How to Stay Organized: 5 Guidelines to Manage Your Documents

Your cubicle has documents everywhere. We’re talking pages on your desk, pages on the floor, pages on top of your filing cabinet, pages on your computer monitor. They’re everywhere. This is life in an office that still deals with paperwork.

We are a long way from having a majority of paperless workplaces. Until offices somehow manage this impossible feat, cabinets will be bursting at the seams with folders and pages. Rather than becoming frustrated with documents and losing important files, you should establish a document management system. This will reduce headaches and eliminate the time you spend looking for files like you’re a chicken with its head cut off.

The three simple keys to launching a document management system? Start a plan, install the plan and follow the goals. That’s it.

Here are five tips for creating a document management system at work:

1. File Your Documents on a Daily Basis

The very first rule of the office under this new system is to inform everyone that they must file their documents on a daily basis. This must be strictly enforced, otherwise the initiative will go down the tubes, and you don’t want that to happen.

Employees should not have their documents laying around at their desks, printed documents should not be in common areas and folders should not be on top of filing cabinets. Remember to file your documents and regularly.

2. Destroy Unnecessary Files

Perhaps this does not need to be done daily, but destroying your unnecessary files is key to a successful document management system. This can be performed every few days or weekly. It is up to you and the management to determine what files can be destroyed.

Here is a tip: should you decide to implement this policy, then be sure to utilize a paper shredder, and one that destroys your files in a criss cross pattern rather than vertically or horizontally.

3. A File Locations List Will Help Staff

When you don’t want your team members to become flustered or you don’t want your organization to go to waste, then perhaps you should start a file locations list to help your staff.

By installing a file locations list, you can direct the employees where specific files can go and where to locate particular files and folders. This list should also inform the worker whether these files are on the network or not. This type of measure will save everyone a lot of grief.

4. Complement Your Strategy with Cloud Storage

Let’s be honest: when you’re dealing with papers and folders, something is bound to get lost.

To avoid this type of thing from happening, you can complement your document management system with cloud storage. Every night before the office shuts down for the day, you can backup all of your files with cloud storage. Or, if you don’t want to head to the cloud, then perhaps you can take advantage of a hard drive.

5. Ensure Your Documents Are Safe

Are you dealing with classified and sensitive information? If somehow your documents were lost, would it be widespread panic at the office? Well, install some safety measures.

Here are several security tips to employ:

  • Have a filing cabinet with keys to lock up for the day.
  • Install bars on the windows to prevent break-ins.
  • Ensure you have the proper bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place.
  • Don’t permit employees to take home sensitive information.

These security measures may seem rigid, but if you want to shield your documents from prying eyes and those who do not need to see the pages, then a mechanism is necessary.

A document management system may not seem like much in the first place. However, as time goes by, you’ll become accustomed to having such organization in your business. You will ask everyone: what took so long? With the right procedures, protocols and processes, all of your documents will be correctly managed.

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