Cloud storage was a great invention. It allows everyone access to the same files, reduces redundant copies on multiple computers, and keeps files easily accessible and sharable from anywhere.
But it also introduces more potential for disorganisation. Instead of having one person accessing their files that knows their own filing logic, you have an entire company of people with different ways to file having to use a centralised system. This can lead to majorly “messy” cloud storage accounts, where it’s hard for anyone to find anything.
Searching for information required to do their jobs can take employees as much as 19.8% of their work time, or the equivalent of a full business day per workweek.
While cloud storage is one of the most used business cloud services, it can’t magically organise itself. Here are several tips for improving the organisation of your company’s cloud storage and making documents easier to find for everyone.
Communicate a Standard Hierarchy
The way that folders are structured – the hierarchy – is an important foundation in how your company stores its online documents. You don’t want to have one department using a hierarchy of Client > Project, and another one using Department > Project > Client.
You should set the hierarchy that everyone is to use as the basis of how files are stored. This keeps everyone on the same page when they create new folders and makes it easier for someone to track down a file that someone else created. They’ll know from the company file hierarchy where a particular file should be located, meaning the search takes less time.
Keep the File Structure as Flat as Possible
Clicking into five folders just to get to a file is time-consuming. Additionally, the more folders you have, the more confusing it is for users to know where a certain file is stored.
To keep things better organised, keep your file structure as flat as possible, only 2-3 folders deep. This reduces the work it takes to both access and save files and reduces the chance that documents will get lost in a black hole, tucked so far inside a succession of folders that no one can find them.
Use Descriptive File Names
The search capabilities of cloud file storage are only as good as the naming conventions used for the files. If your files contain cryptic acronyms, it can be difficult for other users to find them.
Ask users to use descriptive file names that make it clear what the document is about. Some cloud storage platforms will have a tagging feature that allows you to attach keywords to file names making them easier to search. If your platform doesn’t have tagging, you could use “(tag)” at the end of the file name.
Don’t Make a New Folder for Fewer Than 10 Files
The more folders you have, the more “shells” someone has to uncover to find the file they need. It’s best to keep folders to the minimum and not use them for just a handful of files.
A best practice for file organisation is not to make a new folder unless that are at least 10 files that need to be stored together and don’t fit into another folder category.
Encourage “File Now” Instead of “File Later”
We’ve all been there… It’s a busy day and you’re creating a file, but you are short on time and just save it to a general folder, telling yourself that you’ll put it where it needs to go later.
But many times, that “later” never comes, and documents end up remaining misfiled. This then compounds and adds up over time for all users.
Encourage employees to “file now” rather than later. That few additional seconds it takes to navigate to the right folder is much less time than it will take to remember where you temporarily saved a file and move it to the right folder later.
Have an Admin Organise and Delete Once a Week
Your file storage needs to be culled regularly to keep things organised and easy to find. It’s a good idea to have an administrator take a look at files once per week to delete any unneeded files (like old drafts) and to organise any documents that may have been misfiled.
If done once a week, rather than once a month, this task won’t take as long, and your files will stay better organised.
Archive Old Files Quarterly
Your company should archive files that are no longer used actively at least quarterly. This entails moving them out of the main traffic areas of your cloud storage and into a master Archives folder. This keeps them out of the way, so users don’t have to mentally navigate around them to get to what they need each day.
Improve Your Cloud File Storage & Backup Processes
Connected Platforms can help your Brisbane area business with smart cloud storage solutions and cloud backup that will improve your resilience and productivity.