Businesses and organizations are creating more content than ever. Logos, images, company pictures, videos, documents, spreadsheets - we have an ever-increasing list of files to keep track of and the solution to effectively managing this information is organization.
Here are 7 ways you can streamline your file organization, no matter what fileshare system you use.
Create a Strategic File Hierarchy
A file structure that makes sense to you (and your team, if you're organizing a company-wide storage service) and is consistent is key. You could opt to organize resources by category ("Social Media"), or all files by date/year. Or, alternatively based on how you and your team prefer to work, you could organize files in a "Process-Finished-Archived" structure. Ultimately, the file structure you choose depends on your unique preferences and workflow. Just remember, consistency is key.
Create a Naming Standard for Filenames
The more precise you can make your filenames, the better. Be descriptive without going overboard, use dates (conventionally - in a YYMMDD format), consider eliminating spaces from filenames, and use leading zeros and eliminate special characters (as some programs and services are unable to recognize them).
The way you name your files plays a large role in how easy they will be to find in the future. So put some thought into a naming process that makes sense to you and your team and make sure to be consistent with your process of choice when naming each and every file you create.
Use a File System That Can Search Contents
Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft 365 OneDrive/SharePoint Online, and other file systems have the ability to search inside files for keywords. This makes it easier to find files even if you can't remember the name of the file or which subfolder you stored it in.
Archive Old Files
By archiving old files — files that you don’t necessarily want to delete, but don’t use on a regular basis anymore — you reduce the amount of assets you need to search through in order to find the ones you’re looking for.
If you can regularly schedule time to browse through your file library and move old files to archive folders, we recommend it!
Don't Mix Business With Personal Files
Business and personal files should always be kept separate. Not only will this improve your overall file organization process, but you’ll also ensure your personal files — vacation photos, personal budget sheets, passwords, etc. — remain private and out of the hands of others. Plus, it’s just unprofessional to store personal files in the same location as your work files. Especially, if your company is paying for the storage.
Backup is Critical, Even if You Store FileShares in the Cloud
Most businesses and organizations already know it's important to back up file shares on a Windows Server. But did you know it's also critical to backup Cloud fileshare systems like Microsoft 365 OneDrive/SharePoint or DropBox. These Cloud fileshare systems are redundant in the cloud, but aren't protected against viruses, ransomware, intentional deletion files, or even accidental deletion of files. A cloud-based backup solution for not only your Cloud fileshare systems, but also Office 365/Microsoft 365 is strongly recommended.
Commit to Proper File Organization
Finally, none of these techniques matter if you aren’t willing to implement and use them consistently. So commit to proper file organization right now!
More than that, if you work with a team, get them on board as well. Set new standards for how files ought to be organized within your office and demand your coworkers meet them.
Implementing these 7 tips can lead to increased productivity for your users, as they will be able to find the files they need in a timely manner.