4 questions to ask to help reduce your filing footprint
Updated: May 17, 2022
According to a recent article, one third of the UK’s largest employers will cut their office footprint by 30% this year. Without doubt, one element of office design that will have to form part of this review will be office storage and onsite filing. Many UK offices hold information that is no longer required to be kept. Space is at a premium and for many firms will be limited moving forward. Filing and storage can occupy up to 20% of floorspace and is an obvious place to start. When approaching a filing rationalisation project, a proper process of evaluation needs to take place to ensure no documents are destroyed that are required to be retained, or retained when past retention. Either action is putting your organisation at risk. A common assumption made by many organisations is that scanning is the quickest route to a paperless office. Of course, if you were to scan everything, this would be case, however, it would be a temporary state and for most budgets, wouldn’t be feasible. In addition, unless legacy business processes are altered and improved, information will continue to be created on paper or received into the business and inevitably circulated and stored. How do you determine what the right action is for your documents? Here are 4 questions you need to ask; 1. Does your organisation have a clear understanding of what you are currently storing? Can your organisation account for all documentation held onsite? Who is the owner of that documentation? Quite often it is the case that filing remains onsite for years because its owner has left the business. Empty filing cabinets will also sit on the floors occupying premium space. Potentially your filing cabinets, meant for business information, are filled with stationery or personal items. Identifying these quick wins will get you started. 2. Does your company have an up-to-date records retention policy? The first step is to establish whether the documentation is ‘live’ and within its retention period. Your organisation should have an easily accessible records retention policy, which will inform staff of which documents need to be kept and for how long. The first step is to check your policy and establish, is the document past retention? Is the retention policy followed for documents being sent to secure offsite storage? 3. Are the documents accessed frequently? Once you’ve established that the document is required for legal and compliance purposes, think about how often the document is accessed? Is it frequently? Daily, weekly or monthly? Do you require access to the physical document or would an electronic version suffice for your needs/business processes? Filing can anchor individuals or departments to desks and this prohibits flexible and/or remote working. 4. Do the documents already exist electronically? Many organisations digitise documents that have been created electronically inhouse and printed. Is there a way to make those digital originals available more widely but within a controlled environment? Once you have the answers to the above questions, an action can be determined for your filing. We have devised the following infographic to help you identify potential actions for hard-copy documents owned by your teams and work towards a paperless office without scanning everything.
ClearSpace Group provides workplace consultancy services that enable organisations to free-up floor space, reduce office footprint and sustain hybrid working for the long term. To find out more about how we can help you to get started, speak to one of our workplace consultants today.