Filing paperwork is often the most disliked and avoided task in an office. Many people find it too time consuming and complicated to find a home for all their paperwork so it ends up piling up here and there and everywhere, making matters worse. The good news is that it is not as hard as many people think to establish and easy to use and maintain filing system!

The first step is to understand how simple it can be – did you know there are only three types of files you ever need? An effective filing system has only three types of files: action, reference and archive.

Action files
Your action file is anything related to projects you are currently working on, these are files that you access frequently. Make sure that these files are close to your desk and easy to access and re-file after you have used them. Many of us pile these types of files on our desk out of fear of misplacing them, but once you set up a good filing system you can forget that fear for good!

Reference Files
Reference files are not accessed as often as action files, but they are still important files that you need to hold onto. These types of files don’t necessarily have to be right at your desk, but they shouldn’t be too far away either.

Archive Files
Archived files are files that are not needed with any regularity, if at all. These files can be kept in a storage room, or wherever else there is room and they will be safe. Archived files are mostly files that you keep “just in case”, but usually do not end up having to access.

All three types of files are important to your office, but for this article we will focus on the benefits of setting up a good – shared - reference filing system.

Your company’s resource library is made up of reference files. How much time have you seen wasted, or wasted yourself, looking for a piece of reference material? It is easy to imagine how much more productive each member of your office could be if they quick, easy access to all the reference files they needed.

In addition to the benefit of increased efficiency, sharing a central reference filing system can unite an office. Teamwork is fostered when resources are shared in order to benefit every member of the office.

If you are ready to set up a shared reference filing system the first thing you need to do is choose a filing system that will fit your current workspace needs and your corporate culture.

It is a good idea to find a central location, outside of anyone’s individual workspace to locate your reference file system. A central location will make it easy for everyone to get access to the reference files, and keeping it away from anyone’s individual workspace will eliminate any interruptions that could occur otherwise.

A great way to ensure the success of your new filing system is to get as many people as possible on board with the implementation. Start by having a brief training session on the filing system you choose so that everyone is clear on how it works. Then have a business organizing brainstorming session to work out the details like where it will be located and how it will be maintained. Once everyone sees how easy it can be to manage reference files, and how much more productive that can be, they will finally make use of those important reference files!

Author's Bio: 

Sherry Borsheim has been creating business organizingorganizing Microsoft Outlook, and streamlining paper, email, time and space workflow issues. She recognizes that each client’s situation is unique and works with them to create custom, effective organizing systems. Get your free e-kit "7 Ways to Organize Your Workspace" by visiting now.