5 Office Filing System Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to sorting, organizing, and cleaning files in an office, even the most active person in the office tries to turn the task down and pass it on to someone else. Yes, I totally admit that filing can be such a daunting task; but someone has to do it, and that someone can commit such mistakes which makes filing more complicated and painful.

No matter how big or small an establishment is some filing mistakes are bound to happen, and that can cause so many problems—you cannot find a vital document right when you need it, or something terrible can happen too like sensitive documents can get damaged or stolen.

On the other hand, if your documents are digital, then you might need not to worry about the safety of the documents, but one can commit electronic filing system mistakes too, and hackers can use that opportunity to penetrate your office server and get hands-on your confidential files.

In this article, the common office filing (physical and digital documents) system mistakes along with the ways of correcting them have been discussed, read on to avoid those mistakes and thus you would not need to get worried about your office documents again.


If your office cabinets and drawers are full of papers, then it is needless to say that you hate filing and apparently, you will have to search through a lot of papers whenever you try to find any document. In this way, the work can get delayed, and that can affect your company’s productivity. Some measurements you can take for avoiding the overstuffing mistake:

  1. First of all, sort out those files which have no use in the future; those files will only create a mess, so get rid of them as soon as you can. It is not possible to get it done within a day; take your time, and sort out one by one. You can take the help of the employees as well.
  2. If you are determined to use physical documents, then you need to place your files in a leaner way in the cabinet or drawer, so that you can quickly get the files you want using a hand.
  3. Having a 6-10inches gap in the cabinet or crate can make you move or drop files quickly.

Irrelevant Color Coding

While you search for tips on office documents filing, you will come across a solution for color-coding your files for quick and easy findings. However, creating lots of categories for files and coding them with many colors would never help you while you are searching for a file. You may find some useful notes on Fast Company about it. Try to keep it as simple as you can. It is advisable to create some master categories like finance, HR, client’s profile, and use color-coding to indicate the categories only. For an example for ‘finance’ you can use a bright yellow color, so all finance-related documents like invoices, expenses will be in yellow folders. Similarly, other related documents like employee details, salary details which belong to the ‘HR’ category can be in red folders. By assigning colors in this way, it can be easy to find a document whenever you need it.

Securing the Files

Paper documents are never secure, as they can get damaged, modified, or stolen easily. Any natural disaster can ruin your paper documents, and you cannot do anything about it. However, if you have digitized your paper documents by integrating document management system (DMS) in your work process, then you can retrieve the documents even after a natural disaster. Plus the DMS also provides security to some extent so that hackers cannot get to view your confidential data. However, the users also need to take care of their documents by protecting those using secure passwords, encrypting the attachments when sending e-mails and of course, by maintaining strong password convention. Often people use random and easily guessable passwords, which makes the files vulnerable. A secure password must have certain things like a combination of capital and small letters, at least one number and one special character.  It is also advisable that the passwords for confidential documents should be changed regularly. The DMS also gives the authority to monitor other people activities, so you can check which person is viewing which files by sitting at your desk, for more information for the same you can check filecenterdms.com

Random File/Folder Naming

Another terrible mistake is using abbreviation or random names to files and folders which make it hard while searching for a particular file; it can be easily avoided by maintaining file naming convention. The folder name should be simple, understandable and straight forward, using an abbreviation for naming the folder often makes us forget about the abbreviation later and that result in complicacy during work. Rather than naming the files with “ABC” or “XYZ,” if the files are named by specifying their purpose, then it becomes easy while looking for a document.

Being Afraid to Create Sub-folders

Having more than 50 files in a folder is similar to overstuffing the drawers with paper documents. As mentioned earlier, it is essential to establish significant categories to organize files into them; however, if there is an opportunity for adding a layer, why not use it? Sub-folders are created to add layers while you try to organize your office files. Suppose, your clients’ details are created as a major and primary folder, if you keep all the project documents in that particular folder then it will be hard for you to distinguish them when requires. Rather than that, you can save files of each project in different sub-folders for your convenience. However, create sub-folders if necessary, if you only have a handful of related documents, then there’s no need to create any sub-folders.

You can see how easily the common mistakes can be avoided. A messy office makes the employees lazy; a clean office spreads the positive vibe where the employees can work peacefully. So don’t delay the organization, get set go for an organized workplace!

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