Crucial steps in writing work instructions.

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Is it hard to write a work instruction? You could answer yes or no. For some people, it can be very hard to write simple instructions. But most of the time this has something to do with time problems than problems with understanding. Because, in itself, writing a work instruction is an easy thing to do. However, there are some points to pay attention to. In this article, we discuss how to write a work instruction.

What is a work instruction?

How can you define a work instruction? A work instruction can be defined as an instructive text which tells the reader how to do something. What are the steps you need to take in the process to get to a certain outcome?

So, the work instruction tells you what to do, which actions to get to the wanted outcome. It is smart to use certain examples to get clear to the reader what needs to be done.

What defines a ‘good’ work instruction?

At its core, a good instructional text has several features. One is: write in the imperative. For example, when writing the first steps of fixing a bicycle tire. Then write:

  1. Check the valve, maybe the tire is not slack but the valve is loose.
  2. Carefully turn your bicycle upside down.
  3. Control the outside of your tire for sharp objects.
  4. Pop the outer tire off the rim.

So don’t write: “To check the valve, first turn your bike upside down carefully. Then please check the tire for sharp objects. Then you can pop the outer tire off the rim.”

For the second feature, it is also smart to divide an instruction manual into several pieces. Suppose a task, such as fixing a tire, has more than 7 instructions, then it is wise to divide the task ‘Prepare work’ consisting of 3 instructions and the task ‘Fix tire’ consisting of 4 instructions. This way you create a good overview.

Take your target group into consideration.

When writing the work instruction, take your target group into consideration. means: think about the level of detail for your manual. As an example. A bicycle mechanic knows exactly what to do when it says, “patch the tire.” Someone who does not fix tires every day needs a more detailed description.

  1. Find the leak in your inner tube. To do this, first, pump up the inner tube. Hold your face close to the tire so you can feel the air escape against your skin.
  2. If there is a crack in the inner tube, the entire tire must be changed. This is a job better left to the bicycle mechanic. Is there a small puncture in your tire? Then you can do the patching yourself.
  3. Take the tire out of the water and mark the spot where the leak is.
  4. Then you can apply the self-adhesive sticker directly.

So where a bicycle mechanic has enough with a single instruction, an inexperienced person may need several instructions. So keep the level of detail in mind.

There is much more to learn about writing instructions manuals. SwipeGguide has a comprehensive page on exactly how to do this.

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