What’s the reason to create work instructions and other types of documents that regulate what people do at work? Are you sure that all the employees carefully read them? At least they are supposed to do that =) Let us see why these documents are so important and how we can make them more effective.
- First of all, work instructions help us make the routine processes and procedures standard. We are to find out the most efficient and time-saving way of getting things done to make the work of all the employees in the same position equally effective. That is a good chance for the employees to improve the quality of work and to reduce the task time.
- Work instructions make the workflow safe. It mainly refers to people involved in manufacturing and other spheres that presuppose the work with mechanisms or physical labor. But still, instructions reduce the level of injuries at work.
- Instructions reduce the percentage of mistakes and help us easily find the existing ones. No need to investigate what is wrong as it is clear.
So, how to write brilliant work instructions that are really helpful?
- Before starting to write get to know as much information as possible about the process you are going to describe. Consult those people who are in it every day. They surely know everything about it as they are real subject matter experts. It is all about credibility.
- Clarify the purpose of your instruction and why the employee should read it.
- The main idea of work instructions is to be compliant with the standards. But… Practice shows that the information required by the workers may be a bit different from the standards. A technical writer, in this case, should find out what is the information gap and how to reduce it.
- One of the best ways to learn something new is to perform tasks. Engagement gives good results. If you use these tactics, your instruction may really help workers acquire skills.
- Paper instructions are not always convenient. If instructions have an online version and you can read it via your smartphone, that means that they will always be at hand.
- Use visuals to explain things. Not only pictures and diagrams can be used. Today videos are very popular. Here you can find more information about how to use video in technical documentation.
- Make sure your instructions are accessible to all kinds of readers. ‘Importance of Accessibility in Technical Writing’ will give you more information about accessibility.
I hope you use these tips to write instructions of high quality. Before starting to write an instruction think of how many people may find it helpful. That should be the best incentive to do your best =)
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors