By Lucy Bartlett
Are you familiar with the following scene in your office? Your haggard looking colleague muttering to himself “Where the ********* (expletive deleted) has that paper gone?” You try to draw his attention, he doesn’t respond. Ultimately he locates his paper amongst the junk accumulated by him despite his vow to get his desk cleared without fail.
Welcome to the most familiar scene in offices around the world despite high sounding TQM and other acronyms denoting efficiency in management.
An efficient filing system devised to put the documents and papers in their proper places should reduce the stress and confusion prevailing in any organization. If you have a good filing system then the efficiency of your organization increases greatly.
Are you not fast enough to classify your paper according to its content? Then it awaits its place on your table which gets cluttered with more and more papers not yet classified for their final destination. Once your table is full of these papers, you start placing the next batch of papers at whatever locations – drawers, in boxes and elsewhere
How to avoid this situation? Discard unwanted papers immediately.
If your filing system is not properly codified, you might never locate or recover the papers you are searching. Filing a fortnightly sales report in the personal file of the sales man who is making that report, will make you search for that report endlessly in various files and probably when you are in a hurry to report for the meeting to discuss sales forecast and budget.
Make placement of, and access to information easy. Separate the papers which are to be filed off from the papers which need follow-up. Create temporary files and closed files. Include in your temporary files those paper needing frequent decisions and action, documents, notes, plans related to your current project, materials from diverse sources need to be read by you.
Label your files accurately and clearly so that perusal of the title should reflect clearly the contents of the file. Create a flowchart prior to designing your file system. This will improve the efficiency of the system. Control the access to the files. Files containing sensitive information should not be placed in the common filing cabinet accessed by everybody.
Use Hotfiles – to hold 100 or more sheets for your immediate working papers.
Arrange the files properly either alphabetically, numerically (for invoices or bills using continuous running numbers) or in groups of relevant divisions and sub divisions.