how to establish an office filing system

Few things are more important to a smooth-running office than a filing system that works. Whether you are the only one accessing files or you share with a staff, the filing system you choose must be organized so everyone can find what they're looking for. If the filing system is difficult to use, you will hang onto papers for fear of losing them in the files, and you'll soon have piles of papers covering your desk.

Steps

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1. Decide on a filing system. Whatever it is, it must make sense, so you'll know exactly where every piece of paper is. Your options are:
  • Alphabetical. This system is best when most of your files are going to be names of clients, patients or customers.
  • Subject or category: Most file systems are organized by subject or category, which works well when set up correctly, but can also be the most confusing when it's not.
  • Numerical/Chronological. This best when your files consist mainly of numbered or dated material, like purchase orders or receipts.

 

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2. Fill your file drawers with hanging folders. The hanging folders will never be removed, acting as place holders for the manila envelopes which you will remove from the drawer.

 

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3. Sort your papers into piles by category. If a pile gets more than an inch or two tall, divide it into subcategories. If a pile is too thin, combine it with another pile and rename it. The names of the piles should make it easy to determine which pile every piece of paper goes into.

 

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4. Place each pile into a manila folder and label it clearly. It's best to use folders with tabs that are in the center rather than staggered because it makes the files look neater.
 
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5. Place the manila folders into the hanging folders. For most files, regular hanging folders will work, but for thick files or files you had to divide into subcategories, use box bottom folders. You can order the folders however you want, but most people use an alphabetical system at this point.
 
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6. Label the hanging folders with the same names as the manila folders. Place all the plastic tabs on the left of the folder unless you are using a lateral file cabinet. For lateral files, which run left to right when you open the drawer rather than front to back, place the tabs on the right side.

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7.Place a supply of hanging and manila folders near the files so you can easily add a folder if you find yourself with a piece of paper that doesn't belong to an existing folder. Avoid folders that are too thick or too thin. You may also want to relabel folders and redistribute papers if you decide that you need to re-categorize.

 

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8.At the end of the year, remove all the folders, label fresh manila folders with the same category names and place them in the files. Go through the old folders to see if anything needs to be transferred to the current files, and place the rest in your archive.

 

Source: www.wikihow.com

 

 

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