Shared (centralised) filing is mentioned throughout this website as common practice – a practice that CLCs should adopt.
How it works
All staff use the same single folder to store all electronic files (documents and the like). This folder should be located on a 'server' – a piece of hardware that all computers in the office are connected to.
Files are stored within subfolders in the usual way within this folder but shared by all staff and alternative file storing locations are discouraged.
- Less maintenance is required.
- Less work is duplicated.
- Backups are more reliable.
If everything is stored in the one place, decisions about what to back up and maintenance are easy. There is no 'mystery' and nothing will be left out.
Work is available to everyone. Folders can be shared. This makes for a higher likelihood that documents will be re-used and edited rather than rewritten.
How to do it
- Ask your IT support provider to create a shared folder on the server and make it available to all staff.
- Develop a policy that states that all work must be saved in the shared folder.
- Have a staff member oversee the policy and naming convention for the new sub-folders in the shared folder.
Example 'rules' for a shared filing policy
- No-one will save files on their own computer.
- All files will be saved in the single shared folder on the server.
- Documents and other files will be filed by topic or project – not under staff names, staff positions, or in folders named after the organisation.
- Each file or folder will not be duplicated.
- Old files will be be archived each year.
- A filename will appear on each document.
- Files will not be sent to other staff by email but accessed by shared folder instead.
Download a customisable sample filing policy (Word format), which includes an explanation of the rules.
Also see Moving from personal to organisational directory structures on the ITango Knowledgebase.