7 tips to manage office documents easily

A well-organized office will ensure its smooth operations and prevent chaos. A cluttered office will reduce the productivity of your office staff. Here are some tips that you can ensure that you manage your office documents in an easy way.

1. Have a suitable filing system

Have a suitable filing system

In case you are asked for a particular document by your boss, would it be possible to find it instantly? Can you hand over the document to him as he stands there or would you ask him to give you time to find the document? The answer to this question is a good indication of the level of organization in your office.

For easy retrieval of documents, you will need to have the right filling system in place. In case you don’t have one, you will end up wasting a lot of time. This is on top of the fact that it will leave a bad impression in the eyes of your boss. A good idea is to ensure that you have broad headings for all files. For instance, if you name a file “report on filing expense report for 12/04/2016”, you will soon end up filling your cabinet with files. This is why you should file the different procedural reports together with the copies of expenses. Other broad categories that you should have for your documents include Budget 2015, Ad campaigns and Industry news.

2. Have a strategy for document management

There are several document management strategies that can help you to ensure that documents doesn’t take over your desk. These include:

· Organize various files depending on ease of retrieval. The goal of trying to organize your document is to make it possible for you to retrieve them easily.

· Have a toss-out date for files. In case you don’t throw away anything, all what this will serve to do is to leave a very happy manufacturer of filing cabinet. However, it will be very difficult for you to find a document. There is no good reason for keeping every scrap of paper for months. However, you will need to realize that there are documents that for certain financial or legal factors will need to be stored for a particular period of time.

3. Move papers-don’t allow them to pile.

Move papers-don’t allow them to pile.

If you would like to do away with the huge piles of papers on the desk, you should make it a habit to go through that stack two or three times in a week. Begin at the top of the pile and ensure that you act on each piece. In case you have no idea what to do with a certain piece, you place it in a holding place and ensure that you deal with each of it later.

4. Tracking the various versions of a document. .

One challenge that many office workers face is on tracking the different versions of the same MS Word document. It could be that you are typing some reports for your boss and the document keeps on going back and forth between you and him, with him asking for revisions. One challenge that you are likely to encounter is on finding the right document if he asks for it 3, 6 or even 9 months later. You will definitely find it hard to locate the last version. A good idea to overcome this challenge is to name each revision that you do as volume 1, 2 or 3.

5. Laptop tricks

Laptop tricks to manage office documents easily

A laptop is a good tool that you can use to ensure that there is productivity in your next meeting. You can do this by:

  • Sharing of data. In case there are files that you need to share such as a presentation copy or even some background documents on the discussion, a laptop will help you to do this easily. In case there is a wireless connection; it can take time to send some clunky files via email. Therefore, you may want to use an USB flash drive.
  • Distribute notes at the meeting digitally. It can be easier to manage the digital notes as compared to the traditional notes on a piece of paper. These are also easy to share and archive. If you are a user of windows, you will find some useful features on MicrosoftOneNote. This software can make it possible for you to organize your notes into sections and can therefore quickly find a flagged note. It can also become easier to identify the note and convert the notes into contacts, appointments and outlook tasks.

6. Organizing office emails

It doesn’t matter whether your email is cluttered with work related emails or spams, you will need to keep your inbox organized. Where possible, you can clear the email inbox on a daily basis. Ensure that you read every message once and answer the questions quickly. Is there something that I need to do? If there is something that is needed, take the action immediately. A good idea is to follow the two minute rule. If it is something that will take you less than 2 minutes, perform it immediately. This will help to ensure that some activities are knocked off from your to-do list.

Another important step that you can take towards managing your email is to delegate. This should involve passing a certain task to the person who is best suited for handling it. You can also defer the task so that you can complete it later. All you will need to do is to add it to the to-do-list or set a certain time to complete it.

7. Decide what to keep or shred

Decide what to keep or shred

Decide what to keep or shred

Prior to creating a good office record management, you will need to understand what you have and the period of time that you will need to keep it for the purpose of your business and also legally. This is why you need to keep an inventory of your records and come up with a retention schedule for your company. You will also need to consider the local and state statutes in regard to limitations on top of regulating government agencies as it pertains to your business. Check the regional as well as state authorities for the necessary details. To safeguard yourself further, ask your attorney and CPA to review the timetable for record retention before you can put this into practice.

According to court rules on electronic discovery, employers are now supposed to keep a huge amount of information that can be used during litigation. Prior to the enactment of this rule, companies used to delete their email records regularly from their computer records. However, instant messaging and email evidence are now used in cases against hostile work environment, discrimination and harassment.

The Federal Trade Commission also has a rule for record disposal which you should bear in mind. The goal of this rule is to prevent identity theft. According to this rule, all electronic and paper records that have identifiable data of the employees or job applicants such as credit history or Social Security number should be destroyed. The rule does not mandate how these documents should be destroyed but for paper document, it recommends shredding while for the electronic files, it recommends erasing in a responsible manner.