Document imaging and scanning is not your problem

SNAP! Document imaging and scanning is not your problem There are some things that are nice to have in-house. A good coffee machine for instance, or a marketing team, or that superb administrator, Derek, the one with the great hair. Other things it might be better to outsource, such as your logistics, your accounts or a second administrator called Evan with even better hair. One task you should almost certainly not be worrying about is document imaging and scanning. Honestly, we’ve cracked this one and we’re pretty excited about it. Here’s why:

You don’t need to fix anything

Nothing cries time-sink quite like preparing all your documents before you scan them. Sure, you’ll save a bit of cash if you don’t give us any duplicates, but otherwise we’ll repair any damage, remove staples and fixings. We can de-skew and de-speckle (a wonderful word that should be used more often), standardise orientation, remove coloured backgrounds and optimise brightness and contrast. Why would you want to do any of that yourself?

You don’t need to restrict yourself

We dare you to find a document we can’t scan. Colour, greyscale, black and white, single, double-sided, paper, Mylar blueprint or transparent. We’re seasoned in everything from invoices to technical drawings, from till receipts to A0 architectural plans. There’s also no limit on length either. We’ve scanned documents up to 25 feet long! If you’ve ever wanted to see a Canon Oce TC4XT in action, you can watch our large format scanner take on the big stuff

You also don’t need to be concerned about the digital formatting. Once the documents are scanned, we can create digital images in pdf, pdf/a, .tif or .jpg format. We’ll provide a full indexing service and optical character recognition so you can locate your documents in digital filing cabinets and search their contents quickly. The time and cost of retrieving documents will be significantly reduced, which means you have more resources to invest elsewhere.

Worry-free scanning of your documents

Even the best laid plans can sometimes go astray, unless of course you’re ISO 9001 and BS10008 accredited (we are). You can be certain of accurate, high-quality results by from us. We only use top-quality Kodak and Canon Oce equipment that could be called an extravagance, but we’ve made it our standard procedure.  

Once scanned, you’ll get your data on a portable hard drive (or CD/DVD, should you choose) with up to 30 days’ free storage for your originals while you check over the database. We can embed bespoke software into the drive so you can retrieve any document at the click of your fingers (note: the hard drive does not literally respond to finger-snapping).

You don’t need to let it leave your site

If security restrictions prevent you removing papers from your premises, or if you feel particularly sentimental about a set of invoices and want to watch them grow up to be digital files, we can provide a complete scanning service at your site. We can even give you a CD, DVD or portable hard drive of the digital documents immediately, so nothing leaves your side.

So while it would be really exciting for you to try this at home, we suggest you’re better off letting the professionals get to work on it, even if we have to come to your home to do it. If you need more convincing check out our case studies of how we have scanned for companies like Rolls Royce, or get in touch with us today. 

Document digitisation and the end of the world as you know it

Document digitisation: a young memory card helps an ageing floppy discIn the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams described a place at the end of time where you could sip champagne while watching the Big Bang happening in reverse. A pretty good evening’s entertainment, but not quite as explosive (or should that be implosive?) as the moment that is taking place before our eyes right now.

The digital revolution is causing both excitement and concern, innovation and re-entrenchment. Thanks to document digitisation, vast archives can be searched in seconds, shared without leaving your laptop and documents need never leave a physical trace. It’s quite the spectacle. While our waiter brings you your choice of fine wine and this evening’s band strikes up a tune, let us pull back the curtain and entreat you to enjoy the end of the world as you know it.

Everything becomes data

Document digitisation allows all your archives to sit in the palm of your hand. You may choose to keep your original hard copies, or you can wave sayonara to them once they have become data. You’re going to have so much space in your empty offices, you’ll finally have room to swing that cat that’s been getting on your nerves. One day you’ll be able to upload the feline as well. 

A click away

Have you ever unfolded an A0 technical drawing on your desk? There isn’t much desk left. Storing the thing throws up even more complications. But now they and everything from everyday reports and invoices through to ancient archives and military blueprints can be accessed on a laptop, tablet or even a phone. This isn’t a security issue either, since they can be encrypted beyond the sight of prying eyes. We can scan anything for you and although we haven’t yet scanned the kitchen sink, you might be able to get running water from your phone someday soon. 

No out-of-date analogue

Analogue is gripping the cliff edge by its fingertips in the form of DVDs, CDs and Blu-Ray. But much material has already fallen into the ravine and been trampled by a stampede of wildebeest. The good news is that we can silence Scar’s laughter and bring back Mufasa – taking VHS, cassettes, Betamax, reel-to-reel, cine, video and floppy disks, then releasing this captured material into the wild again with digital technology. 

What you could once only listen to in an 80s car stereo, you can now enjoy pretty much anywhere. Digital transfers made like this don’t get damaged, lose quality or fade. You can share them across the web or play them on a handheld device. The other good news is that we can convert your analogue materials into any digital form you like. Maybe document digitisation and the end of the world as you know it is also the preservation of the world as you once knew it.

Whatever you need

Nothing needs to be static anymore. Digital formats mean anything goes and we can also easily convert your data from digital to microfilm or microfiche, from microforms to paper and from paper straight back to digital. You are no longer limited to one format and you can get professionals like us to destroy the disused formats when you’re done. We haven’t turned lead into gold yet but our data conversion services are getting close.

Okay, okay, so perhaps this isn’t quite a disaster movie! The end of the world as you know it is actually more of an exciting opportunity rather than a sense of impending doom. All things considered, it’s probably a good thing. If you’d like to make use of one of these digital opportunities, get in touch and we’ll build something truly future-proof together.

Document scanning service: how to get great value for money

Piggy bank - get great value for money on document storage with Scan Film or StoreAlright, this is it. We may have signed the Official Secrets Act but we judged that releasing this information is in the public interest and is therefore worth the risk. If after reading this you discover we have been incarcerated, I hope you will value our sacrifice. Here are our not-so-secret tips for getting great value from our document scanning service.

Trust the professionals

Some things you can excel at doing by yourself. Learning an instrument for instance. Or being introverted. It was even possible to do synchronised swimming by yourself in the Olympics for a while before the judges realised that it wasn’t really meant to be a solo sport (honestly, it was a thing – look it up).

When it comes to data scanning though, you’re likely to waste more time, energy and even money if you try it without a professional scanning company. For a start, our scanners are almost certainly way cooler than yours. If you’re unsure about anything, feel free to fire us a question first, or ask us for a free sample scan of a document.

Keep the staples in

You might think it wise to remove staples from your documents before sending them to be scanned. After all, this will surely shave precious seconds – and therefore pennies – off the time the professionals are working on your project. Thing is, without staples it’s harder for us to tell where a multi-page document starts and ends. And while we love document scanning with all our hearts, we prefer it to be an efficient process. Staples are the age-less organisation tool that speeds our work and makes everything that bit cheaper for you.

It’s cooler in monochrome

Black has always gone with everything (LBD anyone?) and who doesn’t appreciate white space these days? Colour can be beautiful too, but when it comes to document scanning it will increase the size of your files – which is a shortcut to spending a lot of money on cloud storage. Sticking to black and white (where possible) will save the pennies, speed up your servers and give you a document collection that will never go out of style.

Skip the duplicates

Doppelgängers make for exciting films and convincing tribute acts, but it’s better to leave them out of your files. Providing you have the time, check that you’re not sending a document scanning company identical pages in the same file. Before you give us three copies of your sales brochure, kill off two of the time-draining imposters and send us the real Spartacus.

Throw out the memorabilia

It’s easy to get nostalgic. Even the most useless documents might be tempting to scan into a digital attic. How else will you climb up in years to come and examine the files covered in digital dust and say, ‘Hey, do you remember when we put that slogan on this sales brochure 15 years ago? It was a shocker.’ It’s fun to reminisce. But it’s also expensive. If you’re not likely to benefit from a document in future, think twice before you choose to scan the past.

Keep indexing in check

Indexing is the compass that helps you find your way through the dark and dangerous lands of the digital file. It helps you find your documents once they have been scanned by assigning them searchable terms. Choose those that will be most helpful to searchers but, if you can keep the number to a minimum, it will speed up the scanning process, keeping costs down. It will also help narrow down your search results when you need something specific. Don’t fear, you’ll be able to find your documents again in the digital world. It’s not a bottomless pit – take it from the people who live there.

Document scanning might not be as costly as you think. If you’d like us to scan a free sample for you and provide you with an estimate for your project, give the team a call today.

Common data breaches and how to prevent them

Scan Film or Store data breach blog postThe world has more information in it than ever before. A lot of it is fairly mundane – train timetables and Pink Floyd lyrics and what Sarah had for lunch on Thursday (thanks so much, Instagram). But there is also a lot of highly sensitive information, ranging from individuals’ address details through to launch codes that could destroy the planet.

Getting hold of this information is something the criminal element apply an awful lot of time and energy to. So we thought we’d look at some common ways you might be targeted – and the relatively simple steps to reduce the risk of being subject to a data breach.

Getting hacked because you haven’t put the necessary cyber protection in place

Antivirus? Check. Secure passwords with numbers and symbols and capital letters? Check. Memo to staff to not click on dodgy links that promise lottery wins and unlikely tax rebates? Check. Um…. next?

Protecting your organisation against a cyber attack is a complex process. We know, because we recently got certification under the Cyber Essentials Scheme and it was a heck of a lot of work proving that we really are as secure as we can be. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we can help you prevent an internal breach but at least you know that if you entrust us with your data, it will be as safe as it is possible to be.

Leaving a bag of top secret government papers on the train

Yes, we know what you’re going to say – no one would be that stupid! But it’s happened in real life as well as fiction. Many data breaches happen as a result of human error so training is essential, as is putting processes in place that reduce the likelihood of documents falling into the wrong hands. In our case, we’re certified to BS10008:2014 standards, which are the same ones used by police when transporting evidence in a case so they can say for certain that it hasn’t been tampered with.

Having customer information nabbed out of the bins behind the office

Chucking confidential documents in the bin is not a good idea. And shredding them first isn’t good enough to prevent a security breach either. Anyone with decent eyesight and enough patience can piece those strips back together and retrieve the information they need. No, what you want is genuinely secure data destruction. We cross shred all confidential waste into confetti and then, for good measure, pulp it so there’s no chance of anyone reading it again.

Finding out your office cleaner is an international spy

No matter how good your internal checks and measures, if you’re giving any external suppliers access to your data then there’s a potential security issue. A data breach might be deliberate or accidental but the outcome is the same. Which means it’s vital that you know you can trust everyone from the office cleaner to the folks who scan your documents to help you create digital files.

Because of the nature of some of our contracts, we deal with information that is literally of national importance. Which means that not only are all our employees DBS and BS 7858 checked but we’ve also all signed the Official Secrets Act.

Getting held up as you transport documents ready for shredding

If you’ve invested a lot of time, energy and budget in creating a secure environment at your HQ then you’ll naturally be wary of creating the opportunity for a data breach by allowing classified documents off site. What if someone intercepts them? Of course, you might need them scanned or destroyed. In which case the answer is simple: get it done on site.

We’ve mobilised our operations so that if you have a high volume of scanning or destruction we can come to you. We can scan documents up to pretty much any size, cross-shred and pulp paper documents and even chip PC hard drives down to 20mm or 6mm. And you can watch the whole process, if you like that kind of thing.

If you have a concern about your data and you’d like to talk to one of our experts, get in touch today.

Is it time to move office?

Wrapped chairs - office move - scan film or storeWhere do you stand on office moves? Does the thought fill you with excitement and give you an excuse to daydream about the fun new breakout space you’re going to create and the inspirational slogans you could paint artily on the exposed brick walls?

Or does it fill you with pure dread and make you consider firing people so you can stay in the cosy little office you’ve come to think of as home?

Whatever the case, making the decision to up sticks and relocate is one you’ll need to consider carefully. Here are some signs that suggest you might want to consider looking for a new home for your team – and also a few ideas that could help you put that decision off for a while if you need to.

You have to turn sideways to get between desks

And even that isn’t working quite so well since Christmas (we blame the mince pies). If you find you’d rather phone or email your colleague across the room than run the obstacle course that is the office, then perhaps you need a bit more space to spread out.

The alternative: Or how about you just re-arrange the desks? If you’ve been growing organically over the years and just adding new desks as the team expands, you probably don’t have an especially efficient layout. While you’re shifting stuff around, consider getting standing desks. Less chairs = more space. Simples!

You haven’t been into the archive room for months

Not because you haven’t needed to find stuff, it’s just you’re afraid you might cause an avalanche and be discovered only when some other brave soul else ventures in to find the source of that nasty smell. The solution: move to a bigger office with a bigger archive room.

The alternative: You could just have a clear out. Figure out which documents need to be kept as originals and get them stored off site. Scan anything that you don’t need originals of and have those originals securely destroyed. Then use the old archive room to create that break out space! NB: Don’t make your staff do this. You need them to keep doing what they do to earn money. We can help – just call us for a free assessment of your needs.

Everyone always looks mopey on a Monday

Sure we joke about Monday blues but it doesn’t have to be a thing! Creating a positive working environment can give staff morale a huge boost. So if your office is lacking in natural light, if it’s drafty or not very easy to get to or any one of a hundred things that could make it unpleasant to work in, moving could be a very good, well, move.

The alternative: Redecorate! You’re welcome, oh daydreamer. Now’s your chance to get the spray paint and stencils out and slogan up those walls to your heart’s content. Seriously, whatever is making your current office less than enjoyable to be in, fix it. Less expensive and time consuming than a move, right?

There are just too many people to fit

You’re a close team but no one wants to be that close, right? Like close enough to hear your neighbour chewing their cheese and ham sandwich at lunch. That’s the stuff nightmares are made off. If everyone is crammed into a small space, tempers are likely to start fraying and quickly. Moving to a bigger office gives everyone their own little patch where they can work happily and efficiently without wanting to punch anyone for that annoying little sound they make when they’re concentrating.

The alternative: Get rid of a few people. Not by firing them, obviously; that would be a little drastic (and illegal). But could some of your team work from home? If a couple of people got to work from their home office each day, you’d find things less of a squash at your HQ. They’d also be most likely be much happier without the commute, the parking, the need to wear office appropriate clothing etc.

Whether you’re planning to move offices or need help making your current one more space efficient, give our team a call to see how we can help out on the document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction side of things.

Why we’re the perfect match for the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries

Heart jigsaw puzzle - perfect matchWe don’t like to play favourites but we do seem to have attracted a lot of clients from the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries over the years. And though we also don’t like to sound immodest, we’re not all that surprised. You see, we’re well set up to deal with their particular needs – we’ve got the security, the capacity and the right equipment.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, we thought we’d write up a little dating profile, if you like, to show you we’re the perfect match for someone in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace industry.

Government approved security

We’re the kind of team who, if we’re going to do something, like to do it properly. So when we say our document storage facilities are secure, we really do mean it. In fact, we’re government approved to hold and process classified documents and data, our premises and procedures have been audited by government security advisers and all digital files are held in a special secure network to protect them from unauthorised access.

We’ve got BS 10008:2014 certification too, which is to do with “evidential weight and legal admissibility of electronic information” – kind of like the standards police have to keep when they transport evidence in criminal investigations. And our staff  have not only been vetted to BS 7858 standards but have actually signed the Official Secrets Act. Let’s face it, we’re practically spies.

Set up for working with you in-house

Of course if that still isn’t secure enough for you, then we can always come to you. Yes that’s right, we can actually up tools and move in with you for a bit, scanning and digitising your documents on your premises so that no data or paperwork ever crosses your boundaries. And remember, our staff are checked and double checked, so you need not worry about letting them past the perimeter fence.

Not your ordinary scanners

We know that if you’re in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace you haven’t just got a few sheets of A4 that you want to put through the scanner. You’ve got endless technical drawings, blueprints, not to mention procurement documents, personnel records and so on.

We’re set up for high capacity runs and we can scan up to A0 in width and pretty much any length. We’ve even scanned a tonne of 40ft aircraft drawings (although we can’t tell you who for because you don’t have clearance!).

Lots of added extras

So you know that we scan stuff and we store stuff. But that’s not all! We can also extract information from legacy documents and feed it into document management and ERP/MRP systems. We can convert analogue data into digital data and documents into microfilm or microfiche that’s guaranteed for 500 years, creating information backup systems that meet contractual obligations.

And we can securely destroy everything from paper and photographs to digital records and microfilm (which, if you didn’t know, is a really very difficult and dangerous process – microfilm has an extremely high burning point and releases dangerous chemicals so you don’t want to be looking after that yourself).

What our engineers, manufacturers, defence and aerospace clients say

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the procurement manager of a large West Country aerospace firm had to say about using our services:

“As one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Europe we rely on fast, accurate access to our archive records – particularly build records and data sheets. We have used Scan Film or Store Ltd since it was established and they have always provided us with a first class service, Their prompt attention to our changing needs – from microfilm to digital scanning and document storage – has been impressive. I would recommend Scan Film or Store Ltd to any organisation that has complex or varied needs for cost-effective document management.” Ian Mitchell MCIPS, Procurement Manager

So what do you think? Ready to swipe right? (That’s a Tinder reference, by the way. Which is a dating app. Where you… never mind, it’s not that interesting). Anyway, if you think we’d be a good match for you, get in touch with the team today and we can arrange a first date!

Document storage and scanning – your FAQs answered

Document scanning and storage - your FAQs answeredDocument storage and scanning is our bread and butter, so it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of it like we do. From technical jargon to the processes, we’ve got so used to it being second nature, we sometimes forget that not everything is quite as obvious to the rest of the world!

There are a few questions we get asked time and again. So we thought it would be helpful to pull them all together and answer them in a single FAQs blog post. It might seem altruistic but frankly it will save us an awful lot of time repeating ourselves!

Do I need to provide my own storage boxes?

Nope, we’ve got that covered. We’ll provide high quality boxes that won’t fall apart or weather, bring them along and even pack up all your stuff for you so you don’t have to lift a finger. We’ll also barcode the boxes so they’re easy to find in the warehouse and we can get the right file back to you whenever you need it.

How easily can I access the documents I’ve stored?

Because of the way we barcode the boxes we store, it’s super easy for us to find them at pretty much a moment’s notice. Then it’s just a case of couriering them to you wherever you are in the country, whether Bridgewater, Bristol or beyond. Or we could scan them and you can either use them in their electronic format or print them out at your end. We’re nothing if not flexible.

What security measures do you have in place to protect classified documents?

Glad you asked! We have all sorts of things in place. For a start, our purpose built storage HQ in Bridgwater is environmentally controlled, monitored and alarmed 24-7. We’ve got ISO 9001:2015 and BS10008 compliance, which means we can ensure the integrity of files from the point of collection to the point of return (kind of like when the police transport evidence). And all of our staff are DBS checked, security vetted to BS7858 standards and have signed the Official Secrets Act. We’ve even got Cyber Essentials Scheme certification! We’re basically the James Bonds of the document storage and scanning world.

Can you scan colour documents?

Sure thing – colour, greyscale or monotone (black & white to you) single or double sided. We’ll manually take out any paperclips and staples too, adding separator sheets between documents so the scanner can distinguish where one finishes and another starts. We’ll even separate any post it notes out and scan them on separate sheets of paper so you don’t end up with missing information in your digital archive.

How do you organise scanned documents so we can find everything?

We don’t like to boast but we’re really rather good at creating digital filing systems. Our scanning services include a full indexing service as well as optical character recognition (OCR) for .pdf documents, creating digital filing cabinets full of readable, searchable documents. We usually start by taking a sample of your documents and scanning those so you can get a feel for how it’s going to work – we won’t charge you for this bit, so there’s no risk. Then we’ll not only create a logical and ordered system but we’ll even train up your staff so they can use it quickly and easily.

What kind of digital files does your scanning process output?

We can produce .pdf, .pdf/a, .tif or .jpg files depending on your needs. And if you don’t know what you need, you can either have a read of this blog post on Do you know your PDF from your TIFF? or give us a call and we’ll talk you through it.

What happens to my hard copies after they’ve been scanned?

It’s up to you. We can return them to you, store them here at our purpose-built HQ in Bridgwater or we can securely destroy them. Either way we offer 30 days free storage so that you’ve got time to check through your new digital files before making any decisions.

How long do I need to keep my files for?

That’s not a question we can answer succinctly. But we have written a whole other blog post on it. Have a read of Paperwork – what to keep and what to chuck.

Why can’t I use a shredder to destroy my confidential documents?

You can. It’s just that if someone has the time and inclination they can sit down and piece the strips of shredded document together. And if we’re talking microfiche or microfilm then it’s even worse because the images they contain are so very small that they might only get chopped in half by a standard shredder. We use cross shredding to destroy paper documents and then pulp the results so that no one, not even the most cunning super villain, could extract the data from it. And we incinerate microfiche and microfilm in a specially ventilated, crazily hot incinerator (seriously, it burns at a really high temperature so you do not want to try this at home).

Can I scan old, delicate or oversized items?

You can with us. We’ve got a pretty exciting range of tech on hand to help us tackle the most specialist of jobs. For example, we have a Book Eye Pro 4 scanner which means books don’t have to be taken apart to be scanned. They don’t even have to be laid entirely flat, so the spine is protected (and the software takes out what we lovingly refer to as the ‘buttock crease’, which is useful too). And then there’s the Canon OCE large format scanner, which scans up to A0 in width and basically as long as you like. We’ve done aircraft drawings that were 40ft long! Basically we love a challenge. So, if you have an awkward item that needs scanning then let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

Have you got any other questions that we’ve not answered here? Send them over to us at info@scan-film-store.co.uk and we’ll update this post with new questions and answers so everyone can benefit.

Super simple ways to save your business money in 2019

Hands up who wants to be rich in 2019? Sorry folks, we don’t have any magic bullets nor the winning lottery numbers. No, don’t leave yet! Rather than telling you how you can get rich, we thought we’d share some tips that will help you save money. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?

Here are some of our top ways to save your business money in 2019:

1) Go flexible

The flexible working movement is going great guns at the moment as everyone from millennials to mums realise that life is a whole lot easier – and more fun – when you’re not chained to a desk from 9 to 5 (we always said Dolly Parton was way ahead of her time). It’s got huge benefits for businesses too, one of which is that it can save you money.

If there’s a function in the business that doesn’t need you to chuck a full time salary at it, go part time. Let some of your team work from home, if that’s appropriate, saving money on office space or desk rent. Taking a long term view, offering flexibility is likely to boost employee morale, wellbeing and loyalty, which means you should see staff turnover drop and therefore save money on recruitment too. Winner!

2) Outsource

It may sound a little counter intuitive to pay someone in order to save money, but think about it. Your time is not free, neither is that of your staff. You pay salaries, right? You could be out winning new contracts. There is a value to what each person on your payroll is doing. And if they’re doing stuff they’re not good at, taking twice as long as a professional and producing a shoddy end result then are you really being particularly cost effective?

Outsourcing anything from your content marketing to your archive management can take the pressure off, improve results, save time and yes, even save you money in 2019.

3) Ditch the archive

Another way to reduce your spend on office space is to seriously reduce the amount of stuff you have. Why would you pay however much it is you’re paying per square foot on office rent just to keep a roof over a bunch of archive boxes? Instead, could you have them scanned and then securely destroyed? Or would it be more cost effective to look into off site storage? (Ahem, we can definitely provide you with a quote to get you started, if that’s of interest.)

The other advantage of scanning your documents is that they’re ever so much easier to find. If we do say so ourselves, we’re really very good at creating well organised systems and we can even train your staff in how to use them so you can access whatever you need at a touch of a button. Which means no-one wastes time going on dusty expeditions through the archive room, which, given that time is money, is a money saver in itself.

4) Leverage technology

So we’re living in a digital age now, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which can be disconcerting for those of us who grew up with only five TV channels and phones that were wired into a wall. But the good news is that technology offers huge opportunities for saving money as a business.

For example, rather than paying someone to man the phones all day answering mind-numbing questions like, “What time do you open?” and “Can you ship items to the Isle of White?” you could get a chatbot to answer them for you on your website or use a virtual telephone answering service like our friends at Good Call.

5) Seek out budget hacks

We didn’t really like Tesco’s strapline when it first came out but “Every little helps” is definitely quicker to say than “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. Whichever version you prefer, the sentiment is true. Adopt an attitude of cost saving for 2019 and you’ll be surprised how many opportunities you spot.

For example, if you need stock images then head over to Pexels or Unsplash rather than paying a fortune in royalties. Or switch from sending out physical invoices to using an online system – if things need signing you can always use an e-signature service like Docusign. This last example will reduce your paper usage too, which is good for the planet, so that’s a bonus win right there.

So, which one do you think offers your business the best chance of saving money in 2019? If it’s #3 then give us a shout to see how we can help (you’ll be ticking box #2 and probably #4 too, so it’s an all round winning choice!).

5 things we wish we could store digitally

Bowl of spoons - Scan Film or Store - 5 things we wish we could store digitallyDo you ever get to thinking, “If only…”? Call us naive, but we often stray into the territory of daydreams and wishes. Just the other day we were wondering whether it would be possible to invent a calorie free mince pie. If only, right?

But actually that would come second on our wish list if we happened to stumble across a genie-filled lamp. The first thing would be a digital solution to the many storage challenges that plague humankind both at home and in the office. Yes, it’s a pretty niche wish but just think how great it would be to store these things online…

Teaspoons

Why is it that teaspoons are so darn elusive? Other utensils seem to have no trouble staying put in the cutlery drawer. Ok so they do occasionally take a short vacation into a neighbouring segment so that if you’re not paying enough attention you end up trying to sip your soup with a fork. But teaspoons just disappear, especially from office kitchens. Digital storage would allow you to password protect your spoon so Jason from Sales couldn’t add it to the growing collection in his desk drawer.

Christmas decorations

Oh don’t get us started on this one! For one month every year it’s become obligatory to deck ones halls – and offices and gardens and pretty much everything else – with 10 tonnes of glitter, tinsel and fake snow. Which we don’t really mind, in and of itself. No one could call us Scrooge. It’s the other 11 months of the year that cause the difficulty. Because Christmas decorations are bulky. They’re also usually quite delicate. Which means they need careful packing away – often with fiddly layers of tissue paper to stop the more fragile items from shattering – and take up a ridiculous amount of space. Definitely one of the things we wish we could store digitally.

Tupperware

[Disclaimer: other brands of kitchen plastic are available.] If you could store these boxes digitally we reckon you could probably get rid of half your kitchen units. You’d also be able to search by size or volume rather than having to take a wild guess at whether your leftover casserole would actually fit or not. And you could easily retrieve the corresponding lid without having to try on half a dozen “close but not quite” options first. Heaven, yes?

Socks

Talking of keeping pairs of things together, what about socks? It’s true that very little beats the satisfaction of a perfectly organised physical sock drawer; the rows of tightly rolled cotton all snuggled neatly next to each other (just us??). But realistically, how often is your sock drawer that tidy? Isn’t it more likely that it’s a shambles of odd socks that have less chance of being reunited with their partner than Kylie and Jason? A digital sock drawer would present none of these challenges.

Cables

Every single household and most offices we’ve visited have a box of random cables that 98% of people couldn’t identify if their lives depended on it. These assorted chargers, scart leads, HDMI cables and so on are undoubtedly important and therefore can’t be thrown out, even if it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to remember what they connect to. So how great would it be to store them online where they wouldn’t get in the way? Come to think of it, pretty much the entire contents of your average “man drawer” could be tidied up in this way. After all, how often do you really need the key to the back door of your old house, or a takeaway menu from an Indian restaurant in town that has almost certainly closed down since you got it?

At least we don’t need to worry about paper cluttering up our homes and offices any more, right? There’s just no excuse for having endless shelves of invoices, receipts, statements and reports cluttering up the place when getting it all transformed into a digital archive is a piece of cake (well, we say that – it’s actually a pretty involved process for us, but for you it’s as simple as saying, “Hey, can you sort this out please?”).

To find out more about how the Scan Film or Store team can help you make the switch to digital – or store those paper documents you still need in our purpose built, climate controlled, 24-7 monitored and alarmed storage unit in Bridgwaterget in touch for a no obligation chat today.

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.

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