Smooth your file management

Smooth your file management: lost or disorganized files and folders cost your small business.

Smooth your file management

Recently I’ve heard a lot of laments from business owners and office managers that their computer files are a mess. Staff are saving important documents in the wrong place (on their laptop instead of cloud storage or local server).  Expensive drag and drop accidents. Staff, managers and business owners get frustrated trying to find files.

Is their file management software? Electronic file organizers?

Yes, there are all kinds of file management software for various platforms. Pricing is usually per user per month or by GB per month. It’s expensive.

I don’t recommend going that route. Not just because of the expense. I deeply believe you should not try to use tech to solve admin or HR problems of this kind. You need to organize your employees and structure first.

It is your job to organize files

Make it clear to your employees you want everything in the work place kept organized and tidy. That includes company files in the cloud or on a local file share. Make it part of their performance reviews. Then no one can whine it’s not in their job description.

Your job as owner/manager is to be clear where those files go and naming convention. I have one client where the stress point is the owner wants the client files organized by name and the office manager has been organizing them by file number. I remember numbers more easily than names but I know I am in the minority.  Slowly the folders are being reorganized by client name. Ask yourself what works best for yourself, your staff and your workflow?

Benefits of fixing the files

Mark Ainley of Sense of Space says “There’s a definite correlation between paper clutter and digital clutter. The relationship to procedures, organization, and task management is the same internal state whether working with physical items or digital files. The more you organize and the easier it is to access what you need, the more there’s an inner state of flow when it comes to the actual work involving these files and documents.” Smooth your file management

Maintaining your files

Elinor Warkentin of Goodbye Clutter says “Maintaining your files is like everything else, it takes regular discipline. It’s like the gym, you need to go regularly.

“Set aside 5 minutes a day to clean up your files. Use that 5 minutes as ‘productive procrastination’ by giving yourself 5 minutes of productive file organizing to procrastinate an undesirable task. But note the 5 minutes once a day to avoid procrastinating too often.”

If you really don’t know where to start, call a professional organizer.

Smooth your file management: set clear expectation for your employees, plan your structure and dedicate 5 minutes a day to file tidying. If you really want to spend money on technology to do this for you see below for a starting price.