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Top 6 Ways to Save Storage Space in the Workplace

Whether you are one of the masses still working from home, heading back to the office or a combination of both - hybrid working - managing the space in your workplace can often be a challenge. Add social distancing to the mix - in some countries of the UK the 2m guideline has been retained - and it can be even harder to find the extra space needed.

archive storage

Even though it is no longer a rule to maintain a 2m distance between desks in an office, or allow for it in a warehouse environment, many businesses are continuing to retain the guideline in an effort to reduce the potential of staff being off work due to Covid.

With as many as 30% of the UK's workforce continuing to work from home or adopting a hybrid working environment, some businesses have taken the decision to downsize their office or warehouse space, or move to smaller, more cost-effective options.

This only adds to the pressure of finding enough storage space. So, here are our top 6 ways to save storage space in the workplace, whether it's a warehouse, a commercial office or your personal office at home.

Maximising your storage space - the Pareto Principle

Sometimes it's hard to see the 'wood for the trees' when it comes to making the most of the storage space you have available. A task for office and warehouse managers is to assess how effectively the space is being used and a good way to determine this is by using the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 rule.

The Pareto Principle can be applied to numerous scenarios at home and in the workplace. For example, 80% of output comes from 20% of input; 20% of tools are used in 80% of tasks. When applied to commercial storage or industrial storage, it is often found that 80% of activity originates from 20% of stored items. So, in a warehouse, those 20% of items are the companies' most popular, i.e. the biggest movers. This means ensuring the products that are requested the most are at the front or are the easiest to access in your warehouse industrial racking or commercial shelving.

The same applies to office environments; the files that are accessed the most need to be nearest to staff desks compared to archived files that can be stored elsewhere.

Top 6 ways to save storage space

office space

  1. Declutter - let's be honest here; most people collect clutter. It's human nature; we might just need it for something at a later date. Truth is, we probably don't. Decluttering - we don’t mean just moving things around on the desk or stuffing boxes full of outdated documents under the desk or nearest shelves - we mean clearing out desks, chairs, storage units, heavy duty racking or anything else not being used, or hasn't been used in a while. Decluttering clears floor space, providing a better picture of how the space available is being used.
  2. Rearrange the workplace space - If you are planning a declutter, it may be time also to assess how your workspace is being utilised and if there are any space-saving hacks you can implement. For example, you may try incorporating desks or workbenches with cupboards. In an industrial setting you could choose workbenches on wheels, this will allow you to move them to suit different work projects. You may think about swapping standard-sized desks for cantilever office desks in the office area and using extra space for business storage units.
  3. Use the wall space - go up rather than out; there are so many different storage options available today that provide alternatives to the traditional stand-alone storage unit. Free up vital floor space using commercial storage units, industrial shelving units and warehouse racking. Workshops and warehouses lend themselves to pallet racking or cantilever racking that can be interlocking and adjustable, enabling the expansion or reduction of racking needed depending on changing requirements. In an office environment, rather than storing office supplies in a storage unit, consider a much narrower, and higher, shelving system. Archive storage is particularly suited to storage shelving that can be freestanding against a wall or fixed in place, designed to hold heavy-duty archive boxes. Mobile shelving may also be a good solution.
  4. Use storage containers that fit your needs, rather than the space - it's often the case that storage containers sitting on shelving are chosen to fit the space available, rather than fitting the items to be stored. For example, if you have four boxes of the same size sitting on a shelf, but two of them are only a quarter or half full, or the items being stored are either obsolete or could be incorporated into another storage box, it’s a waste of valuable space. Consider your inventory, or draw down a usage report from the warehouse management system. Assess what is being used most frequently or items that could be combined and re-labelled and rearrange your storage space accordingly.
  5. Consider off-site storage - one of the biggest storage problems is storing archived documents. We've seen plenty of offices, as well as workshops and warehouses, with archive boxes stored on the floor, stacked three or four high. If storage space really is at a premium and there isn't the space, or wall, to add shelving or racking to house archived storage, consider using a dedicated off-site storage solution. For any business, certain historical documents must be retained by law, or there are files that need to be referred to occasionally. Storing them off-site in a secure facility nearby ensures that not only are they kept safe, but also frees up storage space in any office, workshop or warehouse environment.
  6. Install a mezzanine floor - These are great as storage platforms if you are in need of extra space, or can be used to make extra workstations, walkways, or office space. Projects can be as small as 3m x 2m or larger than 60m x 40m, and up to 6+ metres tall, although the most common height tends to be 2.4-2.5m clear underside. They can be one, two or even three tiers high, have all-steel or special glazed, wooden or wire formed retail/office looking staircases, lifts or access gates, handrails or partitioning barriers. They can use chipboard or steel decking, be finished in special colours, fire-rated and can be totally encased with suspended ceilings/fascias etc. if desired. In fact, almost any conceivable option can be incorporated, so whatever your requirements we are sure we can design a solution to suit you.

supermarket mezzanine floor

ESE Direct is a leading supplier of products for businesses, schools, colleges and universities, workshops, warehouses and manufacturing industries. With a wide and diverse range of products, more than 40 years' of knowledge and experience in the industry, a bespoke design and installation service and exceptional customer service, you can trust ESE Direct.

Browse our website or call us today. Choosing storage boxes may seem boring, but when it comes to storage - space matters. We're here to help you make the most out of every inch of your workplace and reap the rewards this can bring.

Photograph of Debs

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