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.

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.

5 things you’re doing that are increasing your scanning costs

Scan Film or Store - five things you're doing that are increasing your scanning costsYou know what’s really annoying? Paying for stuff like parking. And insurance. And getting the boiler serviced. Stuff that you have to have, but which isn’t fun like, say, theatre tickets or a new set of golf clubs. But what’s even worse than paying for that need-not-want stuff is paying more money than you actually have to for it.

At Scan Film or Store we’re savvy enough to realise that, despite our own passion for document storage and scanning, for the rest of the world it’s definitely more of a need-not-want sort of a thing. That’s why we thought you might appreciate a few tips from the experts (that’s us, in case you weren’t clear) on how to reduce the cost of these services just by making a few simple changes to the way you do things at the office. So, here are a few bad habits to watch out for:

1) Printing in colour

You probably already know that colour printing costs more to actually print than black and white (or mono, as we say in the trade). But did you realise that it also costs more to scan? The machines used to do colour scanning aren’t quite as quick as the black and white (sorry… mono) ones, which makes them more costly. Plus the scanned data files are also slightly bigger for colour images, which means they take up more data storage room, which could be another issue.

2) Printing single sided

Not only does single sided printing double your expenditure on paper, it also means the volume of paper you need to store is doubled. Given that you pay for your storage by the square metre – whether you use a secure off site service like the one at Scan Film or Store, or the office space you’re currently paying rent on – it makes sense that reducing the volume you need to store will reduce costs. Plus, it’s better for the environment, which is a very good thing indeed. Top tip: set your printer default to double-sided so you don’t have to remember each time.

3) Stapling your documents

Scanners don’t like staples. It makes them cranky and they have a tendency to stop working if you shove any through their inner workings. Which is why we remove all the staples we come across while preparing our clients’ documents for scanning – each and every one of the blasted things. Which, as you can imagine, takes time. Less staples, less faff, less cost. Simples.

4) Using lots of Post It notes

Or any sticky attachment that you might enlist to add information or draw attention to something on your original document. These sticky notes also have to be removed and scanned separately, otherwise there’s a risk that a) they’ll get stuck in the scanner (see note on staples) or b) they’ll obscure something important on the pages to which they’re stuck. Writing comments directly onto the page is the simplest way to solve that problem.

5) Using blue highlighters

Actually, this isn’t really a money issue. It’s not going to cost you more or less to scan an image depending on what colours you use. You can go nuts with a whole rainbow of them, if you like. But it’s worth noting that the darker the highlighter, the more likely it is to obscure the text when it’s scanned. Yellow is also out, because it will barely be seen on a scan it all, especially on a black and white (mono!) scan. Your best bet is pink or orange. We just thought you’d like to know.

So there we have it – a few things you can do to save pennies on your document management. And we all know that if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves. Which means you could treat yourself to those new golf clubs after all.

If you want to find out more about managing the paperwork where you work, drop us a line today.

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What every office manager needs to know about data security

Flooded office... Scan Film or Store: What every office manager needs to know about data securityWhat would happen if you lost all your data? Sorry, perhaps we should have started with something a little gentler. Cup of tea? Biscuit?

No one likes to talk about data security. Just like no one likes to talk about insurance or funeral planning or what sausages are really made of.

It’s almost bad luck, isn’t it? Like the mere mention of the concept might summon a disaster, much like saying the name Candy Man out loud (as an aside, can you believe it’s been 25 years since that film came out??).

Thing is, and you might want to brace yourself for this, more than 60% of companies never recover from a major loss of data.

Now you may think that your data is perfectly secure, thank you very much – you’ve got the latest systems installed, you use the Cloud and all that sort of high tech malarky.

But here’s the thing: what about your printed data? That’s right, just because it’s old fashion paper and ink, doesn’t means it’s not data – or that it can’t cause havoc if it’s lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Before you give up reading in despair, there is hope! Here’s our handy guide to protecting your printed data from pretty much everything except an invasion of data eating alien life forms.

Keep it dry

Paper and water do not make good bed fellows. Too much moisture and you’ll end up with papers that stick together, go mouldy or even start turning to pulp, making them unreadable.

Keep it ventilated

A badly ventilated room is likely to get damp simply because there’s a degree of moisture in the atmosphere, and therefore you’re going to end up with the same problems, especially the mould.

Get it scanned

If there’s a disaster at your office – fire, flood, plague of paper eating locusts – you’re going to wish you had copies of everything, aren’t you? Ideally copies that the locusts won’t want to eat. Also, anything printed on a thermo-printer (like till receipts, for example) will fade over time. If you’ve got boxes of archived expenses in your storeroom, you might want to check and see whether they’re blank yet.

Destroy it properly

Simply chucking a barrowload of old box files on the recycling pile is not enough – haven’t you watched any spy movies? Sensitive paperwork has a way of getting into the wrong hands. Destruction is a far safer option, and if you want to be 100% sure no ones going to go rifling through your secrets (or your customers’ secrets), you’re best off getting them professionally cross-shredded and pulped.

Incidentally, the same goes for microfilm and microfiche. Given that the images on these are roughly a centimetre wide, using a regular shredder will at best lop an image in half, leaving an awful lot that can still be read and understood. The only way to properly destroy them is via incineration. And before you go hauling your galvanised garden burner out of the shed, it’s worth noting that microfilm and microfiche burn at 2000 degrees and release dangerous pathogens so if the heat doesn’t kill you the fumes will! Best leave that to the professionals.

Store it offsite

Finally, for those documents you’re obliged to keep in their original form for a certain period of time, we’re back to the issues of damp and ventilation. Oh, and theft as well. And human error (well, it’s not easy keeping track of all those papers, is it?). The best solution is professional offsite storage in a secure, monitored and alarmed facility with an advanced barcode tracking system and on demand retrieval services. (FYI: we might know someone who can help with this.)

So there we are – a few simple tips to help protect your data. We hope your business remains disaster free this year. But if you want to make sure that you’re prepared for every eventually, do come and talk to us. It’ll be a whole lot cheaper than trying to recover from a data security problem.

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How long do I need to keep my business records?

How long should business records be kept?“How long do I need to keep my business records?” It’s a question we’re asked fairly often – but probably not often enough.

Some people assume they need to hold on to every last scrap of paper like a demented hoarder, and the consequences can be alarming.

Our director once visited a potential client who had records dating back to the Ark stored in the upper rooms of the company’s office.

The weight of these endless files was actually bowing the floor – and, in turn, the ceiling above the heads of the poor employees below, who daren’t venture into the store room for fear of the entire lot collapsing like something from a disaster movie.

As it happens, many records need only be kept for a few years – though there are others that you should hold on to for a lot longer than you might think.

Here are just a few facts for you…

  • COSHH records need to be kept for 40 years (which is the average lifespan of a bare eyed cockatoo, animal lovers)
  • Contractor time sheets should be kept for a year following transfer to your accounting system…. but those required for revenue purposes must legally be kept for six years.
  • Accident books should be kept for six years after the last entry (or Joe Pasquale will hunt you down and break your leg*)
  • Unsuccessful quotations should be kept for one year, but for successful ones it’s only until payment of invoice and audit.

And that’s just a start! Confused? Don’t worry. To make life a little simpler, we’ve compiled this handy guide which should help you figure out what you can bin and what you can’t.

Of course, that’s not the only way we can help. Because once you’ve decided what needs to be filed and what can be scrapped, we can do three things:

  • Document storage – so you don’t have to worry about the ceiling caving in. Our facilities are alarmed, protected and monitored 24/7, giving you complete peace of mind.
  • Document scanning – to create digital records that are much easier to access. We’ll even train you and your staff to use the software to maximum effect.
  • Secure data destruction – because chucking private client records and sensitive financial data in the skip behind the office is a really bad idea.

Give our friendly team a call today to find out how we can help you avoid a storage nightmare.

(*Ok, we made this bit up.)

Schools are back – time for a clear out!

September Office Clear Out neededListen! Can you hear that? Yes, that empty, echoey sound. Don’t recognise it, do you? Allow us to remind you – it’s called silence, something that for parents has been sorely lacking over the last few weeks. Now the kids are back at school, life can get back to normal. Well, after the chaos has been cleared anyway.

Spring may be the traditional time for a clear out, but we think September is a much more sensible option. After all, you’ve undoubtedly got either a wrecked house to put back together or an office that’s been rather neglected since that final school bell rang way, waaaaay back in July. Having a back-to-school / back-to-work clear out is pretty therapeutic (honest) and will at the very least help you delay the start of actual work for a day or two.

So, how can we help? Well, one thing we offer here at Scan Film or Store is the gift of space i.e. document scanning. We can scan anything from photos to receipts, old bank statements to the kids’ first pre-school drawings, archived employee records to… well, you get the picture. Anything that’s currently clogging up dusty shelves, filing cabinets or quite possibly whole rooms where no one dares to venture.

Here’s the science bit:

  • We use top quality Bell & Howell, Kodak and Fujitsu document scanning equipment and are ISO 9001 certified, so you’ll always get accurate, high-quality results.
  • We can output digital images in .pdf, pdf/a, .tif or .jpg format, in colour, greyscale or black and white.
  • We also offer a full indexing service and optical character recognition (OCR) of .pdf documents, creating ‘digital filing cabinets’ and readable, searchable documents.

Pretty snazzy, right?

There are then three options for the originals. We could give them back to you, although that would rather defeat the object. Instead, option two is that we can store them in our secure, dry and protected premises in Bridgwater or Yeovil. We use an advanced barcode tracking system, logging everything within our auditable document storage system, so they’ll always be easy to find and retrieve.

Or, option three, if you don’t actually need your originals anymore, is that we can destroy them for you. And we don’t mean chuck them in the bin out back – this is high tech stuff, with cross shredding and pulping (the pulp is then recycled, so it’s good for the environment too – bonus). We can also destroy CDs and DVDs, computer hard drives, microfilm and lots of other things, so do add those to you ‘get rid of’ list too.

If you need help decluttering your home or office, give us a ring on 0800 008 7229  or email info@scan-film-store.co.uk and we can talk you through the best options to suit your needs and your budget (the initial chat is free and without obligation, of course). After all, it’ll be Christmas before you know it, so you need to make room for all those presents!

How to declutter your office – and boost business efficiency

How to declutter your office - and boost business efficiencyClutter is bad for your business. Seriously – it’s probably costing you money as you read this.

For a start, it takes up space. Assuming that you pay for your premises in some way, unnecessary paperwork is effectively squatting.

Clutter also makes you inefficient. How long do you spend looking for documents you know you filed “sensibly” a couple of months ago but now can’t find?

And it’s stressful, isn’t it? For you and for your staff, who are probably as demoralised by chaos as you are.

If you’re shifting uncomfortably in your seat right now, don’t worry – you’re definitely not alone! But scheduling in a declutter or spring clean soon would be a good idea. After all, it’s the right time of year for it.

“But I need all this paperwork!” you may be saying. And maybe you’re right. But do you need it languishing in flimsy archive boxes or rows of rusty filing cabinets?

Here are three things to ask yourself:

Do I need it at all? If the answer is no, get rid of it. If it’s sensitive, make sure it’s properly destroyed so you don’t run into security issues.

Do I need it on site? A safe and secure storage facility could well be the answer – just make sure it’s one with a good barcoding, cataloguing and retrieval system.

Do I need it in hard copy? If not, scanning it will reduce its physical impact without you losing the content you need.

No one likes spring cleaning, but we all love an uncluttered, efficient workspace. And at least it will be done – until next year, anyway.

If you’d like us to help you assess your business data and how it can be more efficiently stored, expertly scanned or securely destroyed, contact the team on 0800 008 7229 for a no obligation assessment.

Does your Data Stack Up?

 

Albert EinsteinAl GoreRoald Dahl

What do Albert Einstein, Al Gore and Roald Dahl have in common?

They all worked on untidy desks!

 

 

 

 

Research has shown that cluttered workspaces can help improve productivity and efficiency, but even though one of histories most famous scientists, a prominent American politician, and one of the most beloved children’s authors worked with an untidy desks, does it mean that it is OK for everyone to work this way?

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How safe is your customer data?

Secure Data Destruction from Scan Film or StoreThere seems to be almost monthly press coverage about a household name having to apologise and reassure its customers that their personal data is safe after a successful hacking attempt on its website or computer systems.

The positive piece in this is that it is raising the general awareness to businesses and consumers of the risks inherent in holding personal information on websites, social media channels and other online systems.

This should ensure that businesses in particular increase their investment in protecting customer data held in this way from this kind of attack.

 

 

What’s often forgotten about with these high profile cases is that there is a significant amount of personal client data held in other formats and on other medium which is also at risk of being accessed or falling into the wrong hands. Personal information held as paper records in filing cabinets or cupboards, on laptops, PCs, phones and other electronic devices as well as external hard drives and memory sticks is all vulnerable and needs to be protected.

Read more…