Your primary goal in filing business documents is for future retrieval, so it is essential to have a system in place that is logical, convenient and consistent. For workplaces with medium to high volume filing needs there are a number of common tips that can be used to make sure that your system functions smoothly.
1. CategorisationCategorisation is the key to effective filing. Start by assessing what you need to file and breaking it down into the broadest possible categories. Each business will have their own priorities when deciding on the categories they need to file. Suggestions include:
2. SubcategorisationBecome more specific with your subcategories. Break up each category into its logical sections. For example, Finance could be divided into Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, etc.
3. Colour CodingColour is extremely effective for filing because you can identify at a glance where your category is for retrieval and return of binders, and immediately spot anything that is out of place. Assign a different colour to each of your categories and carry it across everything to do with that category, not just your filing binders.
4. OrderingIt’s usually easiest to order your categories alphabetically on your filing storage units. Using separate shelves or storage units for each category can make your filing easier if you have the space. Choose an order to file your subcategories within your binders, usually alphabetically, numerically or chronologically. Use tabbed dividers to separate the subcategories if there is more than one in a binder, and place an index at the front.
5. LabellingProper labelling of your binders and their contents will make it easier for people to find what they need. Keep to a consistent style of labelling so that your files are easy to read and also look presentable. If you are printing labels, stick to the same font and size, and always place your labels in the same spot on the binder, facing the same direction. Label by category first, then subcategories if necessary.
1. Assess your available spaceHow much space you have will determine what type of filing storage you can use. You need to make sure that your files are readily accessible by those who will be using them the most, and keep regularly used documents in close proximity to the users. Less frequently used documents can be kept in an archive room or storeroom. You can maximise your filing storage space with an ingenious system like Compactfile.
2. Choose suitable storage furnitureLike any office furniture, your filing storage is a large capital investment that will last you about 10 years. You need something that suits you now and can grow with your needs. You also need it to fit within any existing layout and with any office furniture you already have. If you are replacing old filing storage units, now may be the time to assess your business’ current and future needs and how to optimise your storage space or your overall office space.
3. Set up your furnitureOnce you’ve installed your storage units you can add labels to each shelf indicating which category belongs where. If you are using Compactfile rotating units, you may also find it helpful to indicate the beginning of each section on a level so that users can quickly rotate the unit to the right starting point to find what they need.
4. Index your filesNow that everything’s in place, you can create a record of what is kept where. You may find a floorplan helpful if your filing storage units are spread across a large area, multiple rooms, levels, or buildings. Then index by unit, shelf, and binder. Create a spreadsheet file and decide whether it can be edited by all staff or only certain administrators. A printed copy can be handy at your filing storage units.
Once you’ve got your filing in order you will save space, time and your sanity! Our office furniture experts are ready to help you with a solution that will suit your budget and business needs – contact us today.
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