The True Cost of Paper Storage

Filing cabinet

Oct 9, 2019

According to Eco-efficiency, 50%-70% of office space is used for storing paper, which is just absurd, isn't it? However, if you take a look around your work space and observe all the nooks and crannies where paper has been stuffed, the file cabinets built into every employee's desk, and other traditional archival systems, you may have to concede that the statement is true, possibly even to the extent of the higher figure.

What is this figure costing your business, though? The financial implication of paper storage cost is the main issue and motivates companies to seek out ways to mitigate these costs. Here we will show you how to calculate your storage costs and the financial association that different solutions can offer.

What current storage methods does your office use?

File cabinets, hanging folders, storage boxes - these are the most common physical storage options used in offices.  No matter how optimally they are positioned in your office, they all take up space. Count up all of these main document depositories and measure their area. For example, a 4-drawer file cabinet takes up an average of 17 square feet of office space. Once you know how many square feet these objects account for, consider your monthly office rent costs. If your rent costs $3 per square feet per month then you can calculate how much your current storage options costs your business each year.

Do you utilize offsite document storage facilities?

Some companies see offsite storage facilities as a solution to the problem posed above. After all, offsite facilities are typically not near city centers so they can afford to charge less for square footage. Though they cost less and grant you more space in your office, the initial quote given by the offsite facility is often misleading due to the additional fees that accompany the actual management of your documents. There are charges for transporting information, re-boxing files, scanning papers, and document destruction. If you readily need your documents then you might choose to keep those paper you deem important in your office, offsetting the solution if offsite storage. Or you may choose to have your files shipped back in forth on a weekly basis, and whether transported digitally or physically, this will cost you more in the long-term. Calculate all these costs and average the number of times the offsite facility transports, destroys, or scans your documents.

What are the associated costs of physical storage methods?

Traditional physical document systems like file cabinets and hanging folders require employees to manually interact with papers and files. This aspect contributes to 7.5% of files being lost and 1 out of 5 documents being misfiled. The average employee spends 4 weeks each year looking for documents, and reproducing a lost document can take up to 25 hours. Since time is money, these lost hours can be very costly for a business. A more severe consequence of storing information in a tangible form is the fragility of physical documents. Should a fire or flood occur and damage your archives, your business might not be able to recover. More than 70% of today's companies would fail within 3 weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper based records, according to DocuSign, Inc.

What is the true solution to paper storage?

A digital document management system is the only solution to business' growing paper problem. The cost of digitally storing your information is sure to be drastically less than the figure you just calculated your physical storage to be costing your business. The real benefits, however, lie in the capabilities of a document management solution. Documents can be automatically retrieved and filed, leading to less confusion and lost information. Depending on the system you choose, you can also capture content, track your files, share information, and edit your documents without needing to print anything. While accessibility and innovation are often the main allure of a digital system, the security of a document management system should be overlooked.

Our final question: Do you want to have it all? Our document management solutions prioritize security, improve accessibility, and contain all the intuitive features you need to efficiently control your business information. 

Visit our document management solutions page to learn more OR Contact Us to schedule an On-site Demo! 

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