With small business offices, there is usually one or two people who know where the files are. But, what if you have to hire others on a part-time basis as your business grows? Will they know where everything is? What if there is an emergency and you need to hire a temp? Will these people know where you store the papers?
Here are tips to organize office files so anyone in the office will know where they go:
Tip 1: Draw out a floor plan (or Office Map) and including all the filing cabinets that you use to file papers. Label the filing cabinets on your floor plan drawing with statements similar to the ones below.
- File payroll paperwork here.
- File payroll reports/confirmation sheets of payment here.
- Here is where I put expenses to be invoiced.
- Outstanding invoices filed here.
- Place the bills to pay here.
- When you need to pay your bills, you will find them here.
- File the paid bills here.
- File the contracts from clients here under the client’s name.
- File client folders here.
- File conference paperwork here.
- Here is where I put my to-do files.
- Here is where I put my current projects.
On another duplicate floor plan, add the following areas and staple them together:
- Office Supplies
- Conference Room area supplies
Tip 2: Make procedure lists as thorough as possible. List every task in your office as well as, where to file the paper when they are through, and review it at least once a year to make sure it is updated. This will help transition new employees more smoothly.
Tip 3: Make sure your filing cabinets have a system. Label the hanging folder with broad topics and label the folders with more specific topics. A no-brainer, right? Not really. Many people fail to know the different between specific topics and broad topics. Before creating the system, go through and write-up a list of the topics you think you want to use on a piece of paper and then review it with your real files. Then, pretend you are a new person and you know nothing about the system. Review the system, does it work? If it doesn’t work to modify where you are missing steps and then implement the entire system in your filing cabinets.
By doing this, it will help you and your staff (temporary or not) work the office. Keep these items in a safe place and give a copy to everyone that may need them, like your office manager, your spouse, and employees.
What system works for you? Please share below.
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