Great record keeping is the best money saver. If you’ve ever had to backtrack through someone else’s paperwork, you’ll know it can take a long time to find what you’re looking for. You end up checking all online files and folders in the hope that it’s been misfiled electronically, so you don’t have to ask permission to comb through your team’s emails!
All paperwork is contractual paperwork
Paperwork is the confirmation of actions and inactions between companies. It might be a legally binding main contract, architects’ instructions, contract administrators’ instructions, handovers, a request for information, confirmation of verbal instructions, programme implication forms, drawing registers, the drawings themselves and all other types of correspondence. (Slight hint here: I have a background in construction).
This paperwork is considered the “paperwork trail” of how projects are progressing (or not progressing) in line with the main contract timeline.
Every piece of paperwork is relevant.
Paperwork is proof in black and white of what has and has not been done. Can’t find that email? Then whatever you sent over no longer exists. It wasn’t sent. It didn’t happen.
Why is this important? Without confirmation of instruction, work comes to a halt. This ends in delays. Delays cost money. This can mean missed deadlines. And no one wants missed deadlines.
If you are in conflict with another company, paperwork is your friend.
Firstly, you should always always back up your stance with the relevant paperwork. It’s easy to fall into the trap of tit for tat in emails due to ongoing frustrations. Stop. Replies should be factual and not include grievances. Back up your facts with paperwork. If you have several points, rather than just listing them, attach the relevant documentation. Although you might see this as helping the company you are conflicting with, what you are actually doing is helping yourself, as well as your team, further down the line.
The company says that they have sent you documentation that you cannot find? Ask them to forward you the original email. If all goes quiet, or you receive responses that have everything but what you have specifically asked for (the original email), it will be abundantly clear to everyone that no such email was sent. Give yourself a pat on the back.
How Outlook can help
I have found Edit Message in Outlook extremely helpful. After informing the sender of missing/incorrect documentation, you can write yourself a little note!
e.g. Wed 04/11/2015 12:23 emailed x about missing xxxxx from email.
(While viewing your message in full view, in the Move tab on your Outlook ribbon, select the Actions dropdown and choose Edit Message).
For clarity, change the font colour of your note (I used purple) so that 1) it’s easily viewable in your standard reading pane and 2) it’s clear that your note is not part of the original message.
This is extremely useful if someone else queries any delays regarding processing the paperwork.
If you have received documentation via a web link download, you can use Edit Message to attach the downloaded zip file.
Edited by the lovely Rachel Small http://rachelsmallediting.com/
(not all suggestions were accepted)