Although it may seem difficult, writing a work report can be much easier than you think. Professional reports are often used to explain the progress of a project or to formulate conclusions and recommendations about a problem at work. In order to write an effective document, you must first consider the objective, the target audience, the research and the message to be conveyed. Then write it in a typical management report format. Finally, the report must be revised to make it effective.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare to write your report
Step 1. Determine the purpose and subject of the report
In many cases, you will be asked to write a report. The objective or topic will likely be in the request. Imagine what message you want to get across if you are unsure of a specific topic or goal. Another option is to seek clarification from your supervisor or supervisor.
For example, your goal may be to analyze a problem within the company, to explain the results of a project in which you were involved, or to give your supervisor an overview of the progress of your work
Step 2. Choose a tone and language suitable for the audience
Think about what your audience already knows, as well as what language would be most appropriate. When writing a work report, the terms used are generally more technical than when addressing the general public.
- Who will read the report? Please mention anyone who may use your document.
- Include all the necessary information so that even the less informed reader can understand whether the document is intended for different types of readers. However, headings should be used for each section so that more sophisticated readers can skip information that they find redundant. It is also possible to include sections for each target group in order to address their specific concerns.
Step 3. Add research and support material if possible
Please attach to your report the documents used to reach conclusions or develop recommendations. Not only can you consult these documents during the preparation phase, but you may need to attach them to the appendices of the report. Here are some types of documents you can consider during the preparation phase:
- financial information;
- interviews with colleagues, experts, clients, etc.
Step 4. Review your progress for a progress report
When this type of document is well written, it gives an overview of the work you have done, what you will be doing next, and the progress of the project. Think of it as an answer to questions people may have about your project. Here are some points to include in the report.
- Has the scope of the project changed?
- What tasks have been completed since the last progress report?
- What are the next tasks to be accomplished?
- Are you able to complete the project on schedule? If not, why?
- What are the obstacles encountered and what do you plan to do to overcome them?
- What did you learn that was new this month?
Step 5. Outline the content of the report
Write down your ideas in the form of an outline to help structure your document. When outlining, create headings to help organize your ideas. The plan does not have to be overly organized or well developed, as it is for your personal use only.
- In the majority of cases, it is first necessary to set out the results and the conclusions or recommendations. Then explain how you got there, and the reasoning used, if any.
- Explain the process and your reasoning well in advance of arriving at a controversial conclusion or recommendation, so the audience can understand why you came to the idea.
Part 2 of 3: Write a work report
Step 1. Use a cover or flyleaf
The cover page must indicate on a separate line the name of the report followed by the date of submission. On another line, indicate the names of all the authors. Then enter the name of the company on an additional line.
- In some cases, it is possible to attach a cover letter to the document explaining why you wrote it, its content and what you think should be done. This approach is most common for reports that have taken too long to prepare or require additional explanation before the reader even glances at them.
- If you are writing a progress report, include your name, the name of the document, and the date and period of the report on a cover page. Each item must appear on a separate line. For each line you can write "name", "project name", "date" and "report period" or just list the information.
- Ask your manager if there are specific recommendations for formatting the document. He (she) is your best source for preparing the report properly.
Step 2. Write a summary detailing the key information
List your rationale, conclusions and recommendations. This allows the reader to understand the key points of the report without having to read the entire content. It is not necessary to provide a detailed explanation, but the reader should understand the contents of the report. It should be between half a page and one page long.
- It is not necessary to summarize the whole document. Just focus on the most important ideas, such as your main recommendations or conclusions.
- Leave this section if you are writing a progress report.
Step 3. Create the table of contents listing the contents of the report
Indicate the section titles in the table of contents, as well as the page numbers where the sections begin. This makes it easy for the reader to browse the content and find the information they need.
- Use headings and titles for each section to make the report easy to read.
- It is usually not necessary to include a table of contents in a progress report, unless your manager prefers you to do so. However, you should include titles and headings for each section to make it easier for the reader to navigate your report.
Step 4. Write an introduction to outline the document
Let the reader know what motivated you to write this report. Summarize the context and explain your objective. Anticipate the questions you will answer or the problem you will address. Specify the scope and develop a content plan.
- The introduction doesn't have to be long. Be direct and to the point so that the reader understands the context and the purpose without lengthy explanations.
- Write an introduction of two to four paragraphs.
- If this is a progress report, the introduction should only be one or two paragraphs long. It should summarize the project and the results you hope to achieve. You can also give an overview of the work you have done and what you plan to do next.
Step 5. Explain your conclusions or results
Provide an overview of any research or evaluations you have carried out in relation to the project. Then discuss and interpret your findings and how they relate to the subject of the report.
- In most cases, this section includes an introductory paragraph and a list of conclusions drawn.
- Here is an example of a conclusion: “1. Our population is aging, which poses more risks to the health of our clients. "
- In a progress report, there will be no results or conclusions to present. Instead, list accomplishments or tasks accomplished in the section following the introduction. Another approach is to write a short paragraph of two to four sentences in this topic. However, a list is often sufficient. Write something like this: "an amount of € 200 was collected to pay for the festival tent", "Company X was contracted to manage the planning of the festival" and "surveys were carried out among 1,500 residents for collect information from the public”.
Step 6. Make recommendations for what to do next
The recommendations should explain what will happen in the future. State in a few sentences the problems that the solutions will solve and how they relate to the conclusions. After writing this paragraph, present the recommendations as a numbered list, each starting with a verb. Rank the recommendations in order of importance.
- Write something like: “1. Train all employees in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. "
- When writing a progress report, list the following tasks or goals that you plan to accomplish in the next period. Here are some examples: “choosing suppliers for the festival”, “approving design work” and “ordering promotional posters”.
Step 7. Discuss the process and reasoning used
Explain how you approached the problem, question or issue. Review the findings and then explain how they lead to the recommendations made. Organize the discussion into different headings with titles clearly indicating the content of each section to the reader.
- This step may include a more in-depth discussion of the research and evaluations performed.
- This section should be the longest in the report.
- Please omit this section if you are writing a progress report. Instead, mention the obstacles you encountered during the project and how you overcame them. Here's what it might look like: “Many interviewees did not return the survey because it was not pre-franked. We will later include shipping costs in our surveys or give respondents the option to conduct the survey digitally. "
Step 8. List all references used for the report
These may include newspaper articles, interviews, surveys, press articles, statistical results, questionnaires and other related information. Cite these references at the end of the report, naming the page "References".
- Unless otherwise specified, use APA style for professional reports.
- You can skip this section if you are writing a progress report.
Step 9. Provide attachments for some documents
These include surveys, questionnaires or e-mails. Not all business reports need appendices. However, you can include them if you want the reader to get an idea of the documents you used as a reference or additional information that can help them better understand the topic or the results. Name each appendix with a separate letter.
- For example, you can write "Annex A", "Annex B" and "Annex C".
- You do not need to include this section if you are writing a progress report.
Step 10. Write a short conclusion summarizing the results or progress
You may not need to make a conclusion, but writing one can be a good way to summarize the content of the document. Limit the conclusion to three or four sentences, summarizing the information presented in the report.
You can write something like this: "The planning project for the art festival is going according to plan and will be completed on schedule. We have completed 90% of the planned activities and are now focusing on purchasing equipment. The project does not present great difficulties, but any eventuality is possible in the future. "
Part 3 of 3: improve the quality of the report
Step 1. Use well-defined headings to help orient the reader
Create direct and objective headlines. The reader should know exactly what the report contains.
- This is what the headings might look like: Introduction, Tasks Completed, Goals for the Next Quarter, Obstacles and Solutions, and Conclusion.
- Adapt the headings to match the information in the report.
- For a progress report, the reader will probably be your supervisor, your employees or your customers.
Step 2. Use direct and simple language to convey your ideas
A work report does not necessarily have to consist of complex words or very elaborate sentences. It is enough to convey the message to the reader. Express your ideas in as simple words as possible, going straight to the point.
Write: "revenue increased 50% in the fourth quarter", instead of "revenue increased 50% to generate huge gains in the fourth quarter. "
Step 3. Be concise to keep the document as brief as possible
Writing more than you need wastes your time and that of your readers. Try to remove the trivialities and get to the point.
- It is good to remember that some reports can be long and cover a lot of information. However, try to be concise.
- You can write something like, "Turnover increased in the last quarter after the sales team implemented a telephone canvassing system", rather than "we saw an increase Revenue was soaring in the last quarter of sales as our talented and dedicated team began canvassing potential customers by phone to offer them more products. "
Step 4. Express ideas in objective and unbiased language
Focus on the facts and let the reader draw their own conclusions from an objective view of the topic. While you can make recommendations on how to overcome a specific problem, don't try to arouse emotions in the reader to persuade them. Let him make his own ideas and opinions based on an objective view of the facts.
Instead of writing: "Employees who feel excluded are depressed, which makes the office feel like a lifeless machine," you could write: "Employees who have lower productivity than others said to feel excluded. "
Step 5. Avoid using slang and the first person singular
It may be appropriate to use the personal pronoun "I" in a progress report if you are writing about a project that you are working on alone. Otherwise, do not use the first person singular or any other slang in a work report. However, the word "you" may be used when addressing the reader.
Maintain professional language throughout the report
Step 6. Check for errors
Spelling and grammar mistakes can challenge your professionalism. It is essential that you read the entire document to make sure there are no typos, spelling mistakes, or misused words. It is best to read the report at least twice.
- Get someone else to proofread for you, if possible, as it's harder to spot your own mistakes.
- If possible, give yourself at least 24 hours before reviewing the document.
- Once you have written your first work report, you can use it as a template for your future documents.
- Your workplace may have a professional report template. Talk to your manager to find out if you can use one of these templates.
- Use an existing report from the company you work for as a reference for formatting. Check office records or ask a colleague or supervisor for a copy of an existing report.