Imagine that your office has its own job description—one that gets updated every year. If you compared 2020’s version to one from 10 years ago, two things would be clear: Offices are asked to do a lot more today, and our storage needs have changed.
In addition to providing workspaces, contemporary offices must adapt for different workstyles and tasks; foster collaboration; and provide places for virtual connections, social activities, and rejuvenation. And, storage components are no longer hidden away in separate support spaces. They’re seamlessly integrated into workspaces.
Trends Influencing Workplace Storage
Several factors have led to dramatic changes in workplace storage. One is the rising cost of commercial rent. In top-tier markets like San Francisco, office space can run as much as $60 or more per square foot annually. If you have a standard 4-drawer cabinet that requires 17 square feet (space for the cabinet as well as opening the drawers) it will cost $540 in rent. More cabinets? More cost!
Single-use spaces for storage are costly but that’s not the only factor at play. Changes in the way we work have allowed organizations to substantially shrink storage spaces.
The trend toward (nearly) paperless offices greatly reduces the need for storing files. Two factors support this trend: reducing paper use and new technology.
Many organizations are striving to minimize paper use for both environmental and financial benefits. For example, a 2018 report on The State of the Global Paper Industry noted that telecommunications giant Vodafone reduced paper usage from 33 million sheets per year in 2009 to just 6.5 million in 2012. They accomplished this with measures that included an employee challenge to use just one page a day and lowering the number of printers to just one for every 125 employees. That means a lot fewer trees pulped and decreased costs for office paper.
Wide adoption of cloud computing, wireless technology, and digitized information (that used to be housed in files and dedicated storage rooms) have also significantly reduced the amount of office space needed for storage.
While storage no longer commands the large footprint it once required in the workplace, it remains a critical element. There will always be storage needs.
Here are a few examples of storage needs that remain in today’s workplace:
How New Ways of Working Change Storage
Mobile working goes beyond simply being in or out of the office. There’s a trend toward in-office mobility where people move around and work in different spaces throughout the day. Contemporary workspaces include mobile workstations, travelling workspaces, and whiteboards on wheels.
In 2008, according to Intel, laptop sales passed desktops for the first time. Powerful, portable, and now linked to the cloud, laptops allow people to work anywhere with a secure Wi-Fi connection. Need to focus? Head to a dedicated work zone. Collaborating with your team? Share and capture ideas in a conference room or lounge space.
Adaptable workspaces call for adaptable storage. Even in open workspaces with flexible seating arrangements, we need places to stash things. Supplies. Printed materials. Personal items.
Beyond the practicalities of storage, there’s the less obvious emotional component. One of the ways to boost employee happiness and even attract talent is to provide employees with adequate storage in their workspaces.
Contemporary workspaces are a fusion of work areas and storage spaces made better by innovative design. A well-organized workspace with the right storage solutions supports unique and evolving workstyles—bringing space and people together to maximize collaboration and support well-being.