With more and more Americans doing work from their home office, organization and filing of documents can be a real challenge. And while you may know you need some sort of filing system to tame the paperwork, what should you look for? Here are three key features of a home office filing system to seek.
1. Convenient Access
The more convenient you find it to use your filing system, the more you'll use it. In a home office, this usually means something you can access from your main desk seating area. If you have a lot of files, you might consider separating them into the most recent or most used files to keep handy from your desk and lesser-accessed files to keep in a separate storage area.
Whatever method you use, it should be easy to get into, easy to work in, and at a comfortable height specifically for you.
2. Work Space
Believe it or not, but one thing that your filing system should have is an uninterrupted flat space without files. This is because filing tends to sit for a period before being put away, and you may need to work in or write on the files rather than simply removing and replacing them.
Many filing systems leave a clear work space on top of the cabinet, but this may not be convenient for you. A better solution may be a work surface that can be added or removed and is at a comfortable height to write or read while standing or sitting (depending on how you like to work).
3. Room to Grow
Paperwork tends to grow, so how much space does your intended system allow for future expansion? The amount of space and methods for expansion vary depending on your particular filing style, so consider how your needs are likely to change over time.
If new files are constantly being added but you have a long retention schedule, you may need a lot extra room in a short time. This calls for something that easily expands and looks good doing so. However, if the filing tends to be cyclical — expanding and contracting — you may want a system that's more flexible. And a home office may have a natural limitation on space you need to abide by.
Where to Start
Using these three criteria, start by seeing and using some office filing systems available to you at office furniture suppliers in your area. While finding the right organization tools for your home office takes some time, it will pay off when you have a system that keeps your work humming and your home office clean.