Developing Responsibility to Maintain Organization on the Shared Drive

Responsibility Road SignOnce you get the shared drive reorganized it is important to establish accountability and responsibility to help maintain file structure and organization. As organizations evolve and change, so do file structures and record guidelines. It is essential for a person or department be accountable for the documents, records, and knowledge of the organization to maintain good record keeping. This can be the IT department or a person can be identified in each department or area of the company or organization. This person could have a title called ‘Organization Record Manager’, ‘Department Shared Drive Manager’ or ‘Electronic Record Coordinator’.

The following is a list of possible duties that this person would be responsible for as it relates to documents and records on the Shared Drive network:

  • Planning and coordinating annual review and purge of the shared drive with their respective department or area
  • Updating the shared drive guidelines and/or policy
  • Periodic check and review of the file structure on the shared drive to ensure it is in accordance with the guidelines
  • If unknown or unauthorized files are found, investigate ownership and accountability
  • Providing training for new hires, including contractors or employees, on the shared drive structure and guidelines
  • Authorize user permissions for restricted files within the respective department or area

It is also important to establish end-user and staff accountability. The responsibility for managing individual files or documents should reside with the author, team, or department who created the original file. The document originator or end-user should be responsible for:

  • Managing owner or authored files and documents on the shared drive
  • Ensure the file and its contents are in accordance with the file structure and document naming conventions
  • Removing the file and/or document contents, per the retention guidelines

Establishing this accountability will help an organization to maintain good structure and organization on the shared drive as well as create accountability for all staff to be responsible for good record and file keeping for the organization.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

The Benefits of Document Management Systems

Document or content management systems (DMS) are separate cloud-based systems that specifically manage electronic data and records. DMS systems are not only for large companies. Even in smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help organizations file, store, search and collaborate on documents that need modification and/ or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing clear guidelines is valuable, it does require more work to manage and maintain versus having data stored in a document/ content management system.

DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search, and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing, all of which make searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant numbers of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have auto-archive and auto-delete functions that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.

A common file repository in a document/content management system is an opportunity to create a consistent records management system that will provide the following benefits;

  • Create ease and simplicity for users to have one centralized system to manage official records and documents.
  • Improve accessibility permissions and ease of filing electronic documents and records through one centralized system that is cloud-based and accessible via mobile devices.
  • Documents and records are automatically indexed and increased searching functionality will be available.
  • Easier access to shared information and documents within the entire organization.
  • Easier management of records retention through increased system functionality and centralized data location to manage data.
  • Easier access to collaborate on documents, manage version control and access important information quickly through one centralized access point.
  • Lays the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance and trust on one centralized electronic system.

It is important to organize documents on the Shared Drive before being uploaded to a document management system. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Mobile Work Environments: Creating Responsiveness and Communication Plan

Along with benefits of improved productivity and reduced commute time, there are challenges in remote, mobile and telework environments. Consistent and reliable communications is cited as a common challenge among remote workers and their colleagues.

Meetings and face-to-face interaction are necessary in any business. In a remote work environments, it is still important to maintain strong communications to have effective team communication and collaboration. Although there are many types of non face-to-face communication methods, most offices use the primary three; phone, email and instant messaging.

With these communication tools it is important to establish clear guidelines of use and expectations. A lack of responsiveness reinforces the belief that remote workers are neither working nor producing results. For instance if there was a in the office daily check-in established either one-on-one or in a group, determine how to do that check-in via other communication options.

When a manager or staff person needs to get a hold of an employee immediately, determine which communication tool is most appropriate for the team. Be clear on expectations of responsiveness with each communication method. For example, a guideline might be with e-mail a 24-hour response is expected whereas with phone communications within one to two hours.

Teleworking and Remote Work: Establishing Clear Guidelines

Along with benefits of improved productivity and reduced commute time, there are challenges too. Telework tends to amplify pre-existing worker challenges. Managers need to trust their employees are achieving the same performance results while working from home. Consistent and reliable communications is also a common challenge cited among teleworkers and their colleagues.

All employees should have clear guidelines and expectations when working from home. Ideally, there should be a company policy on telework along with a contract agreement between managers and employees on communication expectations and performance results. This policy should cover core work hours, communication expectations, IT equipment supplied, performance expectations and mandatory training.

Here are a few resources to learn more about teleworking and remote worker guidelines;

Delegating Effectively

Most workers need to communicate, track and manage delegated task items. It is particularly important for project managers as well as supervisors who not only have to manage their own tasks but also need to make sure their direct reports get things done, too.

Whoever is responsible and accountable for an action item or project should delegate clear guidelines on completing a task as well as follow-through with others to ensure success of an action or project.

The following are key points to remember for effective delegation that can be used with both small tasks and large projects:

Communicate desired results. Make sure to provide the overall goal and purpose of the task or project along with the intended benefits and consequences if the action is not performed correctly. Providing this information supports decision-making for the delegatee during the course of a task or project.

Provide clear guidelines. Provide clear and concise instructions either verbally or via e-mail. Be clear on timeframes, budget, resource allocation and expectations in completing the task or project. Although some workers feel providing clear guidelines can be perceived as micro-managing, it is important to define the boundaries and be clear on assignment details.

Determine communication plan. Identify others or resources to contact in case there are questions or issues that arise during the task. This saves others time when they get stuck to know exactly who to reach out to for assistance. Also, determine the method and frequency in which follow-up will occur. This will eliminate confusion as to who contacts whom when a task is completed.