How to Organize Office Procedures

Your employees may know more about some procedures than you, so use their expertise.

Your employees may know more about some procedures than you, so use their expertise.

When your office is tidy and well-organized, you'll work better and likely get more done. Knowing who does what and where to find the things you need makes for a more productive office, free of the annoyance of searching for the right person to do a job, or the hassle of shuffling through files to find the document you need. If your office needs some help organizing its procedures, make it a group effort – after all, everyone is going to benefit from the results.

Make a list of the daily tasks that need to be clarified and included in the procedure manual you are going to create for the office. Office tasks may include answering phones, filing paperwork, organizing receipts, paying vendors, or a myriad of other tasks. Have a group meeting and brainstorm all of the activities that happen in the office, and then write down the name of the person responsible next to each task.

Ask the person responsible for a specific task to write out a procedure for that task. Develop a format for each person to follow when writing out the procedure; this could include a "materials needed" list at the top of the procedure sheet, as well as an outline or bullet-list format that is the same for every procedure. Give everyone a deadline to hand in their procedures.

Conduct another group meeting or share people's procedures in an email or shared document, to give other people a chance to provide feedback about the procedures. Ask each person to review one or two of the procedures that another person wrote, and have the reviewer try to follow the procedures as outlined. This can help determine whether the procedure directions are clear or whether they need to be edited for clarity. If they need work, edit them until they're clear and easy to follow.

Compile all procedures in a procedure manual. Create a table of contents for the procedure manual so that it is easy for employees to find and read specific procedures that relate to their jobs. On each procedure sheet, write the date it was created in the corner, so that you'll know when they were written, and when they need to be updated. Make the procedure manual easy to access; put a copy in the break room or create an online document that employees can access from their desks.

Create posters for common procedures that everyone must follow around the office, such as using the copier or the proper way to greet customers. Put the posters up in conspicuous locations.

Tip

  • Keep your procedure manual up-to-date by reviewing it every few months and making changes as needed. When a new employee starts work, be sure they review the procedure manual. Also have current employees review the procedure manual at least once a year so that all processes are fresh in their minds.
 

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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