While electronic filing of documents can solve the frustrations and storage space issues associated with filing cabinets, they do come with their own challenges. The primary challenge being organization, especially when many people have editing access – like they do on network servers.
Below, you'll find tips to help you better organize the file folders on your network servers.
- Communication- It's important to bring in all applicable parties and departments within the office to first talk about the issues presented by sloppy or otherwise poor document management on the network server. Poor organization leads to inefficient retrieval and workflow, as well as inconsistencies and wasted network space. Open communication among all parties will help establish strong guidelines and shared expectations and is a crucial starting point.
- Review your current data organization- It's hard to develop an organized file folder system on the network server if you don't have a clear picture of the current state of your data organization. Look at the existing shared spaces and files, determine how effective (or ineffective) current document management and workflow processes are, and see where changes can be made.
- Make use of shortcuts- Shortcuts allow individual employees to create a quick connection to files on the network server without creating multiple duplicate versions of the same file. Additionally, deleting a shortcut (on purpose or accidentally) has no impact on the original file, which remains stored safely on the network server.
- Use short file names- Shorter file names not only make it easier to find files, but it also avoids the inevitable increase in the length of files stored in multiple subfolders.
- Be descriptive with folders- While being short and to the point, you must also be descriptive. Don’t sacrifice clarity to keep your file names short. Folder names are important in breaking down files into smaller, easier-to-manage and identifiable units.
For some organizations, a good starting point may be to break down folders by department, such as "Marketing," "Finance" and "Human Resources." Within each of these applicable folders, you can create subfolders with specific titles that allow you to focus on individual projects or responsibilities. For example, the Human Resources folder can contain subfolders on "Payroll," "Employee Benefits," "Healthcare Enrollment" and other applicable titles.
Dangers of poor file organization
An unorganized file system can create a lot of havoc in the office. First and foremost, a lack of central organization guidelines leaves the door open to confusion, duplication, and data loss. When any employee can access any file from anywhere, with no guidelines, files can be moved, renamed, or accidentally deleted.
Document Management System
A document management system is a simple software program that makes it easier for your company to store and track electronic documents on the network server. Not only does the average document management system help you organize documents, it helps avoid the pitfalls of poor organization in the process. Among the most prominent benefits of document management software are the following points:
- Cloud access: employees can download and upload documents at any time while still permitting versioning and permission controls to avoid improper access and unacceptable alterations/duplications.
- Intelligent organization: as your company grows, file management is going to become more difficult. Document management systems make it easy to establish categories, tags, and ratings to find files quickly and easily.
- Attractive user interface: your employees shouldn't feel overwhelmed during interactions with file management, and a good document management system makes navigation and search simple.
- Universal format support: just because one type of file extension is common today doesn't mean it is the only type your company uses.
Universal format support allows your staff to manage multiple file formats without issues popping up down the road.
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