What’s the problem with old files and content?
June 4, 2021

Temporary content
V.S.
Evergreen content

THE PROBLEM

Temporary content is clogging things up! We define watercooler content as temporary, impromptu, rapidly-changing. Things like meeting notes, chat logs, messages/emails –the type of content that has now replaced the typical “watercooler” conversation. It sometimes has long-term relevance and sometimes it doesn’t. So how do you decide what to keep? It turns out that very few organizations know. The watercooler content which will turn into evergreen (long-term) content will need to move to a new location in your storage system. Let’s look at an example: Imagine that you are a department head discussing a Jr. member of your team with another manager. Your co-worker chats you a couple images of the Jr Team member’s work. In the short-term, those images live in that chat session, but eventually they need to become evergreen content that can be saved with the employee’s job review, printed-out, etc. This is the challenge of moving watercooler content into an evergreen format.

Challenge #1: Helping your team members know when to make the switch from watercooler content to evergreen content.

Challenge #2: Determining where the evergreen content will live and how to transfer it.

THE SOLUTION


Create a culture where watercooler content is viewed as temporary. Have a plan for turning watercooler content into evergreen when applicable. Evergreen content is always managed by an accountable individual. For example, after a chat session about HR policy, your team has several possible draft docs floating around and a series of comments in a chat session. There is one person who is accountable for turning those notes and chats into evergreen content –usually a final policy document for adoption. Once this is done, stop the water- cooler content surrounding this topic. Believe it or not, most organizations don’t have a clear role for this.

Don’t be too hasty to create evergreen documents. Let the watercooler content –the drafts, comments and chats float around until the accountable individual is positive and ready to draft a final doc. When we see twenty-seven versions of one file on your network, we know someone jumped into creating evergreen content too quickly!
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