7 ways to tackle stress in the workplace

Scan Film or Store - 7 ways to tackle stress in the workplaceHi there! How are you today? No, don’t just say “fine” without thinking. How are you really? Might you be just a little bit stressed? Or even a lot stressed?

Government figures show that in 2016-17, over half a million workers in the UK were suffering from work-related stress, depression and anxiety. This caused 12.5 million working days to be lost. Which means stress doesn’t just suck for the people who are feeling it but for the companies they work for too.

So is there anything that can be done? Of course there is! If you run a business – or a team within a business – you’re in a unique position to change the culture and reduce stress in the workplace. Which makes you something of a superhero really.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1) Think flexi

Chaining your team to their desks from 9am to 5pm really isn’t the ideal way to get the most out of them. Some people are early birds who will be much more effective on an 8-4 arrangement. Others will be happier if they can squash their weekly hours into four days so they can have Fridays off. Still others will be far more productive if they can work from home. Flexible working can seriously reduce people’s stress levels, so ask your team about what might suit them. Even the fact that you’re asking will help them feel like they’re being looked after.

2) Get people moving

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels. Even something as simple as a walk at lunchtime can help people clear their heads, get mental space from their inbox and their deadlines, and get those endorphins pumping to raise wellbeing levels. We’re not suggesting you turf them all out in the cold a couple of times a day, but why not get a lunchtime walk club started, or sponsor their gym passes?

3) Have an open door policy

Here’s a little pop quiz for you. If someone in your team is stressed, are they likely to:

A: Come and talk to you about it

B: Moan to their other half about stressful work is

C: Pour a stiff G&T (or three)

D: Do nothing and carry on regardless

If the answer isn’t A, you need to do something about it. You can’t fix problems you don’t know about, right? People need to know they can talk to you about their stress levels without it impacting their status in the business.

4) Get your filing system sorted

Seriously, it’s bothering your staff – not to mention kicking their productivity levels down a notch or two and actually costing you money. Need proof? Research shows that a third of office employees see searching for documents as “difficult” or “frustrating”, with 42% saying it takes up to 15 minutes to find a document or file. Just think about that. If someone were to search for 16 files in the course of the day, they’d have spent half their time in the office doing that!

[Plug time! If you need help creating a filing system that is anything but stressful, get in touch – if we do say so ourselves, we’re really, really good at organising stuff. We can store your physical documents and deliver them back as you need them, or scan them and create a digital archive. Or both. Both is always a good option.]

5) Ban desk lunches

There are so many reasons why eating your lunch while you work is bad for your wellbeing. Firstly, you don’t get a break. Secondly, you don’t get to socialise. Thirdly, you don’t actually get to taste and enjoy your food. Banning desk lunches might seem extreme but it will show your team that you prioritise their wellbeing over the need to get stuff done. Consider creating a break out space in your office where people can eat and chat, or why not organise a weekly event like a bring and share lunch or pizza party?

6) Say thank you

Sometimes we all have to work hard. That in itself doesn’t have to be stressful. If you manage the situation properly then powering through an important project together can actually help your team bond and feel proud as they achieve a big win. But if you don’t encourage them along the way, recognise their efforts and say thank you at the end… well, you probably won’t get the same level of effort next time. Saying thank you is easy. Saying sorry is harder.

7) Lead by example

If you want your kids to eat vegetables and you’re busy scoffing an ice cream, you’re fighting a losing battle. And since leadership is a lot like parenting, the same principle applies in the office. Are you stressed? Are you doing what you can to reduce your stress levels? Remember that old example of putting on your own oxygen mask before you help others. You can’t help your team if you’re stuck at home recovering from a breakdown.

Reducing stress levels will improve your team’s productivity and make your office a nicer place to work. Which is good news for everyone. So think about whether you could implement one of more of these suggestions, then ask your team what else they’d like to see change.

Why shredding isn’t enough – and what the alternatives are

Shredded document - data security - blog post from Scan Film or StoreData security is a pretty important subject, as we think you’ll agree. Whether it’s personal bank details or highly classified company secrets, letting certain documents fall into the wrong hands is a very bad idea. At best, you’re left looking a bit stupid, at worst a breach like that could cost you millions.

“Yes, yes,” we hear you say. “We haven’t been living under a rock. We KNOW you can’t just chuck sensitive paperwork in the bin. But it’s all ok because we have (adopt reverent tone)… a shredder.”

Ah, the humble shredder. Such a fun office toy. There’s something mesmerising about feeding the tiny plastic beast with its chomping metal teeth and its mechanical growl. It’s like having a guard dog, in a way – you keep it supplied with enough paper and away from rogue staples, and in return it makes sure that no one gets their hands on your data.

Except we’re sorry to say that a shredder is about as effective a guard dog as an overly friendly beagle.

Shredding, only better

Don’t get us wrong, shredding is a good start. Definitely better than bundling up your top secret documents and sending them first class to your local tabloid newspaper. But a standard high street shredder simply spits out relatively wide strips of paper. Which, given enough time, concentration and patience, someone with nimble fingers could stick back together. We’ve seen it on enough episodes of CSI.

So, is there an alternative? Why yes, as it happens, there is.

Professional shredding – by which we mean shredding that is certified to BS15713:2009 standards, as ours is – does a completely irreversible job.

We start by cross shredding the paper so that its reduced to confetti rather than strips. And then, just to be sure, we pulp it so there really is no way anyone could read it. That pulp is then used in the manufacture of soft tissue products, so it’s green too, which makes us happy.

Bringing out the big guns

Of course, there are other physical items you might need to destroy which are’t made of paper. Things like microfilm and microfiche. These are definitely not shreddable – the whole point is that the images they contain are super tiny, so at best a shredder might cut one in half. Which means you’ll still be able to see the pictures or read the words they contain.

Instead what we do with microfiche and microfilm is incinerate it. This process is distinctly more complex than sticking it on a bonfire in the parking lot. Microfilm incineration is definitely something you want to leave to the professionals.

CDs and DVDs do get shredded, but obviously not with a standard paper shredder. Ours reduces the discs to small and entirely unreadable fragments that can then be recycled.

And then there’s magnetic computer tape – the kind you get in back up tapes – which we can either shred, incinerate or degauss. No, we’re not sneezing; degaussing is a process that removes the magnetic charge from a tape so you can’t read it any more. It got its name from the word gauss, which is a unit of magnetism that in turn was named after a German mathematician. Every day’s a school day!

So there you go – lots of ways to destroy stuff so you can’t stick it back together. We’re not suggesting you send us every scrap of paper you no longer need. But if you don’t want anyone to get hold of it – or by law you need to ensure it’s kept confidential – then do give us a shout so we can make sure that destroyed really means destroyed.

Do what you do best and outsource the rest

Scan Film or Store - do what you do best and outsource the restIt was legendary business theorist Peter Drucker who first said, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” And he was a pretty smart guy all round, so his views are not to be dismissed lightly.

It’s a principle that applies to pretty much every business, from start up to multinational. It can save time, money and get better results, and once you adopt the principle you’ll find more and more places it can be profitably applied.

So here are some things we think you could legitimately be outsourcing:

Organising receipts

Receipts – vital little scraps of paper that prove to the tax man that you’ve spent the money you say you have. You keep meaning to sort them out, but they aways end up piling up in your wallet until you can’t actually close it. Or crumpled up in a shoe box somewhere. Or lost. Enough is enough. You need a book keeper. Ideally before you get audited.

Finding documents

No one wants to go in the archive room because it’s dusty and it smells funny. Also, they don’t know where anything is. And frankly, why are you wasting £150 an hour sending highly skilled engineers into questionably safe spaces to find paperwork anyway? It’s time to get yourself an offsite storage facility with barcoding and super fast document delivery services. As it happens, we know just the people (hint: it’s us).

Driving around

No really, hear us out. How much time do you spend stuck in traffic going to meetings and such like? If you could spend that time sitting on a bus or a train or in a taxi actually getting work done, wouldn’t the cost of the fare be less than what you’d achieve? Hm? Think about it. It’s not free when you do something yourself – not if you earn a salary.

Fixing computers

Seriously, this is definitely something you need help with. Bob the sales guy might reckon he’s a dab hand at the old “switch it off and switch it on again” but these days businesses are so tech reliant. Can you afford to have your systems go down? A monthly support contract will almost certainly save you money in the long run. And frustration. And possibly having to spend time in prison after accidentally hitting a passing stranger with a flying laptop.

Your weaknesses

By which we mean, if you’re not great at something then get someone else to do it. So if you’re not especially good with words then get someone in to write your blog for you. If you can’t design for toffee, hire a designer. If you make a terrible cup of coffee, get an intern (kidding!!). Be honest with yourself, and stick within your personal ‘zone of genius’. Your business will thank you for it.

If you need help with document storage – or indeed document scanning, secure data destruction or any of the other services we offer – get in touch today for a quote. You might be surprised at how cost effective it is to outsource some of the jobs you’ve been trying to do in-house all this time.

Warning: GDPR isn’t just an online issue

Alarm clock showing GDPR deadline approachingDo you know what the date is on Sunday? No, don’t start scrabbling for your calendar app, we’ll tell you – it’s the 18th. Which happens to mark two months until GDPR kicks in. Yikes! How did that come about so fast??

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard of the General Data Protection Regulation. But just in case you haven’t, it’s the new law that will be building on the current Data Protection Act (DPA).

Laws, as we know, are complex things. So we’re not going to try and give you an in-depth guide here, ok? For that, you want to check out the guys over at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

We just wanted to remind you of one very important fact: GDPR doesn’t just apply to online data.

So you know those boxes of files you’ve got stored away? (Hopefully nice and neatly in our purpose-build storage facility in Bridgwater, but possibly in a slightly damp and scary storage room where spiders and dust bunnies vie for dominance). Well, they need some attention.

Individual rights covered by GDPR

GDPR is all about protecting people’s personal data. In fact, it gives individuals very specific rights:

  • Right to be informed – in other words, people need to know what you store and how, which is where a privacy policy is important.
  • Right of access – so basically people can check up on what you have on them and what you’re doing with it.
  • Right to rectification – which sounds like a terrifying medical procedure but just means if there’s an error in the data then they can ask for it to be rectified.
  • Right to erasure – also known as the right to be forgotten, so if the data is no longer actively being used then an individual can ask for it to be permanently destroyed or erased if it’s held electronically.
  • Right to restrict processing – a slightly more complex one about being able to store a certain amount of info but not actually use it.
  • Right to data portability – so people should be able to take the data you have on them and use them in other places.
  • Right to object – about specific processing or direct marketing using their data.
  • Rights related to automated decision-making including profiling – a complicated one that’s difficult to summarise so if you’re super interested then have a look here.

How does GDPR affect my archives?

Ok, so what does this mean for you and those box files of archived customer records and invoices from 1972? And why are we bothering you about it when you’d really rather be out on the golf course?

Well in the smallest of nutshells, you need to think about whether any of those boxes might contain personal data. Which includes (but is not restricted to):

  • Personal financial details
  • Medical records
  • Contact details
  • Online identifiers
  • So-called ‘sensitive data’ such as political opinions or trade union membership

If it does, and you don’t have a right to that data, then you might need to consider destroying it. And we don’t just mean sticking it in a black bin bag and waiting for collection day. Secure data destruction is something we take really rather seriously – we shred paper in two different directions and then pulp it so there’s absolutely no way it will end up in the wrong hands.

If you’re within your rights to hold the data, you’ve still got a little more work to do. Because GDPR isn’t just about what you collect and how, it’s also about protection. Which means if anyone can stroll into your archive room and get Jo Bloggs’ postal address and latest utility bill, you’ve got an issue.

Secure document storage will be even more essential than ever in the new GDPR world. You could invest time and resources into giving your current in-house storage a health check. Or you could get in touch with a company like us. Our HQ is alarmed and monitored 24-7, plus it’s environmentally regulated so you don’t need to worry about things like damp or sunlight or anything else that print documents just don’t like.

If you still want to gen up on GDPR in more detail, do check out the ICO’s 12 step guide on how to prepare for GDPR. But if you’re ready to take action and get yourself ready for that deadline in two months, do get in touch and ask the team about our secure data destruction and storage facilities today.

Why we love Scan Film or Store HQ

Scan Film or Store headquarters in Bridgwater, SomersetWe’re feeling a bit nostalgic this month, and all because we’re celebrating a very important anniversary: it’s been five years since we moved in to our beloved HQ. Now that might not seem all that exciting to you; an office is an office, right? Well, not as far as we’re concerned. This is our home and we love it. So here are some things you might not know about Scan Film or Store HQ.

It’s in Bridgwater

Bridgwater may not quite have the prestige of Bristol or Exeter, but it is very well located just off J23 of the M5 in easy reach of both. If you’ve not been to these parts before, Bridgwater is a market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, and is probably most famous for it’s annual Guy Fawkes Carnival, of which Scan Film or Store are a very proud sponsor.

It’s really pretty big

With 2,000 square feet of office space and 9,000 square feet of racking, our little base is actually not so little. Which is a good thing, given that one of the reasons we’re here is to provide storage space for our many clients.

It was purpose built to our specifications

Oh yes, none of this off-the-shelf nonsense for us. We went bespoke when we commissioned our building. Not because we were trying to be flash. It’s just that a dedicated storage unit like ours has particular needs – like down beams that are linked to piles driven into the ground, to support the weight of all the documents we store. The whole floor actually had to be especially designed to take the weight of the paper, and the eaves are 8m high to accommodate the racking.

We’ve got a smashing local

Just over the other side of the motorway is The Puriton Inn, which is where we head if one of the team has a birthday, if we sign a good contract, or if we just can’t face eating soggy ham salad sandwiches again. It does huge portions of homemade food and has one of the best dessert selections in the South West.

It has a great view of Hinkley Point

Being within a stone’s throw of the new power point may or may not strike you as a good thing, but it’s certainly been interesting to watch the infamous project progress. Sadly, we don’t get a discount on our energy bill just because we’re neighbours.

We can watch the elver fishermen at work

For a three month period between mid-February and mid-May, the local river becomes a prime spot for elver fishing. Personally we’re not big fans of baby eels as a food source, but it’s fun to see the fishermen at work in their waders and nets.

If you’d like to see our offices for yourself, why not call us to arrange to drop in and say hello? We’ll give you the tour, a nice cup of tea and maybe even a biscuit if you’re lucky.

9 really easy ways to save time at work

Man multi-tasking to save timeWouldn’t it be great if you could buy time? Imagine being able to stroll into Tesco Express and pick up a jar – or a tube or a roll – of time, just to tide you over when things got a bit busy.

Sadly, buying time isn’t yet possible (we’re sure someone somewhere is working on it). But saving time, now that is possible. Not in a piggy bank, of course. You have to use it in the same sort of linear fashion as everyone else… oh, you know what we mean!

Anyway, here are our top tips for saving time at work.

1) Stop multitasking

You may be very proud of your ability to write an email while having a Skype call, eating a donut and tidying your stationery drawer, but it’s not doing you any favours when it comes to efficiency. Studies have shown that batch tasking – doing a series of similar tasks consecutively – is a much better way to get stuff done, so block out your time, get your head down and power through.

2) Manage your notifications

Did you read our recent post about New Year’s resolutions every business owner should make? If so, you’ll know that the fact that our electronic devices are so keen to tell us what’s going on means we can spend our entire lives fielding notifications. If you’re going to stop multitasking, you’ll need to make sure that you’re not getting interrupted every five seconds by a ping from Facebook, LinkedIn or your email.

3) Digitise your archives

How many hours have you spent scrabbling around in the archive room looking for paperwork you can’t even remember seeing, let alone filing? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could get hold of it at the touch of a button? Going digital by using a document scanning service (ahem, like ours) is a huge time saver, plus you’ll save on storage space too, so it’s a double win.

4) Have standing meetings

This isn’t a joke, promise. No one likes standing up for too long, right? So by banning chairs from your meetings you’ll reduce unnecessary chitter chatter, and everyone will get straight to the point. Result? Shorter meetings and more time for you to get on with other stuff.

5) Work to your personal rhythms

Without getting too science professor on you, there are these things called Circadian Rhythms, which basically control how we feel and behave within a 24 hour period. Listen to your body, work out when you’re most productive – maybe first thing in the morning or just after lunch – and try to do your most complex work then. You’ll zoom through it much faster than if you try when you’re feeling sluggish and no use for anything except drinking tea and possibly doing a gentle Sudoku.

6) Embrace ‘good enough’

This is one for all you perfectionists. You know that report you pretty much finished last week but have been tweaking ever since? SEND IT RIGHT NOW! It may not be perfect, but it is 99% there and that is good enough. So stop wasting time and move on to the next task. (Caveat: Good enough really isn’t good enough if you’re a brain surgeon or bomb disposal officer – in that case, you really need to aim for perfection, ok?)

7) Delegate

Do you really have to do everything on your to do list yourself? Is there someone else who can do some of it? Someone who, dare we say it, can do it quicker and even (gasp) better? Play to your strengths. If that means hiring in outside help – be it someone to handle your blogging or your event planning – you’ll probably find that the cost savings associated with you freeing up your own time will cover it.

8) Get IT support

Speaking of outsourcing… Did you know that the average business person working 40 hours a week spends 22 minutes a day sorting out computer issues? That’s 88 hours a year! Just think what you could do with that time if you had a dedicated techie to work out why all your emails since August have disappeared, rather than trying to do it yourself.

9) Say no

Of course, the very simplest way to save time is to be really, really stingy about how you spend it. Get into the habit of saying, “I’ll just check my schedule” when people ask if you can do something or invite you to an event. That way, you don’t have to say no to their face and you can work out a really great excuse if you don’t want to accept.

Good luck, and if there’s anything we can do to help (hint: number 3 is a bit of a specialism of ours) then do get in touch.

How choosing local businesses can benefit yours

Small businessHave you ever thought about whether choosing local businesses as suppliers can benefit your own business?

There’s something about the start of a new year that makes us a little bit philosophical. Perhaps it’s the feeling of new beginnings, that sense of starting afresh with a blank slate, ready for the next 12 months of adventure. Or it could, admittedly, be too much Christmas pudding and sherry.

Either way, the thing we’ve been mulling over recently is the whole question of multinational vs independent local business.

Because as a local business ourselves, we’re really rather proud about how much small businesses contribute to the local economy.

Over 99% of business in the UK are classed as small (in other words, with less than 49 staff) which is quite something when you think about it. In fact, around 76% of businesses don’t employ anyone at all aside from the owner, which means that even the really tiny sole trader business are absolutely vital.

Sadly the multinational conglomerates, with their endless pots of cash, can buy the kind of marketing that often overshadows the humble local business. Which is a shame, because we really believe there are some sound reasons why choosing a local business can actually be good for your own business.

Here are three of them:

1) You’ll benefit from easy access

As a time-pushed business owner, you don’t want to be trekking up to London to meet your accountant or getting on a plane to sit down with your marketing agency, right? Being able to get face-to-face with your suppliers quickly and easily is definitely a bonus of choosing a local business. It’s also better for the environment, whether you’re looking at your own transport or that of any goods being shipped. And in the case of document storage – our particular passion, in case you’d missed that – it’s an awful lot easier to access your files quickly if they’re nearby in the South West rather than up north somewhere.

2) You’ll build important networks

There’s nothing like a local business community. So many small businesses live and die by referrals they get from people they’ve met at local networking events, exhibitions, conferences and the like. By choosing to work with other small, local businesses, you’ll almost certainly find your services being used in return. It’s a symbiotic relationship that can only be good for the economy and for everybody’s bottom line.

3) You’ll discover great quality

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Just because a company has fancy offices in London, New York and Singapore, doesn’t mean they’re actually going to produce work that’s of a better quality than Nearby & Sons down the road. Local businesses are often started by very passionate, very skilled people who genuinely want to help their clients and build something they can be proud of. There’s more accountability, more personal pride and often more attention to detail.

And of course, there’s the feel good factor of knowing that you’re contributing to the local economy, and stopping the world descending into a bland monopoly of faceless corporations. You can’t really beat that, can you?

7 New Year’s resolutions every business owner should make for 2018

sfs-new-year-resolutionGosh, where did the time go? It feels like we were just enjoying Wimbledon the other week. And yet here we are, about to dive into a whole new year. Which can only mean one thing: it’s New Year’s resolution time. If you’re a business owner, we’ve had a few ideas about what you could tackle in 2018 that will actually benefit you and your business. Let us know if you think of anything else.

New Year’s Resolution #01: Set a vision for the year

First things first: there is no point setting yourself a bunch of arbitrary goals if you don’t know where you’re going. And don’t just say ‘forward’ or something silly like that. You know as well as we do that setting a strong vision at the beginning of the year will motivate not just you but your entire team. So give it some thought. And don’t forget to tell the rest of them or they’ll get very lost indeed.

New Year’s Resolution #02: Declutter

You know you’ve been putting it off. That storage room is a hazard to anyone who dares venture beyond the first stack of archive boxes. It’s time to decide what can be destroyed, what can be scanned, and what can be stored off site. Don’t wait until spring. You’re a business leader – be ahead of your time! Get it done now. You’ll feel smug when March rolls around.

New Year’s Resolution #03: Turn off all IT notifications

You know what it’s like when you’re just getting your head around the latest P&L forecast, and suddenly: ping! You’ve got an email. It’s from Susan in HR, and judging by the shouty capital letters in the subject line she doesn’t sound pleased. Notifications are the enemy of productivity. Turn them off. That means social media too. If Susan needs you that urgently, she can come and talk to you in person.

New Year’s Resolution #04: Start taking a lunch break

We don’t mean to sound like your mum, but are you getting enough rest? And decent food? You won’t be particularly productive if you’re running on empty you know. And no, coffee doesn’t count. Get a sandwich into you! And go eat it outside. We don’t care if it’s cold, that’s what coats are for – you need a screen break.

New Year’s Resolution #05: Introduce flexible working

This is super trendy at the moment, so if you’re looking for good boss bonus points then this is the way to go. It’s actually a win-win staffing strategy too. Your team will be less stressed and more productive if they can work hours that suit them better, and you’ll attract more (and potentially better) candidates when hiring. Plus it’s an excuse to knock off early on a Friday, which is always nice.

New Year’s Resolution #06: Go paperless

Another worthy cause, and a tick on the environmental responsibility checklist. Again though, this is not just about looking good. Going paperless – by switching to a digital filing system, for example (less-than-subtle plug: we can help with this) – will actually save you time and money. So everyone is happy. Except maybe your stationery supplier.

New Year’s Resolution #07: Learn to delegate

Finishing with a corker, aren’t we? No matter how big your team, there are probably jobs you do that someone else could do just as well, right? Perhaps even better? Sitting at your desk until 8pm every evening doesn’t make you successful, you know. It makes you tired. And grumpy. Just ask your PA.

If you’ve got a goal for 2018 that we can help with, drop us line. Or come and see us. We might even let you have some of our left over Quality Street. See you soon!

Why Santa loves us and other festive testimonials

sfs-santaWe work with some brilliant clients and we like to think they’re all pretty happy with the work we do for them. But every now and then we get a testimonial through that really warms our hearts. And this time of year seems to generate an influx of them for some reason.

Whatever the case, we thought you might like to find out why some of our favourite clients enjoy working with us and how we’ve managed to solve their particular challenges. We think you’ll rather enjoy these…

Document storage – Chris Cringle (aka Santa Claus, aka Father Christmas), founding director, North Pole Enterprises

“I was absolutely drowning in paperwork when someone suggested I give the team at Scan Film or Store a ring. The North Pole might be pretty roomy, but if you think about how long I’ve been in this game, you can imagine that even the most extensive headquarters might get a little crowded. The elves were getting fed up of rooting around in the archives to find historic Naughty & Nice lists, and I was worried that before long we’d lose one of them to a toppling box of candy cane receipts.

“The Scan Film or Store team came out to take a look around, and promptly provided me with a very reasonable quote for document storage. They helped us getting everything packed, and even brought their own sturdy boxes. Now they’re tucked away safely in the company’s Bridgwater warehouse, cleverly barcoded so if I should happen to need a copy of my sleigh MOT certificate, they can quickly find it and get it sent over. I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’re definitely going to be getting an extra special gift in their Christmas stockings this year.”

Document scanning – Ebenezer Scrooge, credit broker, Past Present & Future Ltd

“I’ve always found the idea of paying out for off site storage space an utter waste of money. I’ve got a perfectly good office, after all, and if Cratchit can’t find anything then it’s his fault for being a useless clerk. Though I shouldn’t be too hard on him, as it was he who brought Scan Film or Store to my attention.

“This rather remarkable group of people took one look at my archive – most of which I don’t actually need in its original form, as it turns out – and told me I could reduce it all via document scanning to digital files which would take up no room at all. Even though there was an initial outlay, I am forced to admit that it’s been well worth it. Not only is it much easier to keep a close eye on who owes me what now that I can access their files at the touch of a button, I’m also cashing in on that extra space by renting it out to local business folk. And Cratchit complains a lot less.”

Data conversion – The Snowman, holiday rep, Scandi Travel Inc

“I’ve done an awful lot of travelling in my life, mainly around northern Europe – Norway, Iceland, that sort of place. Anywhere with snow, I guess. It’s the cold I really like. You can’t beat that frosty air, the nip at your nose. The only thing I enjoy as much as a holiday is photography. From stunning snowscapes to family gatherings, I’ll snap pretty much anything.

“Of course, I’ve been doing this for long enough now that a lot of my collection isn’t easily accessible. It’s hard to find a proper slide projector these days. That’s why I was so pleased when my friend Chris referred me to Scan Film or Store. In no time at all they were able to transfer all my old analogue travel slides and even Christmas home movies into digital format thanks to their data conversion services. The other snowmen and snowwomen are going to be thrilled when I fire up the laptop at this year’s Christmas gathering!”

Gosh, it makes us quite emotional reading back over those lovely testimonials. Because we really do love to help our clients achieve their goals, no matter what they are. If there’s anything we can do to help you achieve yours, do let us know. In the meantime, happy Christmas!

Scan or store? How to choose the right option for your business

SFS scan vs store - document storage and scanningAs you can tell from our name, here at Scan Film or Store we offer both document scanning and document storage services (among other things). While choice is always a good thing, it does pose a potential dilemma to clients who aren’t sure which option is the right one for them.

We’re always happy to sit down with people and work out a plan that suits their particular business needs. But in the meantime, we’ve come up with this list of questions to get you thinking about the kinds of things that will help you decide which route to go down.

1) How often do you need to access your records?

This is the first and most important question you should be asking yourself. If you need information on a daily basis, having your records stored off site – even if it is just down the road – will be a nightmare. In fact, even storing them on site can be a waste of time if you or one of your team is spending half their working day in the archive room ferreting around in dusty boxes for whatever is needed. Far easier to have everything scanned so you can access it at the touch of a button.

2) How quickly do you need to be able to access your records?

If your answer to question one is “not very often”, off site storage could be the answer for you. However it may be that when you do need a document, you need to be able to get your hands on it really quickly. In that case, you either need to make sure your storage company is local and able to provide a rapid delivery service (which we do, in case you were wondering). Or you’re better off getting your documents scanned so you eliminate any wait time. This is especially important if your internal processes or quality systems require you to be able to produce certain documents within a specific time frame.

3) Will you be required to produce an original at any point?

There are some documents that are only valid in their original hard copy form. For example, in the aerospace industry, if a Certificate of Conformity were to be needed, only the original would do. In this case it is important that the documents are securely stored, ideally with the environmental controls and security checks that a professional storage company like Scan Film or Store can offer.

4) How long do you need to keep your records?

There are some archive documents – like financial records and pupil files – which you’re unlikely ever to use again but which you might be required by law to keep for a certain period of time. In that case you will need to store the originals, and a professional off site storage company almost certainly offers the best security for this kind of important document. If you also need frequent or very fast access to these documents, however, you might want to consider getting them scanned as well.

5) Do you prefer to send documents electronically or by post?

If you want – or need – to send your documents by post, you can either photocopy your hard copy originals or print out copies from electronic ones. So either scanning or storing would work. But if you’re going to be sending them electronically then it makes sense to have your documents stored electronically, rather than having to scan hard copies before they can be sent. In this case, scanning will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

6) Will your documents need to be destroyed at any point?

If you’re holding onto documents simply because you’re legally required to, you will most likely want to destroy them once you’re allowed to do so. Boxes of paper files are more easily destroyed, especially if you track boxes by date, which we do here at Scan Film or Store with our special barcoding system. Electronic data (ie scanned archives) can be harder to keep track of, which can make destruction that bit more complex, especially if you keep backups on different servers.

7) What’s your budget?

In the short term, scanning is more expensive than storage. So if cost is an issue, you might want to consider getting your documents stored. However, take the time to work out your longer term calculations. Because while scanning is a bigger initial outlay, it’s not ongoing in the same way as the monthly rental cost of off site storage. And don’t be fooled into thinking that your best bet is storing everything in your own premises. When you work out the cost of your rent or the maintenance of your own premises, you’d be surprised at how reasonable professional storage actually is.

If you’re still not quite sure whether you need to scan your documents, store them, or go for a combination of the two, give us a call. One of the team will be able to talk you through some more individual questions to help you figure out the perfect solution for your business or organisation.

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