— August 26, 2017
One of the best ways to manage teams, especially remotely, is to use document sharing in your business. The right approach to document sharing can go a long way toward making sure your teams are on the same page, and that all of you have access to needed information.
Even though document sharing is essential for remote teams, it’s also useful in collaboration among team members that work in the same office.
Too often, though, business owners neglect to come up with a document sharing process that makes sense and is easy to navigate. I know when I first started using shared documents, I just gave them names and stored them on my drive.
If you want to stay on top of the situation as your business grows, it’s vital for you to take a project-based approach to document sharing in your business.
Start with Labels
First of all, you need the right labels for your document folders. Rather than having disparate documents, they should be gathered by the project name.
Create a project folder to encompass everything for the project. Once you do that, you can add sub-folders that make sense for the project. From Word files to presentations, keep items organized by project.
This is especially helpful if you have projects worked on across teams. Say your marketing team is collaborating on a project with your business development team. Storing project materials under a department doesn’t work as well. When you organize files under projects, members of other teams can find them quickly and easily.
As you set up document sharing in your business, make sure that everyone in your organization has access to the necessary permissions to access the documents.
Make Sure Documents are Searchable
Whatever system you use to manage your shared documents, it’s important to choose something that’s searchable. Your team members should be able to quickly search for the proper project folder.
This is another reason to use a project-based approach to document sharing in your business. Finding the project means that it’s easy enough to open subfolders and find documents and other materials. If a team member can’t remember the name of a document or is looking for new materials, searching by project makes the whole process easier.
Encourage Discussion and Edits Inside the Shared Documents
As you choose your document sharing platform, look for something that allows team members to make comments and edits. You want to be able to see user identities, as well as timestamps. Plus, it helps to have an organized workflow that can be followed.
Encourage discussions within the project folders and documents so that comments and edits can be tracked and easily referenced as the project progresses. Keeping track of where everything is is vital if you don’t want to end up with scattered comments everywhere.
As you create a process for document sharing in your business, your team members will find it easier to collaborate. Take the time now to figure out which platform offers the best option for your business, and organize by project from the beginning so that you are ready to scale as your business grows and adds team members.