Businesses need consistency when filing electronically


Lori Firsdon will teach an organizing class on Saturday, June 11 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Washington-Centerville Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Road, Centerville. It’s titled, “Attack the Stack: Organizing Your Paperwork.” For more information, call 937-433-8091

While helping businesses improve the efficiency of their employees, I often find the electronic shared drives within their companies are disorganized and confusing to utilize.

Disorganized files are a foolish waste of money, which reduces the company’s ability to provide great customer service, increase their sales and improve the bottom line.

The Wall Street Journal published a report, “The average executive wastes six weeks per year searching for information in messy desks and in paper and electronic files. For an employee earning $60,000, that lost time costs the company a staggering $6,290.”

Given the fact that many companies are striving for a paperless office, keeping electronic files organized is critical to the success of the company.

The first step is to call a meeting for every employee who utilizes the shared drive. If your company is large, have individual departments meet or department heads can train those they oversee.

The purpose of the meeting is to get everyone to consistently file in the same manner. To do this, employees need to give their input as to the files they are saving and why. A file structure then needs to be created for everyone to follow.

Come up with main categories and sub-categories for the files, then name the files using details listed in order.

Let’s use this article as an example of how to save a file.

When you go to Forte’s files, you will see a file name labeled “Articles” along with other categories such as “Presentation Topics” and “Clients.”

When you choose “Articles,” you will see sub-categories related to “Articles.’

To find this article you would select, “Dayton Daily News.” Within that file you will see all the articles have consistent filenames. Year, Month, Day, Name of publication and description of the article. The filename for this article is 2016 June 4 DDN Shared Drive Organizing.

With this consistency in filing, not only can I find articles easily, but my staff can, too.

Our office manager uses these articles to publish in our monthly newsletter. She looks at the dates when looking for articles.

Our marketing person uses the articles for reprint into other companies’ newsletters. She looks at the descriptions when looking for articles.

With filename consistency, your search effort is narrowed down. For example, when looking for a client contract, I know it won’t be under the ‘Articles’ filename. I don’t waste time looking in wrong files.

Many of you using your computer’s search capability are learning the more files put into the system, the harder it is search through all the possible matches. Narrowing the possibility of where files are found is valuable.

A final reason why companies need to design a functional file system is safekeeping. Many employees are storing important company information on their individual hard drives and not on the company server because it’s confusing. These files are not properly backed up. With employee turnover, knowing how their files are stored needs to be easily understood.

Structure is needed when paper documents are stored in a file cabinet; the same structure is needed in the electronic world.