Friday, March 29, 2013

Simplifying Filing

The hardest part in having a proper, functioning filing system is developing the groundwork. It's easy enough to conceive a system, but unless it is ideal for your office and without the right supplies and storage options, it won't work. A good system not only gets the job done, it is simple, logical and effortless enough that you'll stick with it. The first step is making sure the right folders are in the right place every time.

The first thing to determine is how often files need to be retrieved. This can help determine whether an end tab or top tab system is right for you. Either way, this guide can help you find the folders you need. End tab filing systems stack on a shelf along the wall, making both the folders and their labels readily visible for everybody to access. These are perfect for reception areas, particularly at clinics or offices where all employees need to pull client files quickly.

Files that aren't recalled as often should go into hanging file systems. These are top tab folders that hang on rails built into most cabinets and pedestal files. Files meant for one employee or a household should go into a pedestal file that fits under the desk (frames are available for drawers without rails). General company files that everybody may need access to or that accumulate over time should go into a central filing cabinet.

Vertical filing cabinets take up less space but are harder to retrieve files- use these for archives that won't need to be recalled often. Since lateral files keep all files closer to the floor and are filed from side to side, they are easier to retrieve and should be used with items that are more likely to be needed again. While large stacks in a single folder may defeat the purpose of organizing papers, use box bottom folders when it's necessary. Box Bottom folders are reinforced at the bottom and will support more weight.

Files that a single user will refer to frequently shouldn't be stuffed into a cabinet at all, but that doesn't mean they can't be organized. Desktop file sorters or frames keep top-tab folders straight on the desk. Using hanging files here will make it even easier if these folders will eventually find their way into a cabinet.

With any of these options, labels are vital. Find hanging file folders that include tabs and inserts to keep them properly identified, while both top-tab and end-tab systems can benefit from color coded labels that make the right type of file easy to spot.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Shredders Simplified

For businesses of any size, shredding is a hassle. Every company has discarded information that needs to remain confidential, but the legal mandates for maintaining privacy are so strict that we grow to resent the need to render documents “unrecognizable or beyond reconstruction.” It leaves us wondering who's rooting through our trash and if our current shredding work is enough to guard against someone with enough free time and plenty of Scotch tape. There's time to spare for such paranoia, as feeding papers into a shredder is far more dull than anything involving loud, destructive machinery has any right to be.

It is, however, a vital part of business and must be given proper consideration. The problem isn't that shredding is necessary. Companies open themselves up to identity theft, lawsuits and corporate espionage when the job isn't done. The problem is that failing to properly address a company's unique shredding needs is a waste of time and money. For example, one popular and easy solution is off-site shredding, where another company picks up your documents and shreds them for you. Not only can that be expensive, how secure can you really feel when something that you are responsible for destroying leaves your offices intact? If anything goes wrong, you're still on the hook for it.

Shredding documents internally offers peace of mind and is more affordable, but only if the shredders you purchase are suited for your needs. An insufficient shredder means that employees will spend far too much time feeding papers, emptying bins and dealing with jams. A low-end model that can be tossed under a desk for an individual to use isn't going to cover an entire department.

This buying guide helps you find the shredder that offers not only the right level of security for your business, but also the number of sheets that can be shred at a time. For a cross-cut shredder, units that can accept 10 sheets are fine for individual desks and households, 12-14 sheets are recommended for small offices, while larger offices and departments should use shredders that can handle 20-30 sheets at a time. Micro-cut shredders, which create very small particles and may be required for destroying extremely sensitive information, accept fewer sheets per pass.

To really save on labor, consider Swingline's Stack and Shred model, where up to 100 sheets can be inserted into the machine, which will lock them inside and shred them while an employee can go back to work. Other innovative options that may appeal to you are the strong high capacity shredders from Martin Yale's Intimus line, the jam prevention features developed by Fellowes, and the GoEcoLife series of shredders that are both functional and environmentally friendly.