National Spring Cleaning Week is being observed in the United Kingdom this week – from 19th-25th March, 2012. It corresponds roughly with the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere. Thankfully, no matter where you live on the planet, the basic principles of managing your business efficiently do not change with the changing seasons. So here are 5 tips to help you make your office cleaner, leaner and greener!
- Set aside time to spring clean: Why not dedicate maybe one or two hours the last business day of every week to de-clutter your office? If you haven’t set time aside for this activity, you could easily forget it amidst your busy schedule.
- Re-visit your personal workspace: During this time, dig out your drawers, keyboard trays and the nooks and crannies – you might find old receipts or scraps of paper you no longer need. Shred them.
- Avoid adding to the paper pile: Resist the urge to print unless absolutely necessary. Want to jot down bits of information before writing that email? Use a program like Notepad instead of paper. Or reuse the other side of a printout or photocopy you no longer need to retain.
- Opt for e-bills and e-statements: The best thing about electronic documents is that after you have referred to them, you don’t need to “file them back!” Simply close the document and it’s out of your sight, but still in your database. Besides, every tree provides oxygen enough for 3 people to breathe (Source: North Carolina Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling). So by signing up for e-bills, you help save trees and improve the quality of the air we breathe.
- Create new documents in digital formats: No matter how much paper you scan, your paper pile won’t stop growing unless you start creating new documents in digital formats. The approach to take is this: scan your existing paper based documents (including letters and other documents that come from outside the office) and create all new documents in electronic formats. Then shred the paper documents when as soon as their retention period is over. If you have a large paper archive, you can take up its scanning as a separate project.
After having taken those 5 steps, make sure you organize your files in search friendly ways. One good way of managing your files is to use small business document management software. Sohodox is one solution that will help you digitize your paper based documents, import your existing digital documents (even email) and organize all of them systematically. You can then edit these documents and share them with other Sohodox users on your network.
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