Just like when you are moving out of your home, moving an office is a time to do a little purging. Depending on the type of business you operate, there are certain legal requirements regarding files and records that must be kept for a specified period of time. However that doesn’t mean that you must keep everything that has been building up in file cabinets and storage closets.

Although most companies have electronic records for their various functions, there are still hard copies of many important documents. A company should consult with their lawyers to develop a document retention schedule so they can routinely properly dispose of outdated files.

Document Timelines

In general terms here is a partial list of the types of documents and the length of time they should be kept:

Contracts 6 Years
Deeds Permanent
Auditor Reports  Permanent
Bank Deposit Slips and Reconciliations4 Years
Cancelled Cheques4 Years
Contracts4 Years
Employee Expense Reports4 Years
Invoices for Purchases 4 Years
Financial Statements Permanent
Time Cards 4 Years
Accident Reports  6 Years
Claims After Settlement 10 Years
Safety Reports 8 Years
Personnel Files (terminated)  7 Years
Export Declarations  4 Years
Tax ReturnsPermanent

When moving the office, direction should be given to every departmental manager to instruct their employees to go through all of their filing and storage cabinets to determine what files are no longer necessary to be kept. It is human nature for employees to keep literally hundreds if not thousands of out dated documents and files. This is especially true of employees who print out every email even though it is accessible on their computer or in the cloud.

Employees should be encouraged to be a little ruthless about disposing of old correspondence and other documents unless it falls into one of the categories where there is a legal requirement for retention. To reduce the amount of paper files instruct employees to scan and save copies on a DVD or other electronic storage device.

Other things that can be disposed of when moving the office are:

  • Old Trade Journals
  • Brochures
  • Presentations and Advertising Packages from Companies who tried to sell a product or service in the past
  • Outdated Trade and Other Directories
  • Outdated Electronic Storage Devices
  • Unused Furniture that is Not in Good Condition
  • Obsolete Computer Equipment
  • Old Christmas Decorations from Years Past that are in Poor Condition

As you can see when you are moving your office there is a lot that you can do to ensure that your business is more organized for its fresh start in its new location.

For more advice and assistance in planning your upcoming office move contact your local Premiere Van Lines office.