Paper provides, perhaps at a price. Americans generated 67.4 million tons of paper waste in 2018.
One reason why is bad office organization strategies. Americans throw a lot of their papers into the bin, too tired to deal with them. There are better ways to organize office files.
How can you decide where one file should go? What are some tools you can use to keep files together? When should you digitize or get rid of papers?
Answer these questions and you can minimize your paper waste without wasting a dime. Here are seven ways you should organize your office.
1. Organize Office Files by Type
The easiest way you can achieve office organization is to group your documents together by type. It’s not enough to group invoices with other bills and financial documents. You should find a separate folder for invoices and keep them all together.
Use index tabs and write the type of document on the tab. If you still want broad categorization, you can use a color-coding system. All financial documents can go in green folders or have green labels.
Miscellaneous documents that don’t fit with others can go in their own folder. You should check to see if these documents are useful. You can use these supplies at LegalSupply to store these documents.
You can create a file for documents you are currently relying on. You can call this your “action file” and keep all papers of immediate worth inside of it. After you are done with the papers in it, you should disperse them based on their type.
2. Adopt a Chronological Order
Separating by type is a good first step. But you need to follow additional organization tips.
Organizing documents in chronological order lets you keep track of the activities of your organization. Put the most recent documents first in the folder. You may want to underline or highlight the dates so you can access documents from certain years easily.
It may be beneficial to go from oldest to newest. This is good if you need documents for a review of your company’s history or when you need to know a client’s complete history. Undated documents can go toward the front or back of your folder.
3. Organize Alphabetically
An alphabetical organization is another option. It may work better than a chronological organization if you have many recent clients. You can go alphabetically if you have many subcategories of files to look through.
Commit to chronological or alphabetical order. Be willing to change between the two depending on your current needs and operations.
4. Buy Office Organizers
You can buy a wide variety of organizers. File folders keep groups of documents together for easy access. You can also use binders if you need to flip through a set of papers in a few seconds.
You can place your folders or binders in drawers. If you need immediate access, you can buy a desk with drawers on it. You should label each drawer based on the document it contains.
Try to keep folders and binders off of your desk unless you are actively using them. The more you clutter your workspace, the harder it is for you to work and find what you need.
5. Separate Files Through Space
The documents you need right now should go closest to you. A drawer should be in a convenient location, ideally within your immediate reach.
Documents that you will need in the near future should also go in a drawer close to you. But it does not have to be next to you.
Documents that may be important can go in drawers on the other side of the office. By placing files in different locations, you signal to yourself what their relative importance is. It is a natural guide to keep important papers closer to you while putting older ones away.
6. Digitize Old Yet Important Files
You should try to digitize as many files as possible. Digitization means you use less paper and preserve more space inside your office.
If you cannot digitize all of your documents at once, you can start with your older ones. Put company reports, client profiles, and tax records into digital databases. You can take photographs of them, scan them, or type their information into a document.
You can create a similar organizational system for digital files. You should keep like files together while relying on a chronological or alphabetical order.
You can separate the files from each other by using different software. Some files can remain on your desktop while other files go on Google Drive or a cloud system.
7. Discard Unnecessary Office Files
Following organization tips does not mean keeping all of your papers. The more useless files you get rid of, the more you can focus on important documents.
You can get rid of files for clients who no longer hire you. You can also discard outdated reports and emails. You should keep tax information for several years in case you have an audit.
Anything with sensitive details on it should go through a shredder. Marketing materials and company-wide documents can go into your recycle bin.
Seven Easy Ways to Organize Office Files
You can organize office files without breaking a sweat. Keep like documents together. You can use colors to make broad categories, but be specific with your types.
Within a folder, adopt a chronological or alphabetical scheme. Buy several kinds of office organizers, including large drawers.
The closer the drawer is to you, the more important the documents it holds. Any old papers you may need should be digitized. Everything irrelevant or out-of-date should get recycled after a few years.
An orderly office is a productive office. Figure out more office organization strategies by following our coverage.