Clever office filing systems

Where are the minutes for the last meeting? Didn’t I note down the time of tomorrow’s meeting and the jobs I still need to finish on that scrap piece of paper next to the phone? What were the priorities and items on my to-do list for today? 

We've always known the importance of keeping things in order so that we can keep track, even before organising expert Marie Kondo came along with her tidying up tips for bookshelves and homes. People who don't manage to keep their offices tidy with a clearly organised filing system will soon become frustrated. They waste time looking for things and their work is not efficient. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, we have put together some valuable tips to help you get your office organisation into shape with the right filing systems and a filing workflow

What is filing all about?

Filing is the process of storing documents in a meaningful system – such as files, compartments, storage trays, magazine files, office drawer sets, letter trays – which can be used to organise documents. A filing system should support your work and ideally make it easier and it should be adapted to suit company processes and your work area. 

Why office filing systems are needed

Whether you use folders, filing trays or cabinets – filing systems offer plenty of advantages: 

  • Organisation is easier
  • Each type of document and information has its own place
  • Desks are always tidy 
  • Completing tasks becomes more efficient
  • Desks look professional 

The perfect filing system for your office

If documents and office supplies do not have their own set place on the desk, chaos often ensues. Unmarked files, loose papers in the letter tray and missing compartments make your work less efficient. Ideally, a modular filing system, such as the Novus More Space system, will ensure more order and less time spent on your work. A simple solution to deal with the chaos and make your desk more orderly is filing compartments attached to the edge of the desk. 

Copy Swingers from the Novus More Space system provide up to five filing trays in one system at the desk, without having to sacrifice any space whatsoever on your desk.

Benefit from the Novus modular filing system

Free up even more space on your desk with the Novus TSS monitor arm system, which makes it possible to flexibly adjust monitors above the desk. 

These are attached using the same desk attachment as for the Copy Swingers or to the SlatWall organisational wall. If you use the SlatWall, it will also provide you with plenty of other opportunities to improve your work equipment. Phone cradle, pen and pencil holder, filing trays – all of these can be attached. Your desk will be kept clear so that you can concentrate on the work in hand. More information on the modular More Space system. 

Office organisation with a filing workflow

You should work out a clear structure for your filing system right from the start and improve it regularly. 

1. Clearly label files and use colours

Devise a standard labelling system for all your compartments and avoid having a compartment labelled “various” or “miscellaneous”. Experience shows that this quickly leads to the build-up of too many documents, which you actually don’t need any more. Or you forget about them as soon as they have been filed. If you absolutely can’t manage without a general tray, make sure you look through it every evening before you finish work to sort it out. Colour coding on your trays or folders will also help you to organise your documents if you devise a colour coding system in advance. 

2. Regularly throw things away

Do you really need to keep the third set of corrections for the text? Probably not. Get used to discarding documents at your workstation as soon as a project has been completed. All too often, we keep files in some folder or other, which are guaranteed never to be looked at again. But this takes up space! Every month, clear out your letter trays and drawers so that you can maintain order at your workstation.

3. Keep digital folders tidy

These days, not everything needs to be printed out. Our tip: you can just as easily optimise your office organisation by labelling your e-mail folders using the same system as for your paper files. 

Sort through your emails and delete those you no longer need. Otherwise, sooner or later you will find yourself drowning under a flood of emails. Many documents can also be safely archived on the server. Or you could store them on an external storage disk if the documents are taking up too much space on the server.

4. Create order, every day: 

Tidy desks not only make a better impression with your customers, colleagues and boss. They will also save you a great deal of time, as you will be able to find the things you need more quickly. It’s best to tidy up your desk every evening before you go home. 

Sort documents and file them in your filing compartments, archive files and sort out your email folders. This will help you to avoid any analogue or digital chaos at your desk. 

5. Do it now! 

“I really must take care of this or that quite soon.” Stop talking yourself out of it. Of course there’s always going to be something else that’s more urgent or relevant. But you aren't doing yourself or your office organisation any favours if you keep putting various things off, such as filing small but important documents on the server. Or if you just forget about them completely. Therefore, do everything – whether it's analogue or digital – straight away and then you will keep your head clear for the more important things.

6. All notes in one place

Spontaneous ideas or scribbles while you’re on the phone should not be noted down on a whiteboard or a loose piece of paper. These are best written down in your desk pad. After all, the desk pad always stays in the same place. Or write them in a notebook, which you always have ready to hand.

We hope that our tips will help you to improve your filing system. If you can achieve order, you will be guaranteed to be in a better mood in the office and be more efficient in your work. More time to enjoy your time off!

3 additional tips for tidy office filing

We asked tidying guru Denise Colquhoun for three simple tips for orderly filing at work and in the home office, which will help you to achieve order without much effort. 

  1. If everything has its place, it’s easier to keep things in order. The more you keep, the fuller the files become. Therefore you should have a sort-out at least once a year. Make a note of this date in the calendar and then sort out all the documents that are no longer needed or have been replaced.
  2. A table of contents at the front of each folder will make it easier for you to look for and find documents.
  3. Set up just one inbox and sort through and empty it once a week. This will ensure your incoming mail never gets out of hand.

In her blog "Fräulein Ordnung" , Denise Colquhoun gives tidying tips for the home and coaches people who want to bring more order into their lives.

We hope you enjoy tidying up!