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Documentation and Work Instructions

Developing effective work instructions
ISO 9000
Instructions that work
Organizing documents

Sample tax form
Form for tracking payroll
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ISO 9000 Work Instructions

Work instructions are a type of a document that will help you organize a single task usually performed by one individual. Creating work instructions is necessary when the process is quite involved and involves many tasks. If the process involves few tasks the "work instruction" can be included within procedure without distracting from the individuals understanding of the overall process. The document you are creating has a purpose of explaining the process to the reader. The content will depend on the skill level of the reader. Below is a simple formula that will help you determine the content of work instructions.

Employee Readiness = Automation + Education + Skill Level + Training +Procedure & Work Instruction Content + Frequency Task is Performed + Adequate Resources

If your employees are highly educated or skilled they may need very little time to acquire the knowledge to perform tasks or process. On the other hand if your employees do not speak the language and multilingual instructions are out of the question your work instructions may be made up of pictures.

Every individual on daily basis is faced with some type of work instruction. It could be an instruction from the equipment manual, how to operate a mower, car gadgets. Some work instructions may be in the format of a form like a bank withdrawal or tax form. Some work instructions may be a flow chart which you follow arrows to the following task. More and more the instructions are created on the computer database style.

There is no perfect format for all organizations. The types that will work best will be developed over time through trial and error. When first deciding on how to construct the system evaluate what format the instructions are currently taking place. Look for hand written instructions, instructions taped to the wall or to the bulletin board, written in the manual or catalog.

Individuals process information differently. Some are visual and process pictures faster. Other employees may process written text better. If you are writing procedures for engineers a flow chart will save you a lot of time, others may be totally lost trying to process a flow chart. A system needs to accommodate all types of learners.

Danuta Highet

Foqus, Inc. January 2004

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