How to Organize and Improve Your Office Filing System

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Introduction

More than 80 percent of the workforce holds a desk job in an office. For most of those individuals, those desk jobs come with one common and annoying problem: tons of files to keep track of.

With the right filing system in place, keeping track of those important documents can be relatively simple. That said, the filing system that worked for your needs initially may not be what you need now.

As your business and responsibilities grow, you’ll need to change your office filing system to keep up with the growth. Here’s what you need to do to make those changes as soon as possible.

Get Rid of the Clutter A.S.A.P.

One of the biggest problems business owners face when trying to streamline their filing system is an overabundance of already filed documents. There’s a temptation to keep every possible bit of information you might need for years.

Though it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep track of old receipts and invoices, you won’t need to keep everything indefinitely.

Go through your current files and see what you have on hand. If you have tons of documents and papers that you have a use for, keep them. However, if find documents that you know you don’t need anymore, dispose of it properly.

Just remember to shred any sensitive information to protect your finances and keep you from falling victim to data theft.

Once you get rid of the clutter, you’ll have more space available for newer, more current documents.

Categorize Your Documents

The best way to make your filing system more user-friendly is to create a clear and easily identifiable labeling system.

Most business owners see success by color-coding different file types and labeling each folder appropriately in a clear font. If you can, use a label maker or print labels on your printer. This will make it easy for everyone on staff to read the files without puzzling over handwriting.

If you have different categories you need to keep track of, consider color-coding those categories. This will make it easier to find things at a glance. You don’t have to make it complicated.

Just break things down based on the type of documents you’re keeping in each file. For example, if you’re saving receipts for business purchases, keep them in the same color folder. Even these simple improvements can make your filing system more usable.

Invest in More Folders

Crowded folders make keeping track of what’s in each one almost impossible. Worse, it keeps you from being able to stay on top of filing throughout the year.

When in doubt, invest in more folders. Keep extra folders on hand so you can grow your filing system as needed without having to wait until your next shipment of office supplies arrives.

That said, make sure you have enough space for those additional folders. If your filing cabinets are filling up, you’ll need to order additional cabinets to house those new folders. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a cluttered mess again in no time.

Be Consistent

No matter how you choose to organize your office filing or document management efforts, make sure to be consistent with your efforts. If you file things differently every time you need to add documents, you’ll find it almost impossible to stay organized.

If you’re worried that you’ll have trouble remembering your new organizational structure, don’t panic. Write it down or type it up and leave a copy of your new process by the filing cabinet.

This way, anyone on your team that has to access or file documents will know what to expect and can work to maintain the same system without causing confusion.

Create a Filing Schedule

Getting behind on your filing duties is the easiest way to create clutter in your office. If you’re struggling to deal with piles of papers, implement a filing schedule and stick to it.

Choose a time each day or week to go through the documents you’ve amassed. Then, file each one appropriately or dispose of them as needed.

By implementing a schedule, you’ll be able to win the battle against clutter every single week.

Digitize What You Can

The best way to streamline your office filing process while also improving your organization is to digitize whatever files you can. Scan documents onto your computer and save them as digital files on your hard drive.

If you’re worried about taking up too much space on your hard drive, invest in external drives for the files or compress the standard OCR PDF files to text only. These files will be much smaller and are also searchable so you’ll be able to access the information you need with a few keystrokes.

Make Sure Everyone Is on the Same Page

Implementing any new type of document filing system in your office takes time. The best thing you can do to simplify the process is to make sure that everyone on staff is on the same page.

Let them know what the new processes will be before you implement them. It’s also helpful to listen to your employees’ ideas and suggestions while creating your new processes. You might just find a new system that you hadn’t thought of on your own.

If your new filing system is different from your old one, consider offering brief training sessions to the team members who need them. The sooner you can get everyone on board, the easier it will be to avoid mistakes.

Improving Your Office Filing System Can Be Easy

No matter what your company does, you need to keep track of relevant documents and information every day. Relying on your office filing system is the best way to keep everything you need at your fingertips.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to improve your existing system as fast as possible.

Though simplifying and organizing your files will help your overall office organization efforts, it’s not enough to keep the space looking as great as it should. Check out our latest posts for more tips on how to organize, simplify, and improve organization across your company.

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