It makes sense for small business owners to keep their workplaces neat and tidy. Encouraging the team to de-clutter helps maintain a pleasant work environment that optimises the available space and, in turn, helps reduce errors and increases efficiency.
Back in the day, our workplaces included many more reams of paper and filing cabinets. It was an ongoing chore to stay on top of this. If we didn’t, then we understood that there would be costs associated with any new filing cabinets and wasted floor space.
Thankfully, much of this paperwork is now stored electronically. But because it is out of sight and out of mind, many businesses have fallen into bad habits.
It’s worth remembering that data storage, although invisible, is not free.
If it’s been a while since you de-cluttered your electronic storage, then think about the following:
- 1GB of Data (text files) is the same as 150 reams of A4 paper or 75,000 sheets.
- 1 x 4-drawer filing cabinet holds 10,000 sheets (2,500 per drawer).
- So, just 1GB of data is equivalent to 7 ½ x 4-drawer filing cabinets.
This calculation is based on simple text-based files. Remember, image files are much larger and video files can be huge.
So, how many rooms of filing cabinets would your data fill today? How much is this costing you in time and money?
A Cautionary Tale
Not so long ago, a business owner approached us. His main server was crashing on an almost daily basis, and this was impacting everyone in the office.
We investigated and could see that server storage was at maximum capacity. With no breathing space, essential updates couldn’t run, and the lack of space meant it was impossible to add extra users.
Clearly, this needed fixing. So, what was the best solution? A new server? More memory? Before we went out and spent our new client’s money, we dug a little deeper.
We were surprised to discover that a significant amount of the space (approximately 1/3rd of the entire storage) was being used by one staff member. It transpired that he was storing all his family videos on the system. Not only was this impacting server performance but it was also being securely backed-up, at additional company expense.
The company had been fairly relaxed about their employees using their work computers for personal use but hadn’t realised the impact it was having on their business.
Out of sight is out of mind; they would not have been so obliging if this employee had started piling up the physical contents of his house in their office!
The Moral of the Story
If you own a small business, it’s worth remembering that digital files need storage space and, like physical space, digital space costs your business money.
Data storage may not be the most obvious area to think about when de-cluttering but there is plenty of scope for eliminating electronic junk. Doing this regularly will save you money and improve efficiency.
OK, I get it, where do I start?
We recommend that you start by running a disk space manager to find out what’s hogging your space.
You can use one of the following free tools to scan your drives to find out exactly where and how space is being used:
- TreeSize Free
- Windows 10 Storage Usage Tool
Armed with this information, you can start to de-clutter by removing duplicates and deleting any files or folders you no longer need.
We’ve created some simple, step-by-step instructions for getting started with TreeSize Free. Download them here and get ready for some Spring cleaning!
We hope you found this useful. If you run a small business and would like to understand more about how to optimise your electronic storage costs, then please get in touch.