6 Ways to Digitally Declutter Your Business
The start of a new year always brings with it the impulse to make sweeping changes around us. This often involves getting rid of things we would now classify as unusable and other stuff that have simply lost their appeal—an activity commonly referred to as decluttering.
Businesses in particular, would significantly benefit from this as it could potentially free up some office workspace and eliminate unnecessary tasks. And now that many of business activities and employees’ functions revolve around the use of technology, a digital decluttering has become as important as a physical one.
Performing a digital declutter within the organisation may simply require a few straightforward processes to be initiated by the users themselves, or may necessitate the intervention of the inhouse IT team or professional IT services. That said, here are six surefire ways to digitally declutter your company:
Do an audit of your folders and files.
If you haven’t been decluttering regularly or at least once a year, chances are, your files and folders are strewn across different desktops and devices with no proper organisation. Worse, many of those files could have outlived their usefulness by this time and are just taking up precious storage space.
Have each employee do a quick sweep of the files and folders stored in their PCs and/or laptops, and let them classify each of these as to age, type (e.g. document, spreadsheet, presentation), and relevance. Be cautious about deleting seemingly useless files because you may never know when these may be needed for reference. Instead, have these filed away in a separate folder as you proceed to the next step.
Backup your computers and archive old files.
As soon as files have been reviewed and organised, it’s time to put them in more appropriate storage spaces. However, do so only after you’ve properly backed up your computers. Many companies already have a backup system in place that allows them to backup data regularly to an external hard drive or a cloud storage. If you’re doing this, then that’s one less thing to worry about.
Now depending on the organisation’s document retention policies, simply getting rid of old files isn’t always an option. For instance, finance, tax, and legal documents are advisable to be kept forever. But there is a way to better store old files without having them occupy a lot of space in your workstation or cluttering your current folders. You can compress folders with old files before archiving them so that they take up significantly less space. Alternately, you may also store these in an external drive or upload them to an online storage.
Organise a folder system and practice consistency in your file naming convention.
At this point, employees should have already identified files thay they would want in active storage, i.e. files, records, documents that they would want to access easily and within a day’s notice. But simply keeping them on hand may not be enough. Take it a step further by organising folder and files so they are found even more quickly.
Create main folders that would best work for your particular tasks—e.g. by month or by category (e.g. payroll, employee records, etc.), and then nest subfolders under these by date or by file type. You can make things even easier by using a standard in file naming. Being as consistent and descriptive as possible will impact your ability to find those files later on.
Use available tools to clear out bloat.
Employees don’t have to spend so much time and effort in decluttering their online workspace if they are smart about it. For instance, there are solutions that you can run that identify any apps that load during your boot time. Once identified, you can then choose to delay these after startup is done or completely remove them from boot up.
Some tools are pre-installed in the operating systems. Windows’ built-in Disk Cleanup tool can efficiently search, analyse, and erase any files in the hard drive that are useless. Mac OS has a similar tool as well that you can find under System Information>Storage Management.
Ensure that your browser and apps are up-to-date.
A digital decluttering activity is also a good time to ensure that you’re using the latest versions of your business software, office apps, browser extensions, and so on. This guarantees that you have the latest functionality and security features of your programs. As most companies are deploying the same applications for all their desktops and devices, an organisation-wide updating is ideally initiated by the IT department or by outside IT services.
Perform a website audit.
The company’s website is one of the most visible and valuable brand assets that a business holds. But what if the information it offers is outdated, links don’t work, and the back-end of the site is filled with abandoned or incomplete pages? Yes, these happen if no one is keeping a close eye on it.
When doing a digital declutter, include a thorough review of the website, making sure that information and pricing are updated with links redirecting to where they should. Keeping your site current and relevant will surely go a long way towards improving your online visibility.
With these digital decluttering best practices, coupled with professional IT services, your company and its employees are now well-equipped to meet business workloads with less, distractions, more focus, and better productivity.