Organization Tips for Your Office and Computer Files
Whether your office works in-person or remotely, efficiency is best cultivated through a strong organization. The ability to locate necessary resources and documents quickly and easily can make all the difference in getting the job done. However, efficient organization is solely accomplished through persistent attention and effort; it is not something that happens overnight. This process may feel overwhelming to organizations trying to start their organizational journey, but it does not have to be a burden. In fact, organizational development should be a liberating experience for your agency. Below are some tips on how you can organize your office and computer with ease:
Tips to Organize Your Office:
- Remove Unnecessary Clutter: The first step to organizing your office is removing all the items that no longer serve your agency. You will see that space differently when you remove unnecessary clutter from your office. Removing clutter makes it easier to envision the best layout for your office, allowing you to capitalize on what you already have. An excellent method to work through the clutter is the “3-pile method”. This method is where you separate your items into those you can donate, throw away, or keep. When determining whether something should be in the keep pile, it is essential to consider how valuable the item is, when the last time you used it was, and whether you will need to use it shortly. Once you’ve decided to discard or donate an item, try your best to stick to it!
- Create Work Areas: Each space in your office should have an easily identifiable purpose that reflects what items should go there. For example, you may have a supply area that only holds office supplies or a reference area where you house all of your files. It may also be beneficial to your team to have a “focus zone.” This space should be clean and free of any items besides your work desk. Creating these designated spaces gives each area in your office purpose and makes it easier to determine where things will go.
- Review Your Filing System: Determine if keeping paper copies of documents in the office is necessary. Many items can be scanned and digitally saved, but if a hard copy is needed, it is vital to have a sound filing system. There are many techniques based on what you need to file. Here is one resource on a possible filing system: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/say-goodbye-to-your-filing-tray-forever.html
- Use Tools to Organize: Today, there is an abundance of tools available that make getting and keeping organized a breeze, such as label makers, drawer dividers, cable holders, special file organizers, etc.. Investing in these items will help you organize quickly and ensure that everything has a place to go.
Tips to Organize Computer Files
- Clear the Clutter: Like the physical office, the first step to organizing your computer files is eliminating all the unnecessary junk– meaning you’ll have to purge any outdated or irrelevant files to your organization’s operations. When deciding what files to keep or delete, ask yourself when the last time you needed this information was and how likely you will need that file in the future.
- Implement a Hierarchy Filing System: All related files should be together and in one place only! Creating a main folder with subfolders within will help you maintain this system. For example, a main folder labeled “finances” with subfolders for budgets, receipts, or invoices. With this system, anyone in your office should be able to identify and pull what they are looking for quickly.
- Have a Consistent Naming System:Even if you always file things away, you still need to be able to find specific documents quickly and know what each folder contains. A good rule of thumb is to think about how you would look for a record in the future. What name would you think of first? What would be the easiest to remember? Be consistent with whatever system you choose to support your organization further.
- Archive Old Files: If your organization has files it has to keep but rarely (if ever) has to review, it may be best to use an archive system. An archive system does not mean putting all the old files into one folder. The archive organization system should match your typical organization system. Reviewing archived files every so often to determine whether you need to delete any files is also a good idea to ensure it stays up to date.
- Stick With It: As you acquire more files or documents, save them in the appropriate place immediately instead of attaching them somewhere random and filing them later. This strategy will save you much time in the long run.