Set Your Home Office Up Properly
Files and folders are virtual dinosaurs in this age of the
paperless office. All businesses can benefit from the
proper management and organization of office records.
Throwing things away seems almost a sin for some small
business owners which is precisely why many find themselves
buried under a mountain of disorganized paperwork.
Business owners will tend to keep everything in an effort
to avoid having to decide what to keep and what to pitch.
In time, the storage room door cannot be opened and hope is
all but lost for finding any documents that may be needed.
It is the responsibility of management to make sure things
remain organized to prevent lowered productivity or a
complete shutdown of business operations.
Barbara Hemphill, an expert on office efficiency,
says that "most small businesses don't deal with
their papers until it's too late." If there is one
important piece of paper you need to find amongst
hundreds if not thousands of other papers it could
take you days to locate its whereabouts.
Management needs to take steps now to prevent this
type of situation from happening.
Step One Towards Office Organization
You are going to need an entire day (if not more) to
organize the office. You do not want to find yourself
interrupted and distracted by customers, so choose a day
when you are not normally open to tackle this mammoth
project. Make sure all office staff get in on the fun
because it is certain that they helped to create the mess.
It is possible to organize the office by yourself and even
some true blue entrepreneurs have been known to set aside a
day for the task.
The easiest way to start is with current paperwork
that's taking up space on your desk. Sorting by
subject and then by date is a great way to organize
your papers and will make finding what you need
much easier. You should also get a system of file
folders that you can place your paperwork in to
make it easier to retrieve.
You should also have a separate system for your
accounting and bookkeeping. Expense reports and
receipts should be carefully filed for later reference.
A good idea is to record your business transactions
into a ledger. You can either use a ledger book or
one of the many software programs available.
Once you've organized paperwork into file folders, you'll
need to assemble boxes or purchase crates to keep documents
in. Your filing system will depend on the type of business
you operate. Some businesses organize their files by the
client's name, while others use job numbers. No matter what
type of business you operate, you will always file your
accounts receivable and accounts payable the same. All that
matters is that you have a system to your filing.
Organizing your Computer Documents
Fire or water can wreak havoc on a business if either of
these two hazards reach critical documents. Businesses
have coped with these dangers by investing in scanners so
that they can digitize their physical documents.
Computer documents are easily accessible and easier to file
on a CD or 3.5" floppy. Of course, if you want to be really
high-tech, you can use an external hard drive to store your
documents. CD's, floppies, and external hard drives should
be stored in a fire resistant safe, or off the premises.
You may want to consider an automated backup
service for your financial files and records. For a
reasonable fee you can have all your important
documents stored on an off site server. This will
keep your files safe give you peace of mind.
Hemphill says that "Your ability to accomplish
daily tasks is directly related to your ability to find
the right information at the right time." If your
office isn't currently organized make it your
number one priority. It will save you time and
money in the future.
About the author: Nyall Bakk is the chief writer at Advertising WorldWide
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