Why HR Filing Cabinets are a Bigger Problem Than You Realize

Anyone who has ever worked in an office can tell you that filing cabinets are incredibly common. Some have them placed strategically throughout the office, others have them in entire rooms dedicated to records management. But regardless, they’re a necessary part of doing business that leaders in nearly every industry can attest to.

… or are they?

A lot of people don’t realize that when you’re still living in a world of paper-based documents and processes, you’re dealing with a tremendous volume of hidden costs on a daily basis — and those HR filing cabinets are chief among them. In fact, a reliance on those filing cabinets is costing you money in a wide range of different ways, all of which are more than worth exploring.

The Hidden Costs of Living in a Paper-Based World

By far, one of the biggest issues associated with filing cabinets (and the paper-based records they’re supposed to help organize) is that paper is misfiled more than you realized. Files that should be in a very specific location are nowhere to be found because they’ve been put in the wrong filing cabinet, left on someone’s desk, or left in the copy machine after administrative work was done.

This is a major issue, because for every minute someone spends trying to locate a record, they’re spending less time actually acting on the insight contained in that document. The people who need that information to do their jobs simply don’t have it and everyone — including the customers you’ve dedicated yourself to serving — will suffer for it.

Likewise, those filing cabinets do little to address one of the most important topics on the minds of organizational leaders everywhere: security. Sure, you can put a padlock on that filing cabinet or put rules in place regarding who has access to certain information, where and why. But your filing cabinets are no match against the fact that someone can just walk right in and remove documents at their leisure. What happens if your physical place of business is suddenly hit with a fire and burns to the ground? What happens if your city is hit by an earthquake or a hurricane and you end up suffering a total loss?

The answer: you lose all of that important information and the work that it represents, almost in an instant. 

But maybe the most damning idea is the fact that paper documents (and their filing cabinets) simply take up far too much space than they are worth. It’s been estimated that every filing cabinet can hold about 18,000 human resources records — or roughly enough to represent 90 employees. Were you aware that just 10 of these filing cabinets can cost nearly $3,000 per year in office real estate alone? This is because a filing cabinet is usually about seven square feet, and the average cost of office space is about $40 per square foot, or roughly $280 per filing cabinet. Multiply that by the total number of filing cabinets in your office and you can see how this issue can get out of hand so quickly.

Enter: Intelligent Document Management

When you leave behind the world of paper and embrace an intelligent document management solution like M-Files, however, all of these problems are eliminated. A solution like M-Files can bring a whole new era to document management, offering you and your teams files that are fully searchable and consistently organized — guaranteeing that all the information you need is always there, right when you need it.

Likewise, these types of solutions are inherently secure. Files are backed up and protected in a way that doesn’t just allow you to limit access to certain documents based on who does or does not need to have it, but that also allows you to quickly get back up and running again by way of disaster recovery and continuity of business services. 

But the most important benefit of all is that an intelligent management platform like M-Files is exactly that — intelligent. Eliminate manual paperwork in favor of a system that is always organized, that routes information to the right people exactly when they need it, and that allows for intelligent automation and similar features to streamline workflows and save as much time as possible.

So, while there may have been an age where those HR filing cabinets truly were a “cost of doing business,” thankfully that is a time long since passed. The era of intelligent document management is here, and the time to take advantage of it is right now.