In this current world, it’s becoming almost inevitable to run a business purely offline. You’ll often find yourself editing, storing, and sending documents online. Thus, you need to know how to manage your online documents effectively.
The right online document management system ensures that you’re keeping both your firm’s and your client’s information safe while also making it easier for you and your employees to work together to achieve your laid-out goals.
Here are some of the ways to effectively manage your online documents at work:
1- Use A Consistent Pattern In Naming Your Folders And Files
First and foremost, you need a master folder to store all your online documents. Then, divide the master folder into subfolders for coworkers, clients, customers, vendors, or different departments.
For each of these folders, choose names that quickly identify what kind of files are stored therein. This makes it easy for you to access whatever file you need. Also, you may want to differentiate the folders by coloring them differently or by using distinct folder markers. This helps you easily differentiate them at first glance.
2- Use Electronic Signatures
In business, it’s common to strike deals with clients and partners spread across different geographical locations. And, you’ll always need the contracts signed. One of the easiest ways to solve this is to use an electronic signature.
With this, you don’t have to spend hours traveling to meet your clients with printed contracts. Regardless of the distance that separates you, e-signatures allow you to seal deals via the internet instantaneously.
3- Delete Unnecessary Documents
If you have the habit of saving virtually every document, consider stopping it. Take some time to understand the content in any given document you come across. Save the file if the content is relevant to your organization’s work. If it’s irrelevant, there’s no need to keep it.
Furthermore, having many inessential documents may make it hard for you to find necessary ones. This is because it makes you search through a lot of clutter before reaching the specific document you need. So, be selective when it comes to saving documents.
4- Save Related Documents In The Same Folder
If you’re working on different projects, you should have separate folders for each of them. Doing so keeps your work organized. When it’s time to work on any given project, you’re able to maintain focus on the task at hand, boosting your productivity.
You’re not tempted to handle bits of all your projects in one go. Out of sight, out of mind. Also, storing data related to one project together makes it easy to access the relevant documents quickly.
5- Save Ongoing Work Separate From Completed Work
At times, you may have a project in which employees submit the deliverables in several milestones. As the manager, it’s in your best interest to separate the complete milestones from any ongoing work.
Whenever they complete what they’re currently working on, transfer the documents to the ‘final’ folder. You can do this weekly or monthly, depending on the type of work and the number of employees handling the job. This is one great step towards efficient project management.
6- Avoid Putting Excess Files In One Folder
Don’t overcrowd one folder with thousands of files, as you’ll find it quite difficult to locate a specific file. Consider storing related files into subfolders and sub-subfolders.
Say, for example, you have a client called Sky Vendors and a folder to store all files concerning them. You may have subfolders with names like ‘Sky Vendors Contracts’ and ‘Sky Vendors Sales Presentations.’
This kind of organization is important for you and your employees since everyone in the team can locate required files at the click of a mouse.
7- Organize Your Documents By Dates
Another great idea is to include the date a given document was created in its file name. This is especially important if the order of creation of documents matters. Take the example of blog posts. You usually want to know the date each blog was published. Include its date of publication in the file name, together with its title.
8- Be Clear-Cut In Naming Files
The objective of a file name is to enable the user to understand what kind of information is contained in the file even before opening it. Therefore, ensure that all files are named in a clear-cut way that conveys enough information regarding their contents.
For instance, if you have blog posts by different writers, you may want the file names to include the date they were written, the article’s title, and the writer. That’s enough information to help you tell what the file is all about.
9- Use Email Management Software
In this digital era, you most probably receive many work-related emails daily. If this is the case, you need a reliable email management tool to help you keep track of all attached documents.
You can program such software to save relevant files in specific folders of your choice automatically. This saves you from the headache of losing critical documents by accidentally deleting emails. It also saves you a great deal of time in case you handle dozens of documents daily.
10- Secure Your Cloud Storage
Cloud storage allows you to store humongous volumes of data. In actual fact, you can store all your business documents and software files on a single cloud storage platform. The free options usually have a limited capacity, so you may have to go for the paid-for versions if your storage needs are great.
Whatever the case, your main concern should be the security of your data. While cloud storage is generally safe, there have been reports of malicious attacks by hackers that loot important data from businesses and individuals. Therefore, it’s good to have extra measures like complex passwords to access your cloud storage platform and having reliable antivirus software.
The more organized you are, the higher your chances of success in the business world. This starts with storing your work-related online documents in a way that makes it easy to retrieve them. Also, you may want to use online document management tools to lighten your work. This results in a standardized system that every member of your team finds easy to use.