Office Space: The 3 Hidden Costs of Storing Files Locally

by securedatamgt | 06 Aug 2014

Spacious Office

This week it was revealed that on average real estate is now being sold for £16,251 more than a year ago and in London seller asking prices have grown by 11.3%.

Unquestionably, it is becoming more expensive for expanding businesses to purchase the property they require for growth. GVA has estimated that the UK is running out of Grade A office space at a startling rate and has predicted that within a year almost all of the UK’s leading commercial cities will have insufficient office real estate available. This is certainly alarming for businesses looking to expand their enterprises.

It is not surprising then that companies suffering a lack of office space are choosing to store their files in exceptionally inadequate spaces. For many companies it might even come down to either removing employees from the office or their confidential files. Keeping files in a basement or disused warehouse might seem like an economically practical solution. After all, what else are these spaces good for?

However, these quick fixes can have long term hidden costs attached to them and by the time the damage is done it may well be too late. When choosing any type of storage facility – onsite, local or offsite – a company should ask the following questions of its suitability:

  • How accessible are my files going to be for employees, clients and suppliers?
  • How secure is this location?
  • Will it be possible to index and track files from this location?
  • Will the company be able to keep an efficient retention schedule using this location?
  • Is the environment of this location suitable for document storage?
  • Are my documents liable to physical damage at this location?
  • Would my clients and suppliers be satisfied with this storage site?

To learn more about how to find the top offsite storage companies check out our post: Document Storage Companies that Excel – How to find them

With these basic record storage considerations in mind it is worth now considering 3 hidden expenses of using an inadequate local storage site.

1. Physical and Environmental Damage

Offices often will resort to basements to store their files following the notion that basements within an office block are most likely to be secure and cheap to use. Basements are located below ground which makes them inherently prone to flooding. It is a basic law of gravity that water will move from high ground to low ground and therefore basements often tend to be the dampest part of a building.

Basement flooding doesn’t just occur during wet weather. Office weeping tiles and sewer lateral systems often will deteriorate over time and it will be in your basement where the effects of decay will be visible. Disused warehouses might not be below ground, but without a central heating system, they too are prone to damp conditions.

Companies storing files locally are likely to be negligent when it comes to fire proofing. Most probably because their files are stored in places which are absent of any activity. Most businesses will probably not bother installing a fire alarms or sprinklers in their local storage location for this reason.

Basements are in fact liable to spontaneous fires as they are normally the home to gas pipes and in the event of a fire basements are incredibly difficult to access.

A government report states that all operational basements require the following safety measures:

“Basements should be protected by smoke and heat exhaust ventilation systems, smoke shafts, pressurisation or depressurisation systems and by sprinkler systems.”

It would seem then that fire proofing a basement could actually turn out to be a costly venture for a business and indeed the costs of not doing so would be even higher.

2. Lack of Security

It is unlikely that a company will invest in any suitable security when it comes to local record storage, especially if this company is looking to save on its storage costs. The lack of security that is often associated with local storage could cost your company large sums in the long term.

It is improbable that this local storage facility is going to be a place where employees will want to spend time in especially if it is a damp basement! Therefore if a document does go missing it might take months for its disappearance to be noticed. Furthermore, if this document happens to belong to a client this could severely damage your company’s reputation. It could potentially lead to the loss of that client or even a host of clients.

Companies are responsible for the security of their files and therefore it doesn’t seem prudent for a business to leave its valuable files in an unmanned basement.

3. Accessibility and Efficiency

In the tightly compact London business district companies might be forced to store their files in facilities several miles away. Employees sent to collect files will not only have to waste valuable time getting there but will also undoubtedly have difficulties locating documents.

Businesses looking to organise files themselves will have to be prepared to invest expenditure and expertise into the procedure, a procedure which could take weeks or even months to complete. They would have to consider investing in boxes, racking, barcoding systems and even in personnel who have expertise in records management and archiving.

Offsite storage providers conversely have all of the above in place, as well as years of business archive storage expertise. Professional storage providers can assure businesses transparency when it comes to document management, storage costs and workflow improvements.