Downsizing. The mere mention of the word can strike fear in the hearts of many. It’s barely ever considered a good thing- when your company has to make the often difficult decision to maximize effectiveness by minimizing resources. Rest assured we all prefer it when the business is thriving, the employees and customers are happy and the money is pouring in. But in today’s economy, this dream is often not the reality for so many struggling businesses. And so, faced with financial hardship of all kinds, the case for managing costs becomes a more potent option.
Often, office downsizing includes layoffs. This unfortunate result of cost cutting can leave lives in disarray. The company loses people and decides to give up some space. At Exodus, we specialize in office moves and we take measured care to make things as stress free as possible during these important life transitions. We can help with office moves to a smaller facility, furniture and document storage during temporary downsizing efforts and the relocation of the employees affected by these important changes. We take pride in being a preferred Colorado Moving Company and we take seriously the job of caring for your employees and co-workers.
During uncertain economic times, many companies are deciding to attempt to downsize for a short period of time. This often requires less layoffs and focuses the cost re-allocation to the physical property being used as office space. In this case it’s important to get proper storage. If you are considering temporary downsizing ask yourself the following:
What is a realistic amount of time the office will need storage?
What items need to remain readily available for everyday business needs?
Understanding your Space
Asking yourself the right questions when it comes to office space evaluation can make or break your cost cutting efforts during downsizing. It is important to take an inventory of the existing space, understanding not only its capacity but its potential for adaptation. Go into detail with your office lease agreement, exploring the options to minimize square footage being rented. In some cases this might create a need to extend the lease term but could end up being cost effective when considering the implications and expense of total business relocation. Check on your options for subletting to businesses with complimentary services. By allowing other professionals to rent space from you, you may be able to avoid having to make a move while simultaneously expanding your business portfolio. By keeping a cool head during a stressful time, you may be able to save both money and sanity.
With so many opinions, regulations and general paranoia’s about document storage around these days, it can be hard to know what to do. The term compliance can strike fear in the hearts of many, regardless of their industry. But specifically, the health care and financial industries seem to have it the hardest when it comes to backing up their data and creating a world of systems that insures proper maintenance and availability.
At Exodus, we understand that it is not only important to follow the law but to design an organized and efficient world for yourself, your employees and your customers. In most cases, it is advised to have both an archived electronic version of confidential records as well as a physical copy. And as a general rule, it is suggested for both space and security to store these physical documents separately from the place where the work is being done. For this reason we offer constantly monitored, totally secured, climate controlled storage for all your professional document storage needs.
Non compliance is a serious issue and can level some pretty serious fees. In order to avoid this type of legal breakdown its important to ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have tried and tested policies in place for data storage?
What is your current system to protect confidential information such as client and human resource files?
How do you insure that your documents are well maintained and not easily compromised?
If a legal situation occurred would you be able to provide the complete information needed quickly?
Who it’s for: HIPPA effects companies and individuals alike but specifically requires health care services to carefully monitor the way they transmit confidential information between sources and carriers.
Storage Guidelines: HIPPA requires that organizations retain long term patient information and records in a secure environment with limited access in an offsite location.
Noncompliance Penalty: Every state is different but disregarding this act and the provisions therein could produce fines of up to $250k per incident and up to 10 years in prison.
Document storage can be a tricky issue. Every business and every state in the US has different laws about what needs to be saved and for how long. It’s something that every business owner faces. And in general, the larger the business the more storage is needed and the more complex this issue can become. Keeping good records is just part of it all, because over time, the sheer volume of paperwork can begin to turn an otherwise organized workspace into a cluttered and unpleasant world in which productivity and order have become a thing of the past.
But in an effort to help our clients stay happy in their office space, we are proud to offer superior storage options. This includes climate controlled storage which is by far one of the most effective ways to protect those extremely valuable pieces of paper. Keeping them away from the elements and in top condition for the many years they must be held onto is of vital importance. And while there are many area specific rules governing just exactly how long this period of time is, the following are some general rules based on the type of document storage being done.
Storing Financial Documents
Most people know that financial documents should be stored for 7 years. Keeping this in the back of your mind, there are several exceptions to this rule. Some things can be kept for less time such as time cards and other earning records which are required to be stored for only 3 years. Also, paperwork such as trial balances and expense reports must be kept for 6 years. But some financial records are legally required to be made available by a company 8 years after the date of issue such as canceled checks. It is also good to keep things such as end of the year financial statements on hand for the indefinable amount of time which is the entire life of the business itself. Also an important thing to remember about all financial forms that are stored electronically is that they are required to be submitted in a physical form. This builds a pretty strong case for taking the printed materials you already have and deciding its time to get some document storage space.
Human Resources Paperwork
While individual applications for employment should be kept on file for 3 years from the date of original application, the general rule of thumb for most types of personnel files is 7 years. While many consider 6 years to be a safe time frame to store documents such as personnel files, expired contracts and disability reports, they can be requested and admissible in court up to 7 years after their original date of issue.
Insurance Document Storage
Insurance forms inhabit the full spectrum of possibility with regard to how long they need to be kept. The range can vary based on the type of document from 4 to 10 years. Already settled insurance claims must be stored for 10 years, while documents such as fire inspection reports must legally be held onto for 6 years. But when in doubt, if your business is in possession of any non company related financial or insurance related form, it is a good idea to store these documents for 5 years to avoid legal hang ups and to make sure that its being held onto for a long enough duration.
A key consideration for any kind of business, large or small, can be document management. By definition this is the process by which an individual or organization manages the collection, storage and destruction of all its records. In recent years as a result of advancing compliance ordinance as well as the true dawning of the computer age as a somewhat mandatory way of conducting business, document management has become an even more important thing to streamline.
While there are many ways to manage documents, in this modern corporate environment of technology, many companies have created systems of virtual document management. With the possibility of system failures and computer crashes of all kinds, this is sometimes not always the best option. But many smaller businesses still use a system that consists of partial electronic and partial physical paper storage. In many ways it is safer to do both. At Exodus, we are happy to offer space for these physical docs in our climate controlled storage units in order to ensure their complete safety from the elements. We would love to help you make more space in your office for the people and the work that are most valuable to it. But there are some things you may want to consider before making the decision to find a new home for your trail of paper.
Choose A Good Place
In the context of every office, fire, theft and water damage are a continuous worry. Also, an abundance of humidity can be the death of document strength. It is important when considering storage to find a facility that is climate controlled in order to minimize the possibility of damage. By doing this you will be able to keep access to your important paperwork while maintaining the highest level of environmental security.
Priorities in Printing
If you are considering printing documents to store for the long term in physical form, it’s a good idea to think about paper quality. A good rule of thumb is to seek a more neutral or alkaline based paper as acidic papers and inks alike deteriorate over time. In order to keep your documents in top form, we recommend selecting permanent paper since it is not made from wood pulp. Also make sure to avoid sticky substances on things such as post it notes while storing your items as these are also highly acidic in nature and will destroy your documents over time.
Avoid Plastic Boxes
There are pros and cons to using paper and plastic boxes to store your documents. It may seem logical to store your paper in moveable plastic Tupperware containers because of their waterproof nature. But because of this, paper contents are often subject to heat and humidity collection. In contrast while paper boxes will let your documents “breath” they are not fireproof. Despite their weight and size, for the safest option we recommend storing all important paperwork in traditional filing cabinets.