Smooth and effortless exchange of documents is at the center of solid teamwork. When a team can share ideas, build on each other’s thoughts and collaborate with ease, everyone can do their best work for your business.
Use the following file-sharing techniques and tools to help your team collaborate efficiently.
Business travel, time zones and remote work all necessitate easy access to documents from anywhere at any time. This is the most foundational habit of efficient file sharing. For maximum efficiency, all team members need document archives, current versions and other company work at their fingertips. This quick access removes the productivity sinks such as sharing the wrong version of a document through email, lack of access to background information needed to complete work and other snafus that interfere with efficient teamwork. The easiest solution for most businesses is to move to the cloud since storage in the cloud ensures access to documents as long as team members have an Internet connection.
Establish naming conventions
Set clear policies on how to name and organize files so no document goes missing or is difficult to locate quickly. Communicate simple naming and storage rules to your team and emphasize the importance of sticking to these rules until they become habit. For example, each file name could include the project name, a description, the file’s author and the date — in that order. Standardizing the order of the words in the names is important to assist in the ability to speedily find and compare versions. While this discipline may be taxing to institute and instill initially, it will pay off time and again in improved efficiency.
Establish a clear-cut process for identifying and organizing final versions of documents. These are the documents your team will most likely want to access in the future. Create a convention for naming and storing these documents and designate one team member to complete this task.
Even the best document-sharing habits will be aided by frequent real-time meetings. Use conference calls and video conferences to share information important to your entire team and gain consensus. These meetings will aid in smooth file sharing by ensuring that your team is working toward the same goals. Another important time to get on a call or video conference is when your team is disagreeing on something. Going back and forth in documents can be productive, but issues that are bouncing back and forth between team members without resolution typically benefit from some real-time conversation. Use these calls to remind people of naming conventions, where to find key files and other file-sharing habits that may be slipping.
Habitual maintenance of your document repository can help your team’s workflow. While saving numerous versions of a team’s work is important while the project is in play, consider cleaning up your files periodically. Some teams build this into the end of a project. This clean-up time is also a good opportunity to make modifications and corrections to misnamed or misfiled documents created in haste.
Also keep informed about collaboration tool improvements, such as security updates, added features or extras that you may be able to incorporate. Sign up for alerts and designate someone to evaluate whether the updates will help your workflow.
Sharing documents is central to daily work for most businesses. Look for ways to improve the way your business shares information and files and see how these workflow modifications pay off in increased efficiency and improved collaboration.
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