Clutter, confusion, and chaos rule in many an office simply because of inefficient storage. We all need storage, and even though it’s not the most exciting consideration it can have a big impact on what is the most exciting — profits.
If you’re not putting into practice some savvy storage techniques, you’re likely leaving money on the table. Here are the biggest space and time-wasting culprits and how to make them work in your favour instead:
Whether your workspace is in a rented office or a spare room at home, there are ways of using the available space more efficiently.
Zoning, for instance, organises areas according to task. You could have zones earmarked for:
- Admin (when you need the desk and computer).
- Filing and record keeping (cupboards, cabinets and shelving).
- Stock storage (room for cardboard boxes, plastic tubs or other storage containers).
Depending on the business, you might also need a zoned area for pack and dispatch operations. With dedicated task areas, it’s easier to keep only what you need for the job, and also easier to spot when things are getting messy and muddled.
Allowing Unnecessary Items to Take Up Working Space
Storing items not used every day wastes space. Examples include business records going back years, out of season stock you can’t sell immediately, promotional materials only used in exhibitions or shows, or furniture that’s surplus to requirements.
To streamline, workspaces can effectively adopt ideas from the ‘staging’ concept in the property world. At its most basic level, staging involves removing anything that isn’t strictly relevant, leaving behind only the things that accentuate a space’s intended purpose.
Mixing up the storage of little-used items such as those above with the items needed daily creates clutter, and makes simple tasks more complicated or frustrating than they need be.
Self storage can solve the problem of what to do with items you need to keep but are not using, allowing more profitable use of the space that’s created. It also costs less than renting larger offices or investing in warehouse space. Stored items are easily retrieved when they’re needed thanks to convenient town locations.
Some businesses find success operating purely out of self storage rooms, but it isn’t a model that would work for all. Others prefer to use it for overspill or temporary, short term, storage needs.
One of the main advantages is the short contract terms, which often run for just a week at a time. Another is flexibility, allowing for easy upgrading or downsizing whenever necessary. If you just want to clear out a few filing cabinets to make room for an extra desk, you could even rent locker-sized spaces that are ideal for secure paper document storage.
Antiquated IT Systems
If you’re not using virtual storage by now, you’re probably wasting time and money on tasks that could be automated, outsourced, or simplified.
From document storage to accounting and bookkeeping, from real time collaboration to staff meetings and conferences, there’s an app for that. Get up to speed with virtual storage for business and you’ll find you don’t need as many filing cabinets, you can forget about software and server upgrades, and you don’t need a dedicated IT department because (depending on the level of cloud service you choose) it’s all taken care of by the third party provider.
Chaotic Daily Workflow
‘Storage’ doesn’t just refer to the stock room or the filing cabinet. How you deal with storage for short term items that cross your desk everyday also impacts work space efficiency.
You can keep your desk clutter free by using just two document trays, for instance. It’s not a new method, but in these days of electronic communications manual control systems have been somewhat left behind, as though we don’t deal with paper at all anymore. Anyone who works in an office knows the reality falls a long way short of this ideal.
The two tray method is especially handy if you’re in a busy open office where people are constantly dropping by to hand you bits of paper. In one tray goes all the new stuff you still have to look at. In the other tray go those items you’ve looked at but still need to deal with by responding, filing, or chucking out. Maintain the system and you have an ‘at a glance’ method of assessing where you are in the current day’s work, helping you stay on track and focused.
Work space transformation works on all levels from company-wide to personal organisation. The sooner you get it sorted, the sooner you create an organised, efficient working environment.