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Making procedure manuals accessible

manaul stored as a folder

How many picture a 'manual'

Looking back at what I’ve written in previous June, I came across a post from 2011 about making manuals less intimidatingand therefore simpler to use.

A manual or instruction guide is just a collection of procedures. If each procedure is written well, they are useful documents to have in any business.

Once people are used to having good procedures to follow, it is a simple step to make manuals accessible rather than intimidating and officious.

Manuals can be presented in many ways

Even to me, the word manual conjures up images of big heavy folders, covered in dust, and difficult to use.

There is no need for all your procedures to be kept in a heavy (or light!) folder. Make it more accessible with any or all of the following ideas:

  1. put individual procedures where they are used. So the procedure for how to use a piece of equipment is stuck on the wall near that piece of equipment or inside it’s case if the equipment is portable
  2. make the procedures available in soft copy in a series of folders – looking in an electronic folder is something most people are now used to while hyperlinks and search functions make it even easier to find the right procedure
  3. for procedures you do need to print out, put only related procedures in each folder so they can be stored where needed and handled with ease
  4. think about other ways to have all procedures (and perhaps your policies as well) together. Maybe a tablet or e-reader would be more useful in your situation – there is a search function, version control is easy and the collection is light to carry around and use

What creative ways can you think of for presenting procedures in your business?

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