If you run a small conservation corps, you may find that your office becomes congested on days when your crews are preparing to go into the field or when they return. However, for the majority of the month, your office may be mostly empty, serving only to store unused tools and provide office space for a few full-time office staff. In order to maximize your office space, lessen the strain on your budget, and have room to grow in the future, you may want to look into renting self-storage units for each of your crews as opposed to keeping a large office and/or warehouse for your storage needs. If you do decide to utilize rented storage, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.
Give Storage Access to Each Crew Leader
Each crew leader should have access to their storage unit. This way, your crews can get ready for their work on their own, without close supervision from the office staff. You will want to give your current crew leader the key or combination to their crew's unit. You will also want to make sure that their name is listed as someone who should have constant access to the unit and they know the security code to enter the facility.
When a crew leader leaves, it is important that you take their name off of the list of approved users and that they return their keys. If the crew leader is fired for misconduct, you may need to switch out your locks and change your access codes, where applicable.
Rent a Separate Unit For Each Crew
To help keep your crews organized and make getting ready and returning supplies easier, you should consider renting separate, smaller units for each crew as opposed to a single, large storage unit. This also provides a secure place for each crew to keep their personal belongings while they are out on an extended job.
Make Sure There Is a Space to Clean Tools and Vehicles
When your crew returns from work, they should care for their vehicle and tools. This usually involves wiping down, filing, and oiling tools and vacuuming and washing their crew vehicle. Having access to water and electricity at the storage facility will make these tasks easier. Alternatively, you can make cleaning and tool prep an activity that should be completed in the field, before the crew returns to their storage unit.
Get an Extra Unit For Shared Tools, Specialty Tools, and Repairs
You will find that there are some tools that are shared between the crews or only checked out for special jobs. These tools should be stored in a shared unit. This should be a larger unit with electrical access so your tool specialists can also complete necessary repairs there as opposed to taking broken tools back to your office.
Make Sure Your Crews Can Access Their Units When They Need To
Often, conservation crews work early in the morning or return to the city late at night. You should look into storage units that offer secure 24-hour access so your crew members will be able to get ready to leave or return without waiting.
If you decide to move your crew equipment storage off-site to a storage facility, it is important that you set up a strong culture of communication between your crew leaders and your office staff. After a few sessions, you may find that your conservation crews are more independent, and your office staff is able to accomplish more with fewer interruptions. You will be able to move your offices to a smaller building to save on rent and still have room to expand as you grow.