Looking for files can take up a considerable amount of the workday. It’s estimated that employees spend the equivalent of one whole day per week searching for information they need to do their job. That’s 19.8% of their business time! Some of that time could be saved by simply optimizing how files are stored on PC hard drives and in cloud service. Having file naming and storing conventions are especially important to organization when it comes to shared cloud storage, as there will be multiple people saving files. Having to find files based on someone else’s organization can be a nightmare.
Without any consistent roadmap in place, things can easily get messy and out of hand, making it harder for everyone to locate the information they need.. Do you need some help getting your files organized so they take less time to locate? Here are several tips that can be used for both PC hard drive storage and cloud storage.
Use a Consistent Hierarchy
It’s important to use a consistent hierarchy for file organization. Some people may start naming top folders by client and others might name them by product. If everyone isn’t on the same page, finding a file can be a time-consuming task of searching through several folders.
Put a hierarchy in place for your team to follow that dictates what the top-level folder subject will be and what the next level should be. For example, L1-Department > L2-Customer, etc.
Keep a Flat Folder Structure (Just 2-3 Folders Deep)
People can go overboard with the number of folders they use. If you save files too many files deep, it’s like opening a Russian nesting doll each time someone needs to get to a document. A huge amount of time can be wasted looking for the right folder!
Storing files too many folders deep also increases the chances that a file is going to be misplaced. Instead of filing something where it needs to go, it’s just going to be put on a desktop or in a general folder because the person doesn’t have time at the moment to do a deep dive to the exact folder they should.
Keep organizational file structures as flat as possible. They should be just 2-3 folders deep. This makes it easier to locate files and keeps files from getting buried.
Don’t Make a Folder for Less Than 10 Files
Having too many file folders can also mean more time is spent searching for the right one. Folder names will also tend to become more similar and difficult to discern the more folders you get.
It’s a good rule of thumb to only make a folder if you have at least 10 files that need to be uniquely stored.
Organize Things Right Away (Not “Later”)
One of the fastest ways that file storage gets out of hand is when people are too busy to save a file where it should be and instead just store it in an easy-to-find place like a “downloads” folder or on the desktop.
This might make that file easier to find that day because it’s at the top of the file explorer list. However, over time, it makes files much more difficult to locate.
It’s best to take those few additional seconds to store the file in the right place when it’s created or downloaded. If you keep a flat file structure without too many folders, you’ll be less likely to need to store something on a desktop at the moment.
Use Easily Searched File Names
Most people use the search feature to find a particular file. How helpful that search may be depends entirely upon the file names. Use easily searchable file names that are descriptive.
If your file storage solution allows you to use tags, you can use these as well to attach keywords and make files easier to find.
Pro tip: If you’re rethinking cloud storage services and shopping around, test out the search function before you commit. Not all cloud storage solutions have the same search capabilities, and this is one of the most important functions.
Do Cleanup and Organizing Once a Week
It’s a good idea to go through once a week to do file cleanup for duplicate files and files that are improperly stored. Doing this once a week will take less time over the long run and keeps your files easier to find.
Another important task during your cleanup session is to archive older files that are no longer needed regularly. These might be files related to a closed project that you want to keep, but people won’t be actively accessing.
Moving these to an archive folder keeps them from getting in the way when searching for other files.
Need Help Managing Your Cloud Storage & Backups?
Copperband Technologies would love to partner with your southern Kentucky or Middle Tennessee business! With smart and intuitive cloud storage and backup solutions, your team will be productive and your files secure.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation! Call 931.263.8000 or email us.