Document Retention Tips for Administrative Professionals

Administrative Assistant Resource
July 20, 2012 — 2,491 views  
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Administrative professionals have many more responsibilities today than in the past, and the bulk of these new tasks revolve around the protection and management of documents. As a result, administrative professionals need to fine-tune their time management skills and understand basic document retention practices to increase workplace productivity and efficiency.

Here are five tips to improve document retention and management.

1.) Set up file system - Even in today's digital age, it can be beneficial to have hard copy versions of timely documents. Certain organizational tools like tickler files can help avoid issues where documents fall through the cracks due to disorganization. This way, if a certain document has to be distributed on a certain day, the admin can file it away in the tickler and he or she will be reminded of the task when the date arrives. This type of organizational method also accounts for absenteeism, so if the full-time admin is out sick on a certain day, assignments are already filed away for the professional filling in for that day.

2.) Don't always use email - An admin may be responsible for acquiring certain documents from higher level professionals in the workplace, but those people aren't always easy to track down. Instead of sending emails that can easily be filtered into folders or ignored, an organized admin creates a unique system that conveys timeliness to the professional. For example, place all essential documents in a certain color folder to communicate priority level.

3.) Document retention schedule - It can be difficult to determine the appropriate length of retention for workplace documents. There is not always enough room in an office to collect and keep an extensive library of documents for the long-term. Admins need to consult with management teams and legal departments to identify a schedule that governs how long certain documents should be kept, and then have an action plan on how to dispose of private files.

4.) Train employees - As an admin, it can be hard to manage the actions of other people. However, document retention is a sensitive responsibility, so it's essential for every staff member to be aware of the document management policies established within the office. Therefore, if updates or changes are made to retention protocol, the admin can quickly update fellow employees to prevent unfavorable practices from continuing.

5.) Password protect files - Finally, if documents are being sent from one user to another, it's important to use password protected files. This can prevent data and secure information that pertains to accounts, individuals or high-priority projects from ending up in the hands of others.

Administrative Assistant Resource