Developing office procedures benefits your office or business by helping you and your management team to standardise specific operations. Office procedures help in maintaining service excellence and serve as a guide that provides necessary information to ensure service quality. Creating clear and accurate procedures is achievable by following the straightforward sequence of planning the content, writing the procedures, producing a manual or guide and tracking all revisions made to the procedures. Office procedures can be written for a specific office function or for management of the entire office.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Tape recorder (optional)
- Notebook and word processor
- Calendar or scheduler
Write down why you are writing the procedures and who will use the procedures. Identify how frequently the procedures, or sections of the procedures, will be used. Being specific helps you to focus and structure the documentation effort.
Create a schedule for gathering information on what tasks are performed and how frequently the tasks are completed. Interview task-performing experts and record the steps performed to complete each activity within a task. If creating the steps from scratch, draw a simple flowchart of the steps personnel follow from beginning to end to complete the task.
Determine when the document will be delivered and whether it will be in a paper or online format. For practical purposes, procedures on paper are ideal because they serve as an easy reference guide and are useful during procedure training. Having a file structure and simple file-naming convention is handy when creating procedures.
Divide the procedures into sections according to function. Creating function-specific tasks assigns a role and responsibility to a person, or department, who must complete the task.
Write the procedural steps required to complete each task. Using the interview notes written or recorded in Step 2, write the activity in sequence so that anyone would be able to complete the activity and task successfully. After completely documenting the tasks, perform a spellcheck and review the complete content. It is ideal to have one or two experts check the document draft for accuracy.
Make any necessary corrections and produce a second, or final, draft. Keeping in mind your document delivery date, perform a final check of the document and then produce the final document for print or online reference. Have the copy placed in a three-ring binder for easy page replacement when updates are made.
Tips and warnings
- Using any existing information or task flowcharts will reduce the time required to complete procedures development and help ensure that operational errors are minimised.
- On average, it takes about six weeks to complete the documentation and review process.
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