A few years back there was great excitement about the digital revolution and a paper-free world. Despite the potential of digital technology and efforts by many people, there still remains an abundance of paper used on a daily basis.
The simple truth is that physical signatures still matter and sometimes using actual paper is the right choice for confidentiality and in order to present the right case.
Of course, that means there is an abundance of paper that needs to be dealt with. While some of it can be shredded, some paper records need to be kept. That means you need to manage them in order to be able to access them in the future if needed.
The biggest task is making sure that all the paperwork pertaining to an individual or a specific case stays together. You can open a folder and put all the items into it. However, this does leave a risk of something being accidentally pulled out and left behind.
To avoid this it is best to invest in booklet makers. These will allow you to put all the relevant pieces of paper together and keep them on a plastic comb. It prevents accidentally losing pages and makes it easier to file the documents.
It is possible to classify booklets and folders by name. However, this can result in a complicated filing system as there will be multiple folders for certain people and you may even have enough people that the fling system is exceptionally large. This makes it more complicated than necessary to find files.
Instead, classify the files by category and then by person or case number.
But, for this to really work, the classification needs to be backed up by a computer This means you won’t lose the information regarding layout and a search option will make it easier for people to locate where a specific file has been stored, including the category and file name.
Don’t forget, just because a paper file is needed, it doesn’t mean it will always be required. Make sure you have a system in place that identifies the oldest files that are no longer necessary. This will allow you to remove the files from your system and destroy them properly.
Doing this will help to keep the size of the database reasonable, making it easier to search and locate any specific file.
It is also essential that you create a movement log. This means that anyone taking the file needs to sign it out and back in. The log will help ensure all files are accounted for and identify who had the file last if it is missing.
This can be a real time-saver if two people are after the same paper file. Instead of the second person wasting time looking for it, the log will tell them who currently has it.
Of course, all staff will need to be trained in the system you’re using to ensure everyone adheres to the procedures for managing paper records. It makes everyone’s lives easier.