Preparing the Workplace for Social Distancing – How Do You Safely Store Office Equipment?

Marvin Magusara provides advice on how businesses can safely store their office equipment during the new social distancing regulations being introduced in workplaces in our latest Guest Blog article.

After spending months in lockdown, people in many parts of the world, including the UK, have slowly started immersing themselves back into the outside world.

Workers, in particular, are starting to go back into their offices.

However, as the threat of the Coronavirus remains, social distancing has to remain in effect.

The Health and Safety Executive have therefore released some guidelines on imposing and practicing social distancing in the workplace.

Among many other recommendations, the HSE has advised businesses to eliminate the ‘pinch points’ in their offices to maintain the distance between the employees.

As a result, many businesses have been forced to strip their offices to the bare minimum and, in the meantime, keep non-essential office equipment in storage.

While in theory, this seems very simple and easy, storing office equipment is no easy feat.

Besides having to make sure that the storage room or self storage unit is organised, it is also vital to ensure that everything is safely stored.

After all, doing so may prevent any damage that may cost the company a lot in repairs or replacements down the line.

To prevent that from happening, here are a few tips you may find useful while storing office equipment.

Storing Office Furniture

1.     Take Apart Desks, Chairs, And Other Furniture That Can Be Disassembled

This will not only save you a lot of space in your storage unit but also make sure that everything is safe and secure.

Make sure to keep any small pieces, nuts, and bolts in a bag and keep them attached to the bigger pieces.

If assembly instructions are still intact, keep them with the furniture pieces as well.

If possible, also consider putting these pieces of furniture in their original boxes.

2.     Take Some Steps to Minimise the Damage the Office Furniture May Acquire Over Time

Due to dust, air, temperature, and other elements, even pieces of furniture in storage will deteriorate over time.

While this is unavoidable, there are ways to slow it down and minimize the overall damage.

Here are some worth noting:

  • Clean all office furniture going into storage to prevent the buildup of mould.
  • For metal objects and the metal elements on your office furniture, use a polishing cloth and metal cleaner to remove the buildup oxidation and prevent damage due to rusting.
  • Protect the finishing of wooden office furniture with special wood cleaner.
  • Cover up all pieces of furniture with cloth or plastic. This will protect the furniture from exposure to dust and air, thus minimising the chances of discolouration.

3.     Take Extra Precaution with Fragile Items

If you are looking to store glass-top office tables, mirrors, and other fragile office furniture, be sure to pack them properly before storing them.

Cover these pieces of furniture in bubble wrap, newspaper or old rags.

Put it in a large box to ensure that it will not easily break.

Do not tape anything directly onto the glass, as it will leave a residue that will be very hard to clean.

Lastly, label these boxes as FRAGILE so you know which box to handle with care and not place anything on top of it.

Storing Electrical Office Equipment and Hardware

While such items already fall under the ‘fragile’ category, there are a few other safety precautions that need to be taken when storing all kinds of computer equipment.

These safety precautions include:

1.     Make a Backup of the Data from Computers

If you are planning on storing computers/electronics, make sure to keep a backup of the data on each one.

You may either do this by uploading everything on the cloud or saving in an external hard drive.

While this does not necessarily keep your equipment safe, this will keep your files safe and secure.

2.     Keep All Wires Organised

It goes without saying that you cannot simply leave wires and cables attached to any electrical equipment.

Transporting these items with the cables and cords attached may cause damage to the cable ports and terminals.

So, be sure to take them out, roll them up, and keep them together in a bag attached to its corresponding piece of equipment.

Moreover, to make things easier to put back together when you eventually get everything out of storage, take photos of how the cables and wires are connected to your equipment.

You may either keep this on the cloud or in an external hard drive as well.

Alternatively, why not print each photo and include it in each bag of wires and cables to keep them accessible?

3.     Take Out Batteries and Ink Cartridges

You will want to take out batteries from laptops and battery-operated keyboards and computer-mice, as batteries tend to decay over time and may damage the electrical equipment it is attached to.

Meanwhile, if you are using printers or copiers that operate with ink cartridges, you will also want to take them out.

Leaving them in for a long time may either cause it to dry out or create a leak that would damage your printer or copier.

Leaving ink cartridges connected can lead to a very huge mess.

4.     Tape Shut Equipment That Can Flip Open

Speaking of printers, it is also crucial to tape components that my flip open or fall out.

After all, you wouldn’t want to take your printer or copier out of storage to find that it has been damaged due to exposure to dust, moisture, or extreme temperature.

5.     Store Loose Equipment in an Airtight Container

Like any other electrical equipment, keyboards, computer mice, speakers and hard drives are all prone to damage due to dust, moisture and extreme temperature.

That is why it is best to keep them in an airtight container where they will not be exposed to such.

This will not only prevent damage to the equipment, but it will also keep them organised in one place.

Organise!

It is always vital to keep your equipment organised, even if you are only moving it to storage.

So, be sure to make a checklist of everything going into storage, label every box and container, and lastly, designate a specific area of your storage unit for specific office equipment.

This will prevent any untraceable losses and make it easier for you to find a particular piece of equipment if you need to pull it out of storage.

How About a Climate-Controlled Self-Storage Unit?

While the tips above are surely going to help you keep your office equipment safe and intact while in storage, a climate-controlled self storage unit may also be worth looking into.

One will not keep your equipment in good condition but also ensures your piece of mind while helping you practice social distancing in the workplace.

Sam Rose