by James Beale | Invicta Mobile Shelving
You’d think everything would be stored online by this point, but many businesses still require large amounts of storage. Chief among these is the humble office, which still often relies on filing cabinets to keep hard copies of documents. These sorts of units don’t just look outdated; their design is outdated too, and they often take up far more space than is necessary.
As your business expands and your workforce increases, using space effectively can be crucial to creating a sustainable working environment. Here are four office storage solutions that could not only save you the space to house more people but could also make document retrieval more efficient.
In a modern office space - particularly one which has digitised the bulk of its documents - you may want your storage solution to be more discreet than a classic filing cabinet or cupboard. Many offices now choose to forgo storage entirely, keeping any papers in binders, trays or notebooks. Yet these can have the effect of removing one form of clutter and adding another, making desks look messy and making it harder to find what you need.
Compact storage could provide a more elegant solution. By working in conjunction with a specialist storage provider, storage units can be designed in a way that merges seamlessly with your existing decor. Cabinets and drawers can be designed and painted to slot into existing office furniture, or built into entirely new units. Instead of freestanding cabinets, workers can make use of storage that’s immediately on hand, and tailored to the items they use everyday.
Although it can be adapted to house various items, compact storage is naturally less of a high capacity solution than other storage options. It’s ideally suited to offices where space is at a real premium, or to businesses who want to augment their storage without disrupting their style, such as creative or digital firms. While this may seem less than revolutionary, the value of having storage close at hand and a more attractive office shouldn’t be understated.
Not all office storage is housed within the office. Many office buildings also make use of storerooms or archive rooms, which can be used for everything from office supplies to legal documents and secure storage. For these utilitarian spaces, an ideal storage solution has to be adaptable, accessible, secure, and make efficient use of spaces that often aren’t suitable for everyday work.
When it comes to flexibility and capacity, there are few better choices than mobile shelving. Using a concertina-like mechanism, shelves can be pulled apart and pushed together on a floor-mounted rail. This means that only one aisle is ever created to access two shelves at a time, allowing the same volume of items to be stored in 70% of the space of a traditional unit.
Access is easy and enjoyable, with either a frictionless hand crank option or electronic assistance, while the units can be customised with a variety of storage accessories. Mobile shelving units also offer an extra layer of security, as they can be locked together when not in use. This allows them to potentially be installed in public areas, making them a popular option for record keeping and other sensitive files.
Compact storage is an attractive option for some offices, but others have more practical needs. You may not be as concerned about your business’ aesthetics, or you may have a particularly small or narrow space, limiting where you can place cupboards and shelves. Instead of a stout, fat filing cabinet, you need something a bit thinner to hug the walls.
This is where slide-a-side shelving comes in. Using a similar approach to mobile shelving, shelves can be stacked two deep, with the front shelves sliding to one side to reveal the shelves behind them. This form of storage is most commonly used for bookshelves in libraries and universities, making efficient use of walkways and other narrow spaces, but can easily be adapted to a business environment.
Slide-a-side shelving does not necessarily offer the security or density of a mobile shelving layout, although these features can be worked into a custom design. But it does allow businesses to use their office layout in a unique fashion, and give yourself a bit of breathing room in otherwise cramped spaces. By thinking outside the box, you might even end up moving storage away from open areas and into corridors or other narrow spaces.
Many offices still use files and documents on a daily basis, and require a high traffic storage solution. This is most commonly a filing cabinet or a cupboard, which can be fitted specifically to house files, but offers slightly more utility. These units aren’t just a bit of an eyesore - they also require a surprising amount of space. Outward-opening drawers and doors prevent them from being positioned near doors and walkways, which can lead to compromises in your office layout.
Rotary storage is a novel way to eliminate this issue. These shelving systems rotate on an axis within a static frame, meaning that they can be opened and closed without taking up any space outside of the storage unit. The user simply rotates the shelving to the open position, retrieves the file or other item and rotates it back into a locked position, keeping the items safe inside.
Although frequent access may prevent rotary storage from being positioned in doorways, it’s nevertheless more flexible in terms of where it can be situated than most other storage types. As well as being a higher density option than compact storage, it’s also more enjoyable to use - an underappreciated factor in improving worker morale.
These are just a few of the storage options available for offices, and they may not all be perfect for you. But if seeing this range of possibilities has sparked the interior designer inside, rest assured that they are a perfect introduction to changes that could genuinely improve your productivity. You can’t buy Pandora’s box yet, but you may have just opened it.
Invicta Mobile Shelving – with more than 30 years of experience designing and installing mobile shelving and mobile storage systems, we’ve worked with the world’s most prestigious institutions, including The Bank of England, University of Oxford, Manchester Museum and the NHS.