The new year is almost here, full of exciting possibilities and the fruition of well-executed plans. It’s also a great opportunity to consider the knowledge gained in the previous 365 days. With that in mind, here’s a selection of our most popular posts of 2016.
Tracking and storing reams of paper documents can be an exhausting paper chase, but with planning, consistency, and a great storage system, you can relax and get on with your business.
How do design-conscious fashionistas incorporate great storage design into their workplaces? Here’s the low-down.
Good posture leads to good self-esteem. With phones or with adaptive office furniture, take posture into account for better self-esteem, assertiveness, and productivity.
For safety, police are required to confiscate guns in cases of domestic violence complaints. But overcrowded, insecure gun storage in police property rooms then becomes a safety problem itself.
Planning for future lab needs is always the most challenging part of any lab design space plan. Modular casework gives you flexibility for the future as well as usability for today’s needs.
We’re looking forward to assisting you in the New Year!
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Congratulations! Your company has just acquired a sleek, compact high density storage system to replace that bulky, unattractive space hog of a “filing farm.” Now what? How do you organize that new system to reap the maximum benefits for you, your co-workers, and the business?
- Use your imagination – Close your eyes and imagine where you would instinctively look for certain files. Do some files need to be in a special “ready access” section? Can others go into a deep archive?
- Purge – Moving from old file cabinets to a high density system is the perfect time to ditch unneeded, outdated documents, non-functioning office equipment, and that super-size box of floppy disks from 1996 (we’re not judging!).
- Communicate – Unless you’re the only person who uses the storage system, your colleagues need to know how to file and retrieve properly. Post the instructions where everyone can see them, so your beautiful organizational system doesn’t fall into chaos.
- Be consistent – Speaking of chaos, maintain a consistent filing schedule (daily? weekly?) to avoid the filing nightmare of unsorted, unfiled documents stacked on every flat surface.
- Measure your success – Keep track of how much faster you and your co-workers are able to find essential documents, and file them again when the task is completed. If the system needs to be tweaked, you’ll know where to adjust. Most important, you’ll be able to chart the cost/benefit of your new, efficient filing system.
Organizing your organization system takes forethought, communication, and methodical consistency, but it’s well worth the initial effort. And the payoff – efficiency, lower real estate costs, better document security – goes straight to your company’s bottom line.
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In the mid-90’s, management experts predicted the end of paper. Twenty years later, we’re using more paper than ever. Do paper files put your business at risk?
The American Forest and Paper Association cites a number of reasons for the continued demand for paper documents:
- No paper document has ever been hacked by a computer virus.
- Paper documents are readable without electricity or internet service.
- Without ongoing maintenance, digital storage media degrades much faster than well-stored paper (the oldest papyrus in existence dates to 2600 B.C.).
While there are indisputably good reasons for continuing to use paper, there are also risks. Medical records, legal strategies, proprietary business documents – if not securely stored, these papers can create some serious problems for your business, as discussed by Eric Savitz in this story for Forbes Magazine.
With a well-designed high density storage system, you can have your paper and save on space too – the best of both worlds. Consult with your storage professional to learn how it’s done.
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When the high-tech office became a reality 20 years ago, pundits predicted an end to paper documents. How wrong they were! Paper consumption has actually grown a staggering 126% in the past two decades, according to The Paperless Project. All those documents have to be stored somewhere, and if you’re among the foresighted business owners and managers who have installed a high density storage system in your office (see below), you’re ahead of the game. But the right storage system is just the first step in truly efficient and cost-effective document management.
Business author Susan Ward recommends asking yourself these four questions before implementing a document management plan:
1. What are the rules for creating documents? Decide on an in-house style guide and templates; sort out a review and sharing policy.
2. How will files be organized, archived, and disposed of? Follow good file management practices, including timely archiving, to streamline your efficiency; weed out old files that are no longer needed.
3. How can files be retrieved simply and easily? Ward suggests posting a File Locations list adjacent to file cabinets, to remind users of where to find various file categories.
4. How do we keep documents secure? File cabinets should always be lockable; advanced electronic locks allow managers to track user access, and RFID tags can pinpoint a document’s location within the office.
Ward reminds readers that a document management plan is just that: a plan. To be effective, it has to be executed consistently over the long term. But the results – efficiency, cost savings, and peace of mind – are well worth the effort.
Just one example of a space-saving high density storage system
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Despite the trend toward electronic documents, law firms can’t avoid generating thousands of paper originals. Clients and courts demand paper documents, and state bar associations set standards for law firms’ document retention. Even when documents are filed electronically, there is almost always a paper copy that has to be accounted for. And paper seems to have a mind of its own; the one document you need is the one that has decided to wander off. However, RFID technology is corralling those pesky wandering papers. A new printer system adds an RFID tag to legal documents, allowing them to be tracked as they move through a law firm’s offices. As described here in RFID Journal, the system also identifies various levels of confidentiality and keeps a list of documents that have been destroyed when no longer needed. It’s an improvement in security and productivity – law office staff can spend less time looking for documents and more time upholding the scales of justice.
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Cyber attacks are often seen as high-tech crimes involving elusive, amoral code geniuses in foreign countries who work as much for the glory of a brilliant hack as for the enormous paychecks crime bosses deposit in their Swiss bank accounts. However, many cyber crimes begin in a very low-tech way – the visual hack, in which sensitive information is stolen by a seemingly innocent visitor looking over a partition or passing by a cubicle. Usernames, passwords, and printed documents are favorites for visual hackers, who use the information to access a company’s proprietary information, HR records, and other confidential data.
In this study commissioned by 3M, security experts known as “white hat hackers” were able to steal log-ins, financial data, customer lists, and other sensitive data, often within just 15 minutes of beginning their visual-hack test session. The study pointed to the visual accessibility of open-plan offices as one of several factors in the thefts.
Despite the security risk, businesses are reluctant to abandon open office plans, with their benefits of spatial adaptability, lower costs, and positive employee management. Rather than scrapping open-plan offices, an in-depth space utilization risk assessment is the more practical solution to identifying where and how sensitive data can be kept secure without turning open offices into dark data vaults. Check with your office design professionals for an assessment.
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