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Lateral Filing Cabinets in Canada

Lateral Filing Cabinets

Like all filing cabinets, lateral filing cabinets are essential in helping an office keep its documentation and records organized and securely tucked away. Although a lot of documents are being digitized these days, paper records are still important in many cases. Those records need to be stored in a way that is organized, easily accessible, and secure.

Source carries lateral filing cabinets from Steelcase, Hon and Performance that offer the perfect solution for your filing and storage needs. With the ability to choose from 2- to 5-drawer models in laminate or steel, you can keep your important papers organized and filed in lateral filing cabinets designed for functional style for any office environment and application.

What is a Lateral Filing Cabinet?

A lateral filing cabinet is a particular style of filing cabinet, which is a piece of furniture that stores documents in an organized manner. Unlike vertical filing cabinets, where the drawer extends out from the short side of the cabinet, lateral filing cabinets have drawers that extend from the long side, allowing flexibility in how the paperwork is filed.

Some lateral filing cabinets have rails that run the width of the drawers, and folders are filed from side to side of the cabinet, and others have rails running parallel to the drawers in side-by-side columns so files can be organized from front to back. Because of this arrangement, lateral filing cabinets tend to be wider than they are deep.

Purpose of a Lateral Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets are the most reliable way to store important records and documents, as they provide a dedicated place to store this material. This saves time and energy that might otherwise be spent rifling through piles of paper to find a single invoice, and reduces the chance of losing important or confidential information.

They also clear the desk of clutter. Many workstations have limited surface space, and filing cabinets clear the desktop to make room for more important items – such as notepads, reference materials, and the very necessary cup of coffee.

Lateral filing cabinets in particular can store a large volume of paperwork in a small footprint, making them ideal for offices that generate a lot of records or need to keep multiple years of documentation.

Difference between Lateral and Vertical Filing Cabinets

Lateral Filing Cabinets

These cabinets are often wider than they are deep and can hold folders that run from side to side of the cabinet, or front to back in two or more rows. Lateral filing cabinets can accommodate both letter and legal-sized paper and can come with multiple drawers, allowing storage and categorization of many records. These cabinets work best to store large volumes of paperwork, and it’s not uncommon to see a room with several lateral filing cabinets sitting along the wall so documents can be easily accessed together rather than being split across several smaller vertical filing cabinets.

Vertical Filing Cabinets

These cabinets are taller than they are wide, and can accommodate one row of folders, organized from the front to the back of the cabinet. Most vertical filing cabinets are built for letter-sized paper, although some also accommodate legal-sized paper as well. They can come with multiple drawers, allowing storage and categorization of many records. Documents are usually filed front-to-back in a vertical filing cabinet. Because of their size and configuration, these cabinets are great when space is limited, or if you don’t have a large amount of paperwork to store. Some offices will have multiple vertical filing cabinets in a row to accommodate all their paperwork.

Your decision to buy a vertical or lateral filing cabinet depends on your space and your needs. Vertical filing cabinets take up less floor space, but they don’t store as much paperwork as lateral filing cabinets. On the other hand, due to the size and weight of papers they hold, lateral filing cabinets are bulky and difficult to move. They also take up more floor space, and could cost more.

Should I Get a Lateral Filing Cabinet?

If you deal in paperwork, or have confidential printed documents, you’ll want a secure filing cabinet where you can organize and categorize the information in a way that’s easily findable and accessible while keeping private information out of reach from those who aren’t authorized to access them.

Whether you should purchase a lateral filing cabinet instead of a vertical or mobile filing cabinet depends on how much paperwork you have to store and how much space you have.

Lateral filing cabinets take up more floor space than vertical filing cabinets, so it requires a room or a space that can accommodate its size. It stores a large number of files, however – moreso than vertical filing cabinets – and still allows users to quickly find the papers they need. This makes them ideal for high-volume businesses, or offices with large outputs of paperwork. The long, wide surface can also be used for additional storage, or even working area.

However, due to their size, lateral filing cabinets are bulky and can be difficult to move – especially if they are already filled with paperwork. Additionally, they can be awkward to use. While vertical filing cabinets allow employees to go through the folders straight-on, lateral filing cabinets require users to access the files from the side, which can lead to discomfort if used for long periods of time. If you don’t need to store that much paperwork, a lateral filing cabinet might not be the right fit for your office; try a vertical filing cabinet instead.

What About a Storage Cabinet?

Although they can look similar, lateral filing cabinets and storage cabinets serve different purposes. Filing cabinets are meant for paperwork and records, and their dimensions are specifically created to accommodate legal or letter-sized papers and folders.

Storage cabinets, however, are much more flexible in what they are able to store since there are no set dimensions for them. May of them come with adjustable shelves so you can personalize your cabinet to accommodate whatever you need to store – binders, product samples, personal belongings, etc. However, they do not have the organizational capacity of lateral filing cabinets, and paperwork put in storage cabinets would be likely stored in piles.

What to Consider When Buying a Lateral Filing Cabinet

Once you’ve decided to purchase a lateral filing cabinet as opposed to your other storage options, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind as you select the right one for your office:

Size

Many lateral filing cabinets are of similar size, but their exact dimensions can differ. If your space can only accommodate very specific dimensions, be sure to measure the width, height, and depth of the space to ensure that you find a filing cabinet that fits in it.

Document Size

Do you deal mostly with letter-sized paper, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches? Or do you also have to accommodate legal-sized paper, which is 8.5 inches by 14 inches? When choosing your lateral filing cabinet, ensure that it can accommodate the size of documents you work in. Some lateral filing cabinets have adjustable rails so you can file both sizes.

Storage Space Needed

If most of your records are digitized and stored online, you may be able to get away with a smaller vertical filing cabinet to hold only the occasional paper records. However, if you deal with a lot of paperwork that you have to keep on hand, you’ll need a larger lateral filing cabinet to store everything. You may even need multiple filing cabinets to keep all your paper records. In general, lateral filing cabinets store a higher volume of documents than vertical ones.

Drawers Needed

Depending on how much documentation you need to store and access, you may only need a 2-drawer lateral filing cabinet. However, if you deal with a lot of paperwork that you have to keep on hand, you’ll more drawers to store everything. Sometimes it’s easier to purchase a filing cabinet with a few more drawers than purchasing more than one cabinet to hold your paperwork, especially if space is limited in your office. Purchasing a taller filing cabinet with more drawers would require less floor space than having multiple shorter filing cabinets. Just keep in mind that the more drawers and the taller your filing cabinet, the greater the need for an anti-tipping mechanism.

Changes in Documentation Volume

Our filing cabinets are of great quality and will last a long time, so they can be part of your office for a long time. If you know you are going to be filing much more paperwork in the near future, it’s better to purchase a filing cabinet that has more drawers than what you need at the moment than have to purchase a whole new cabinet in the future. On the other hand, if your paperwork stays more or less the same from year to year, you could get away with purchasing a size that is suitable for your current needs.

Locks

If you deal with confidential information, you’ll need filing cabinets with locking mechanisms to keep your documents safe and secure. Even if your records don’t hold sensitive information, we recommend ensuring your filing cabinets have locks to prevent theft of valuable documents that hold information about a company or its clients. Even if the documents themselves are not valuable, they could be inconvenient and time-consuming to replace if they were to be taken.

Locks also control access to sensitive documents so only authorized employees can interact with the information. For companies who have personal client information, this is essential to ensure confidentiality of that information.

Some lateral filing cabinets have interlock mechanisms that only allow one drawer to be opened at a time, so the tipping hazard can be reduced.

Safety

Because of their bulk and size, as well as the large volume of paper they can store, lateral filing cabinets can be tipping hazards that cause injury. However, manufacturers have made lateral filing cabinets much safer with counterweights to stay upright and interlock mechanisms that only allow one drawer to be opened at a time.

Material

Lateral filing cabinets can be constructed from different materials, including metal and laminate.

  • Metal Filing Cabinets - These cabinets are usually made of steel and are extremely durable. Although they’re not considered traditionally attractive, metal filing cabinets can come in a variety of colours that can fit into your office’s colour scheme. However, due to the material, metal filing cabinets show their age more easily and are prone to dents. This material is more appropriate if function is more important than look.
  • Laminate Filing Cabinets - These cabinets come in a variety of colours and grains that can match those of the workstations in the office. When made of high-quality laminate, these filing cabinets can be just as strong and durable as metal filing cabinets, without being as vulnerable to dents.

Our Lateral Filing Cabinets

Source has a variety of lateral filing cabinets to choose from.

Our laminate filing cabinets coordinate perfectly with our Classic and Classic Plus series and have full ball bearing drawer slides for smooth and quiet opening. They can be adjusted for letter or legal files and locks for security and privacy. Available in two, three or four drawer styles, they have hang rails where files can be filed front-to-back or side-to-side.

Our metal filing cabinets are built to withstand the rigours of frequent use. Available in two, three, four or five drawer styles, they’re made with heavy-duty steel construction and are built to last. They also come with counterweights to prevent tipping and interlock mechanisms that prevent more than one drawer to be open at a time.

If you’re still not sure which style of cabinet to purchase for your office or how many to get, don’t hesitate to reach out to our furniture specialists who can walk you through the process of not only purchasing a lateral filing cabinet, but how to set up your entire office.

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