large centralized filing areas. They offer the same storage flexibility accommodating active files, file boxes, binders, and office supplies all in the same storage systems. These mobile shelving move back and forth on tracks to create an access aisle as needed and replace fixed access aisles.
This approach reduces floor space by up to 66% compared to traditional vertical and lateral cabinets. As an illustration of configuring this system to your needs and saving valuable space, one client utilized 17 different shelving configurations tailored to their space to meet their requirements. Through high-density file shelving use, the client reduced the space necessary for its storage needs to one-quarter of the original requirements than compared to traditional lateral file cabinets.
High-density file shelving requires much less space than static rows of open file shelving because the aisles roll together, allowing employees to open only the aisle(s) necessary to access the information stored on the shelves. Two options are available to move the shelves. The most cost-effective method is a hand crank, also known as a mechanical-assist, which is available with a single spoke or three-spoke operator control handle configuration.
Mechanical-assist systems have safety devices that require an action on the part of the user before entering an aisle. This option works best where there are limited users that are familiar with high-density shelving systems. The second option and most popular is powered or push-button operations. This system is somewhat akin to power windows in an automobile. This system supports safety devices such as infrared beams to protect persons and prevent aisles from closing if an object is on the floor. Also, if the filing system has long rows of shelving, for example, shelves stretching twenty feet or more, the powered system is absolutely the best choice.
This option also provides superior protection when several people are using the filing system simultaneously or for people who are unfamiliar with the concept of high-density shelves. Additional security is available by installing electronic locks to guard sensitive or private information. Click to see more information on high-density shelving
Rotary File Cabinets
The fourth method for storing files is with Rotary file cabinets.Rotary file cabinets are double-sided revolving cabinets that spin closed to secure the contents of back-to-back storage compartments. You can position these cabinets next to each other or against a wall due to their unique approach to storage. Rotary cabinets come in letter and legal sizes and can be up to 8' tall.
To access materials, press down on the foot release pedal and rotate the cabinet to the desired cabinet side. Remove your foot from the pedal, and the unit stops automatically in the next position – open or fully closed. The shelves and drawers inside the cabinet allow you to tailor your filing and storage requirements. The rotary file cabinets can store many different types of material, ranging from top and side tab file folders, CDs, DVDs, videos, binders, office and marketing supplies, to valuables. You can also add security drawers to the rotary file cabinet, or you can install key locks to control access to one or more cabinets. Rotary file cabinets are available in a wide variety of powder-coated colors to match any office décor.
Pull-Out File Shelves
The fifth way to improve your file storage is with pull-out file shelves. Pull-out file shelves offer a unique way to both store and access your files. These devices have a patented linear motion to provide ease of operations, better security, more storage capability, and space savings. Pull-out shelving units require much less space than lateral file cabinets. The movable carriages smoothly slide in and out on wheels, and you can use the natural egress aisle when the carriage extends into the room.
Because of the simplicity of the design and construction of pull-out file shelves, they are very durable as well as flexible. Several users can access multiple shelving units at the same time since they operate independently from each other. Two modes are available to access the shelving units. One is a simple handle, as shown in the pictured cabinets on the left. The second option is the hand crank, which is shown in the same picture. The cabinet slides out into the room when you turn the three-spoke handle and closes when you turn the handle the opposite direction. Key locks are also available for these units to restrict access. You can also customize each unit with various depth and width options to store virtually anything. This includes letter-size file folders, legal-size file folders, file boxes, binders, marketing material, sheet music, books, and office supplies. It is also possible to move and add units without disrupting adjacent units.
Vertical Filing Carousels
Finally, the last way to improve your file storage is with vertical filing carousels. Vertical filing carousels are ergonomic powered file cabinets designed to store various types of files and media. Instead of searching through aisles of static shelving or lateral filing cabinets, this system means you push a button, and the carousel brings the material to an ergonomic waist-high work counter.
It may be difficult to make the correlation between deciding to invest capital toward automated storage systems and helping to protect people and the environment, but we can prove the validity of this premise. An automatic storage system, instead of you going to the item or unit of information, be it located on a shelf, drawer system, or in a cabinet, automatically brings the information to you – a seemingly counter-intuitive approach to conducting business. Employees can work in an ergonomically correct or ADA-accessible position and still have access to 100% of the stored information.
The principle behind automated power filing systems is a series of vertically arranged revolving shelves or drawers. Upon the press of a button, shelves rotate to bring the desired information to an ergonomically placed work counter, thus eliminating the need for searching for stored items. These machines also save significant amounts of space than traditional file cabinets and store a higher volume and variety of information.
Space requirements are a key component of any storage system. Different storage systems can utilize the available space more efficiently than others. Another, often unconsidered factor, is the vertical design of the storage system. It is also worth knowing the file carousels or shelves of powered vertical filing systems can be built up to or into the ceiling of your office.
The vertical file carousels’ measure return on investment by productivity, security, ergonomics, and space savings. Using the standard filing cabinet system means time spent walking to the cabinets, bending, stooping, stretching, sometimes utilizing step stools to retrieve the file, and returning to the desks. Time spent by employees in this manner can be used more efficiently with significant increases in productivity of up to 160%. The fact that businesses are storing various types of media from CDs. DVDs, paper files, files boxes, and binders, other materials, these powered filing system carousels can be designed to handle any number of different media for your office.
The powered carousel has a lockable door, and optional software is available to record and track file transactions. Just one vertical carousel filing system can store at least sixteen four-drawer file cabinets in a fraction of the space resulting in savings of 50% in floor space or more. These storage systems are completely accessible and ADA compliant.
Contact Us for Your Filing and Storage Needs
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for virtually any document and material storage needs. Free consultations are available to determine you and your business's exact needs before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a storage specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.