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The Importance of File Management --
Barbara Hemphill - Productivity Consultant, Work Life Balance Barbara Hemphill - Productivity Consultant, Work Life Balance
Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, March 4, 2020


The Importance of File Management


Research shows that the average worker spends 150 hours/year looking for information. At an average rate of $25/hour, including benefits, that equates to nearly $4,000/year/employee. Multiple $4,000 times the number of employees in a company and the cost is staggering. 


Most companies never implemented paper filing systems that could be effectively shared by employees, but as we moved toward digital filing, it seemed not to matter. Here's the problem: Clutter is postponed decisions. Whether the document is paper or digital, decisions are required. 


Here are six questions you can use to create an effective file management system:  

1) What information do we need to file?

The answer to this question requires the collaboration of management and employees. Management needs to identify the philosophy of information management. One executive might say, "If it won't make us money and we're not required to keep it legally, we don't need it," while another might say, "We anticipate writing the 50-year history of this company. It's important to keep historical records and memorabilia." 

2) In what form?  

The first decision is whether to store in paper or digital, or both? If it's digital, the next question is, "Which platform?" 

3) For how long?

Does your company have a user-friendly records retention program that you regularly implement and update?

4) Who is responsible for filing it?

To eliminate unnecessary file duplication, identify one person to be the official "record keeper" for each project. 

5) Who needs access to it? 

Whoever creates the document decides who needs access to it, and files accordingly. 

6) How can we find it?

Naming conventions and version control are essential for the long-term success of any file management system.  


The ability of an employee to accomplish any task or goal is directly related to their ability to find the information they need when they need it. 

Research proves that 80% of what we keep we never use, and the more we keep, the less we use -- either because we can't find it or we don't know we have it. Creating and maintaining an effective filing system will increase profit, productivity, and peace of mind. 


Barbara Hemphill

Founder, Productive Environment Institute



About Barbara Hemphill
Frequently referred to as “The Paper Tiger Lady,” Barbara Hemphill started her company in 1978 with a $7 ad in a New York City newspaper. She now offers other women the same opportunity that she had: a business of their own with lucrative income and flexible hours doing something they love as a Certified Productive Environment Specialist.

Barbara’s passion is helping people eliminate physical, digital, emotional and spiritual clutter so everyone can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. Her books include Taming the Paper Tiger, Simplify Your Workday, Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever, and Organizing Paper @Home: What to Toss and How to Find the Rest, and Less Clutter More Life.

Spanning a 35-year career on the cutting edge of what USA Today called a billion dollar industry, Barbara has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America, in Reader's Digest, USA Today, The New York Times, Real Simple, and Guideposts magazine. Learn more at barbarahemphill.com.

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