Personal storage bucks the trend
According to a 2016 study by AIIM, one in four businesses now runs a clear/paper-free environment, up from 19% in 2015. Nearly half (43%) say paper is decreasing in their organisation, either somewhat (35%) or rapidly (8%). With the paper-free movement seemingly still going strong, is there still a need for filing cabinets?
Jonathan Hindle, group managing director, KI EMEA, confirms that digitalisation and shrinking paper volumes have led to a decline in demand for hard copy storage, but says filing cabinets are still required in some sectors.
“With shifting preferences towards ‘paperless offices’, the importance of the classic filing cabinet has declined. However, this is less pronounced in sectors such as legal, professional services and accounting where auditing and hard copies of documents are still required. The digitalisation of many parts of our lives has, of course, reduced the need for so many paper filing systems and the footprint they occupy,” he said.
Steve Bays, managing director of Century Office, has also seen a shift occur in the last decade.
“Sales in this area have reduced drastically over the last ten years, with paper-free offices becoming more and more popular to reduce the environmental impacts of refuse disposal,” he said.
While sales of filing cabinets are down, demand for lockers has been growing, driven by changes in working practices, notably the trend for hotdesking. Bays says that with employees sharing and shifting between different classic filing cabinet personal and lockable storage that remains separate to a desk has become more important.
Hindle, too, points to a rise in personal storage to support more agile and flexible working. He said: “With the rapid growth of ubiquitous connectivity, flexible and remote working has become the norm for many, so when they do come together in office environments, people need somewhere to anchor themselves without the luxury of an assigned desk and pedestal.”
The shift to personal storage solutions has led to new opportunities for KI, which now offers RFID and connected locks to help manage the use of private storage. “Personal lockers, cupboards and even conversions of legacy systems to accommodate this new way of working are creating several opportunities for us,” explained Hindle.
“The integration of RFID-enabled locking systems is of particular interest to customers who wish to create a flexible, user-friendly and easy to manage facility that supports any kind of workstyle. Unlike systems that are built into an office fit-out, our wireless, battery-operated locks allow immediate reconfiguration possibilities should a company need to change its office scheme. This key advantage has been of interest to savvy customers who understand that being able to redesign a workspace quickly and easily gives them an advantage over enforcing a rigid floorplan.”
Hindle added: “With Wi-Fi integration, these locks are easy to manage and, more importantly, to audit. A facilities manager, for example, can remotely monitor exactly how storage is being used and make smarter decisions about procuring the appropriate amount of furniture and placing it intelligently around their office estate. Particularly for global companies, this means a seamless and uniform system for both user access and facilities management across their entire real estate portfolio.”