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wall of boxesHalfway through the digital decade, most people can speak knowledgeably about cloud storage and cloud servers and virtual files.  Yet, the average office worker will tell you that the truly paperless office is still a few years away.  Even small businesses will find themselves quickly inundated with paper records, paper files and all the related paraphernalia of a 21st century office.

Every business needs to have a clear organizational system for files and records that includes archiving documents that are not needed for daily operations.  There are three options for storing these archives: in office storage, onsite storage, and offsite storage.

Onsite Storage

In office storage refers to businesses that keep a file room or storage room as part of their office floor plan.  Onsite storage refers to companies who are able to get storage in another part of the building or complex where they own or rent office space.  For example, some older buildings offer basement storage to tenants. While this type of storage is convenient, it is not always the best option.

One of the big problems with having storage onsite is space limitations.  Businesses generate new archives every month or quarter while office space and onsite storage rooms are limited in size.  If a company grows quickly, they may need to convert that file room into additional office space. If they generate more and more client records, they will outgrow any onsite space.

Another problem with onsite storage is that it is not disaster-proof.  For security reasons, many companies should consider keeping key documents at a separate location.  This increases the chance of the business being able to continue operations should a fire, flood, or other disaster ruin their primary offices.

Offsite Storage

There are numerous advantages to choosing offsite storage for a business.  The first is cost.  Renting a storage unit is going to be cheaper than paying for a larger floor plan.  This is partly due the difference in the cost of commercial real estate versus renting storage, but it is also related to operating costs. Onsite storage is operated as office space, requiring air cooling or conditioning, lighting, etc.  Offsite storage does not incur additional utility costs.

Next is the space advantage.  Instead of being crowded by stacks of file boxes and other stored items, businesses can keep their offices focused on operations and on giving space to their employees.  This can improve employee morale as well as improving productivity as no one has to work around the clutter.

Another advantage is scalability.  When the archives fill a storage unit, it is easy enough to get another in the same facility or to move into a larger one.  This is much more efficient than having to expand an office or worse, move the entire company to a new location due to insufficient storage space.

It is important to locate offsite storage that is appropriate for the company’s needs, whether it be appropriate security, air cooled or conditioned units, or the ability to store equipment as well as files.  They should also make sure there is a clear organizational system in place so that documents can be easily retrieved from storage when needed. Other than that, it’s simply a matter of sitting down with the manager at a storage facility and choosing the unit that fits their needs.

Storage West has a variety of units available in four states. Check out our locations here.

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