What Kinds of Information Should You Include in an Office Procedure Manual?

A standard office procedure manual includes procedures covering interaction with others in the workspace, details of basic office operations, safety procedures and how to perform specific tasks. The purpose of a manual is typically to set out in detail the operations that can be standardized in order to maximize efficiency.

Office procedure manuals often begin with a few pages that set out the organization's aims, values and vision.

Basic office operations that feature in a standard procedures manual tend to include office hours, regular meetings, dress code, contact phone numbers, holidays, parking and smoking.

Human resources information tends to include processes for allocation of paid time off, making and adjudicating complaints, sickness, payment procedures and time sheets. Breaks, expenses reimbursement, benefits enrollment and performance evaluation are also included, as are orientation for new employees and procedures for termination.

Safety procedures cover the receipt of mail and packages, dealing with visitors, signing in and out, fire safety procedures and safety drills.

Specific tasks that are often recorded include how to operate items such as computers, networks, office phone systems and postage systems.

Before the office procedures manual is distributed, in most cases its content should be reviewed by the organization's human resources department, legal counsel and all other relevant stakeholders in order to incorporate their feedback.

Although an office procedures manual may be complete, it is almost never a final document. Manuals should be seen as works in progress that evolve to meet the needs of the organization.