Finding your files

Best Practices by a Records Management Expert

This month’s article is provided by Indira Cronin, Spacesaver Solutions one of our manufacturing partners.

Do you spend a lot of time searching for the information you need? Are records constantly getting misfiled or lost? As a records management expert, I understand that your time is money and a lack of efficiency in a workplace can be very costly. Vital records need to be easily accessible and securely stored. To help you get the most out of your filing system I have put together a list of tips and tricks for filing best practices.

Adopt a colour coding system

Improve the time consuming and tedious process of filing, sorting, and retrieving by adopting a colour coding filing system. By using a colour coded filing method, you can reduce your retrieval time by 40%. Your staff will immediately be able to tell if something has been misfiled simply by looking at the system and seeing that a folder’s colour is in the wrong spot. Your organization can also reduce the risk of lost files, and increase efficiency and employee productivity.

Implement consistent naming conventions

Consistent naming conventions are a must in maintaining both electronic and paper based filing systems. Create a system to implement consistent naming conventions for your files and train employees to follow specific labeling guidelines. This way, you can avoid staff members working independently naming their files which creates chaos when others try to retrieve information related to these records. Having consistent guidelines ensures that anyone can find a specific file regardless of whether they’ve accessed it before or not.

Create a record retention policy

Whether you store your information electronically, physically, or a combination of the two, a record retention policy is a must. A record retention policy is a plan for record keeping, storage, and destruction. Records retention helps you in storing your data per your organization’s needs, as well as in destroying it when required. Three major benefits to having a records retention policy are improved security, savings in litigation costs, as well as reduced storage costs.

Top tab vs. end tab

Another element to consider in your filing system is whether to go with top tab or end tab folders. Top tab folders are generally used in organizations with a small amount of records. They are stored in filing cabinet drawers where hanging folders are preferred. Top tab folders work well if only a few people need access and they aren’t used daily. If your organization has a large amount of records that need to be accessed by multiple people on a regular basis, you should consider using an end tab system. End tab folders sit on a shelf and are easy to see and retrieve (especially when a colour-coding system is used). They are a great option for saving office space as they can be stored in high-density shelving systems which can cut your storage space in half.
Need help with your filing system? If you’d like to learn more about filing best practices or want to improve your records management, I am happy to meet with you to discuss how we can help!

Indira Cronin is a RMS Business Development Rep for Spacesaver Solutions. She has worked with organizations across Canada for over 12 years helping them with their records management and storage needs. Whether you store your information digitally, physically, or a combination of the two, Indira will work with you to create the best solution for your organization. Contact Indira at for more information.

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