Every business requires some sort of filing system in order to be successful. After all, organisation is the key to success. Without it, things get forgotten about, mislaid or even not completed at all.
Of course, the way we file has changed a great deal over the years. In the past, businesses invested in office supplies such as lever arch files, storage boxes and filing cabinets. As the nation gradually made a shift from paper to digital, the way businesses chose to file followed suit. Nowadays, it’s common to find either purely digital filing methods or even a combination of the two. Let’s take a look at which method is best for the modern day business.
Some of the more traditional filing systems included using box files and lever arch files. Documents were separated and organised within each file with subject dividers. When the documents mounted up, they were transferred to a storage box where there was more room. To make information easier to locate, it was usually organised in date order or by alphabetical order. Lockable filing cabinets were common too particularly for storing employee information and confidential files.
Some people may argue “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. This could well be applied to the concept of traditional filing. One of the reasons it is still widely used lies in the fact that it works. Additionally people don’t like change and for companies whose employees have worked there for many years, it sometimes makes more sense for them to continue using the same filing system that they are used to. This is particularly relevant for employees belonging to an older generation who did not grow up surrounded by computers and technology.
Of course, as with most things, there is a downside to traditional filing. Having only paper copies of everything mean that over time it all mounts up. An office only has so much space and there will come a time when the subject of the filing methods used will be called into question. Take for example a doctor’s surgery. Handwritten notes on every patient not only causes legibility problems but also means that, by storing every single patient’s medical records in paper format, the storage space is soon full to the brim. Luckily, digital filing methods can address these cons and help to bridge the gaps in the limitations of traditional filing.
So what constitutes digital filing? Well, it’s a combination of servers, external hard drives and USB sticks. Digital filing is a good option if you want to save space in your office or if you need to easily transport your documents. Additionally, without the need to print out documents for traditional filing you use less printer ink and copier paper which helps to save the environment.
You can store more digitally. Servers and external hard drives allow you to move documents over from your computer, freeing up space on your device’s hard drive and simultaneously archiving the documents for safekeeping. You’ll also be able to access the information you require instantly, saving you from searching through piles and piles of paper. USB sticks are great for when you need to have access to files and documents away from the office as they’ll connect to most computers.
Combining Filing Types
Digital filing is able to make up for the limitations of traditional methods. However, it is a good idea to use the two in conjunction. Storing a lot of confidential information on a computer will put you at risk of being targeted by hackers. Keeping hard copies of confidential documents under lock and key in your office filing cabinet keeps them safe with the advantage that only you know they are there.