The “paperless office” has been predicted, debunked, and re-predicted at intervals since the 1970s, and in 2014 it is still basically nonexistent. In a 2014 white paper by information storage company Iron Mountain, the myth of the paperless office was once again shattered with the revelation that paper use is actually increasing in 32% of firms surveyed.
While there are massive quantities of data that exist solely in digital form, the explosion in data creation means that even if only a fraction of that data is held in hard-copy form, it represents a lot of paper, and maintaining order with all that paper requires a smart filing system. Rare is the office that doesn't have several filing cabinets, but all filing systems are not the same. Flexibility in a filing system is essential for optimal management. Here are some considerations for your filing system.
High Density Filing for Storage vs. Filing for Frequent Use
Most businesses have paper files that they cannot dispose of, perhaps due to company rules, or due to government or industry regulations. Yet these files are rarely if ever accessed. For these files, a traditional metal filing cabinet is fine. With this type of archival, the quality of the cabinetry is not of primary importance, since they're rarely opened, so it's not usually necessary to invest in cabinets with ball bearing drawer opening or thick metal construction.
The story is different for files that are frequently accessed. Cabinetry for frequently accessed files should generally be of higher quality, and drawers that roll on ball bearings are worth the investment. Many companies choose hanging files for frequently accessed documents for their ease of access. Additionally, because frequently accessed file cabinets are more likely to be stored where there's human traffic, companies may choose to invest in more attractive designs for them.
Locks and Fire Resistance
Obviously, some file cabinets should have locks. If you have a room full of file cabinets of the same design, you can choose to have all of them keyed the same, to avoid having an excessive number of keys. In situations where different people are responsible for the contents of different cabinets, however, you may choose to have each cabinet individually keyed for greater security.
You may have documents that you want to provide with extra protection in the event of fire, and various grades of fire-resistant and fireproof cabinets are available. The ratings have to do with the period of time for which the cabinets can resist fire. For example, there is 1-hour and 2-hour fireproof cabinets. Some are granted ratings by organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL). File cabinets can also be rated for survival of other disasters, like excessive impact, explosion, and water.
Vertical vs. Lateral Filing Cabinets
Vertical filing cabinets generally have a smaller floor footprint, but you have to pull the drawers out quite far to access files in the back. Vertical filing cabinets are generally less expensive, and take advantage of height for storage, while lateral filing cabinets are generally lower to the ground. Lateral filing cabinets allow you to view the entire contents of a drawer without pulling the drawer out very far, and they can double as tables for things like fax machines, laminators, or other small office equipment. Both vertical and lateral filing cabinets are available in metal or wood finishes, in a variety of colors to suit any type of office decor.
A Mix of Styles May Be Best
Most businesses require a mix of filing cabinet styles for optimal document management. A bank of four or five drawer vertical cabinets in a seldom-used room may be perfect for archival, while individual personnel may be each assigned their own vertical or lateral filing cabinet. Where space is tight, vertical filing cabinets take up the smallest floor footprint, but where space is generous, many people find lateral cabinets to be more convenient. Necessary levels of resistance to fire, water, and impact should be chosen based on the value of the files stored and the level of risk to be expected for various types of disasters.
Cubiture offers a tremendous assortment of filing cabinet styles to meet your every filing need. We can even help you choose models based on your office layout, space allotment, and budget so your filing cabinets will be of greatest use to you. Not all filing cabinets are alike, and choosing them based on level of access required, convenience, styling, and security will result in the right mix of filing cabinetry to serve your business optimally. Cubiture is there to help you make the best selection.
Call Us For A FREE High Density Filing System Quote @ 713-412-0900