Post by Michael Caton, Collaboration Evangelist, WebExMost businesses have wrapped up setting 2008 business goals and the methods and plans necessary to achieve those goals. For those that will spend the last couple weeks of the year wrapping up expenses and planning purchases, this time of year can also provide an opportunity to think about new work habits that will help reach those goals. Last year Butler Group authored a study on worker time spent searching for information. Per this Network World article about the study, Butler Group found the cost of searching for information in lost productivity to be equivalent to 10% of a worker’s salary. So reflecting on the day-to-day reality of 2007 can help identify and put in perspective where workers burn more cycles than they need to, including time spent searching in email for files coworkers sent.Most people would find a good deal of that wasted time could be recovered if they had good tools at hand to help to stay on the same page. But even organizational tools that allow teams to share documents, such as WebOffice, aren’t enough. Workers need the will as well as the way, and that’s the second part of a resolution to be more organized in 2008. Managers and team members need to work together to stay organized. With one of the teams I contribute to, when any of the team members author content for a project, we store it on our WebOffice. When I report my weekly accomplishments to that team’s manager, I have to include links to the documents I’ve created. If I don’t include the link, I can’t claim credit. This requirement reinforces the habit of putting knowledge in a central, easily accessible place accompanied with a good description of the document. It doesn’t seem onerous knowing that coworkers can easily access the information and won’t spend time on fruitless searches or recreating the content. The team actually polices itself, when contributors send an email that includes content worth sharing, other team members ask the sender to post it online. The real value is in knowing that when everyone contributes in this effort, it ultimately saves you time. So the next time someone emails around a file for everyone to look at, have that person post it in a shared place and send the link instead. Then it is up to you to start thinking the first place to look is the shared resource, and not your inbox.