Documented Work Instructions Fuel Unfamiliar Task Success

We’ve written previously about Process, Procedure & Training Documentation, and how it leads to Improved Workflow Process. Notwithstanding the benefits to the overall business operations, this Blog will share our team’s everyday experiences and the benefits of task documentation.

Do any of the following statements sound familiar?

  • I can’t take a day (or more) off because there will be a mountain of tasks to catch up on that will not get done while I am gone.
  • I can’t take a sick day – no one else knows how to do my job.
  • I’m swamped but have to work overtime to get these tasks done because no one else knows how.
  • I’m moving to (or starting in) a new job role and am worried about learning its tasks.
  • I do the task only once in a blue moon and can never remember what is involved.

Oh, the anxiety before any time away from the job, during the time out, upon your return, when taking on a new role, or taking care of those infrequent tasks! When others need to fill in, they are often left scrambling to determine how to complete a task. When new to a job or handling an infrequent task, you worry about potential failure if no task documentation exists.

Task documentation serves as a lifeline in such situations. Thorough task documentation allows the easy handoff of work to others with minimal disruption. Knowing that tasks and operations continue to run smoothly relieves everyone’s stress. How can we be so sure? We’ve faced the same challenges and succeeded! Here are perspectives from each of our team members’ experiences:

  • As CEO, Theresa generally does not get into the “nitty gritty back office work”; however, she has jumped into task work from time to time and, more importantly, needs to understand the historical trail of events related to tasks or project history. Theresa has found that “especially with infrequent tasks, the documentation supports completing the task or provides sufficient information to find the answer needed. The historical ‘trail’ within the task or project documentation is often the game-changer. Maintaining the instructions (or project history) documentation in the same location as the resulting work is also beneficial.”
  • As Office Manager, Traci is relied upon for many tasks that, when not completed regularly, can back up rather quickly. When others need to step in for last-minute assistance or to handle tasks over a few days, they can quickly locate the task documentation that provides step-by-step guidance and easily complete them. Traci adds, “It is great coming back from time off and not having a bunch of stuff to catch up on! It takes a few hours to go through emails and handle the non-urgent tasks, and I don’t feel stressed at all. The important or urgent tasks are already taken care of; I can quickly bring myself back ‘up to speed’ and then focus on the items that need attention.”
  • As Project Manager, Mary‘s tasks are less routine or time-sensitive; however, she often will be the one to assist others with their tasks. Mary adds, “I am grateful we have taken the time to document various job tasks thoroughly – they make it much easier to help out. The team’s decision to put the instructional documents in the most logical place makes finding them a breeze.”
  • Becky and Michelle have more recently stepped into specific roles, and the ability to onboard them into their roles has been most effective through documented work instructions. Becky states, “You were the first company I’d worked with that had documented task instructions. Coming in as a newbie, they gave me a helpful resource to make sure I was doing tasks as expected.” Michelle states, “Several of my projects with Success Trek are completed sporadically, on an as-needed basis or annually. Having Documented Task Instructions to refer to helps me step through these projects without asking for additional support from a team member. The instructions are an asset, and I’m grateful to have them at my fingertips whenever I need them.”

Task documentation is a powerful tool. It fosters a culture of trust, transparency, and empowerment within teams while significantly reducing the anxiety associated with taking sick days, vacations, shifting job roles, etc. As organizations embrace the practice of thorough task documentation, they create an environment where individuals can confidently step away from work, knowing that their contributions are secure and that the team will continue to thrive in their absence. Individual team members feel the benefits of task documentation, which resonates throughout the organization and increases productivity, collaboration, and overall employee satisfaction.

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