Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Efficient Office Filing Techniques:

Your office desk says a lot about your state of mind and how well you process your work on a day to day basis. It helps a lot to stay organized. You can imagine yourself walking into someone else's office and the moment you notice a cluttered desk with scattered papers all over the table your get an impression as if the person is so busy that he/she will not able to help you. It is an unwelcoming sight. Filing has moved to a new level since computers replaced them good old typewriters. Paperless office is a new trend and it needs to be practiced a lot in order to save our trees. But there are unavoidable requirements that require papers to be manually filed. Documents that move around different departments that carry approvals, stamps and signatures cannot be evaded. Such documents require to be filed with extreme care, because when it comes to the certain auditors they would love to see original documents with signatures and stamps rather than electronic records.

Below are few indicators that will help you organize your filing technique:

1. Digital files:

At times rather than printing email attachments for filing it would be quicker and efficient to just save those files on to your computer for future reference. The computer is just like a mini assistant. It helps your do a lot if you use it efficiently. If you do not remember where you saved a particular document on to your computer, you can search any file store on your computer by simply clicking the 'windows' tab on the lower toolbar of your screen, where you select the option 'Search' and then just type either the name of the document or simple few words from the text of that document and just in a matter of few seconds you will have it on your screen without you having to move around to dig any cupboards. Learn to create folders and subfolders on to your computers for better management.

2. Labeling your files:

People follow various techniques for filing their documents. The most commonly used two types of filing methods are:

Alphabetic wise - It clearly states that you label your files alphabetically which becomes easy to access.

Numeric wise - This indicates that you label your files with numbers rather than alphabets.

I would prefer a combination of both the above. Alpha-numeric sounds time consuming but it is worthwhile in case you have to manage a large volume of filing system. Remember that labeling your file is not a daily routine task; you might have to do it just once in a year. Hence, it is recommended to use the most efficient label that will help you locate documents without wasting your time.

3. Frequency of creating new files:

The next question you need to ask yourself is how you maintain your filing system. Usually new files are made on annual basis and old documents are archived. Depending on the nature of business you might need to create new files after each financial year. For example in a school or university you would renew they database with the onset on each new academic year. There would tend to be few files among the whole lot that needs more files in a particular year which has been covered in the next point.

4. Overfilling a file:

It would definitely not look good if you carry around a heavy file with papers overflowing from its binder. If you have cupboard to store your files I am very sure out of the whole lot there would be few files which are used on frequent basis. These files tend to get stacked up faster than usual with documents. It would be suitable to create two versions of files by numbering them as File-1 and File-2 for the same annual year.

5. Dividing a file:

Certain components of a file might not be used on regular basis hence it would not be suitable to waste a whole file that would be used to just store few pages. You can club certain similar types of components by adding a separator or a divider which is usually a plastic sheet or thick quality paper as sub labels in a file.
To give you an example: If you have to create a file to store approval papers for conferences and workshops, it is advisable to add two dividers in that file with two labels one for 'conference' and other for 'workshops'. This will help you save on your file storage.

6. Archives:

When you have very old files that contain very old records that are lying around in the cupboard for no use but it will be eating your storage capacity, it is suggestible that your electronically archive them for safety purpose. Usually old records tend to get misplaced and anyone can be blamed if old records are not stored properly for future verification. If there are valuable documents which are very old with signatures that need to be stored it would be safe to scan and save them in archives folder


  1. Thanks for providing the tips and techniques on efficient office filing; and you are right, old files and records must be electronically archived to avoid losing it, for security purpose and for future verification too.

  2. You are welcome. I am glad that you found the filing techniques helpful.