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Organizing Digital and Physical Files for a More Productive Workplace

While National Organize Your Files Week may not be the most riveting event to add to your calendar this month, it just might be one of the most impactful.

Keeping clutter around takes up mental space, as well as physical. For a lot of employees, decluttering their environment helps them feel less anxious and more prepared to tackle the work they really need to do.

Making sure your digital and physical files are in the right place is like a breath of fresh air every time you sit to work. Prepare to use this week to give yourself the gift of a calmer workspace.

Tackling the physical

Take one day this week – and hopefully not the whole day, but maybe an hour – to sort through the paperwork on your desk. What needs to be stored? What can be recycled? If the information can be found online or stored in a secure database, recycle those pages.

Calendars, documents or other items you might reference often could go in a folder near your desk, or post them somewhere easily visible. Keeping loose papers on your desk will do you no favors.

Go through existing filed papers as well. This might take a little more time. Focus on recycling what you no longer need, and consider scanning and storing documents you need to keep. This frees up space and protects the documents from prying eyes and unforeseen events like natural disasters.

Defining the digital

Set aside time this week to organize your digital files as well. You might need to spread this task over a few days, and that’s OK!

Start by taking stock of your storage system. To gauge its effectiveness, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are we storing files securely?
  • Can members of the team access files easily when needed?
  • How are digital files backed up?
  • Do we store documentation that needs to be stored independently from other employee information in a compliant manner?

If your current employee database software doesn’t make the above easy for you, this week might be a good time to look into one that will.

For documents referenced by your team, save them on a shared server or a secure file-sharing platform. Condense folders of past years’ materials if you are keeping them for reference. Back up critical files to an external hard drive if your HR software provider doesn’t ensure secure backups. Confirm that you are following document retention guidelines when reviewing your files.

And when that’s done, send yourself outside to get a real breath of fresh air! You’ve just made your workspace – and your workflow – way less stressful and more productive. Read our blog post, “How to Get Organized and Create More Bandwidth as an HR Business Partner,” for more helpful tips!