It’s a problem facing records managers in every office. How do you manage the ever-increasing volume of both paper and digital records with the same budget? It’s almost become an urban office myth that as the use of digital record keeping and technology has increased, the number of paper documents would decrease.
That hasn’t happened. Instead, offices have seen both forms of records increase, causing some headaches for employees tasked with figuring out how best to manage the workload. Given that records are still being created in both formats, records managers need to consider that every document has to be handled in the same way, regardless if it’s paper or electronic. Adopting a consistent and uniform records management policy ensures that your business is seamlessly managing the flow of documents throughout their life cycle.
Here are a few things to consider in the world of hybrid records management:
- Equal under the law – Despite the rise of technology, records can be official in any format. Hybrid records management systems must set specific protocols for determining the official document of record for a business, and in which format. Government regulation also sets standards for retention, and these must also be a part of the plan, including determining when original paper documents must be maintained, and for how long.
- When to destroy a record – Despite the mix of records formats, implementing a document destruction plan ensures that out-of-date or non-essential records are destroyed on a schedule, and that they are securely handled, reducing the opportunity for data theft or legal hassles.
- Simplify to improve efficiency – Instituting a records management system that treats every format of record the same way, with the same guidelines and standards for each, improves the efficiency and performance of your employees. Consistency can be a driver of office efficiency.
Implementing best records management practices throughout your business can make the difference between struggling to manage both paper and electronic records, or winning the battle of hybrid records management. Consult a records management professional to see how you can get ahead of the curve.