Writing a memo to co-workers and employees takes finesse. Especially when conveying requests or bad news, establishing goodwill and workplace morale is essential. For this reason, you should take certain steps and precautions when preparing a workplace memo to ensure that your message enhances the environment, rather than inflaming workers.
Write with Goodwill
Fill in the appropriate data fields. The "To:" field should contain the audience of the memo, such as "All employees" or "Company XYZ." Including a clear "To" field will help employees understand that this memo went out to everyone, not just selected employees. Next, write a "From:" field which contains your name or your appropriate title, such as "Management" or "HR Manager." Write a "Date:" field that gives the date of delivery for the memo, and follow with a "Subject:" field that contains a specific subject for the memo. For this occasion, the subject might read, "Policy on Smoking in the Workplace."
Begin your message with a buffer, such as a piece of information or a simple thank you. Since your goal is to write a memo that discourages smoking in the workplace, begin by thanking employees for their ongoing dedication to a healthy workplace. This thank you is called a buffer, and it helps to cushion the news or information you need to deliver in the message.
Phrase the request in neutral language that is direct, yet avoids passing blame. For example, after your buffer, you might write, "It has come to our attention that smoking outside the building has effected the air quality for those entering and exiting during work hours. Please be mindful of co-workers by not smoking outside the building." This approach cushions the policy or rule being implemented by explaining it first.
Follow with benefits directed toward employees. Your memo is designed to target smokers in the workplace, so their needs and desires should be at the forefront of the message. A simple statement like, "Please use the patio the company has designated for smokers' use." This shows that you are mindful of smokers' rights and that they do have an option to smoke where they won't disturb non-smokers.
Close the message with a goodwill ending that establishes a friendly tone between you and the reader. An example might be, "Thank you for abiding by this company policy and ensuring a healthy environment for your colleagues." Ending the memo with a thank you or a positive statement helps, again, to cushion the message and leave readers feeling more positive about the changes or policies in the workplace.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.