Work Instruction Template

Editors Note: This Work Instruction template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other Template Tuesday materials.

Template TuesdayDefinition:

A work instruction provides detailed, specific and sequential information needed to carry out an activity. In many organizations, a work instruction is considered to be much more detailed than a procedure, and is created when the work activity requires precision. However many organizations use work instructions to provide simplified instructions on a wide variety of policies and procedures, including security, human resources, operations, and various systems management. A work instruction often includes illustrations or photos of each step to enhance the information with visuals.


Work instructions typically break down very complex procedures or workflows into very specific steps using simplified language and visuals to reduce the potential for errors and rework, and increase accuracy. In manufacturing or highly regulated environments, work instructions document  the correct way to perform low-level activities, which may roll up to a higher-level procedure, and may be required by standards, regulations or operating policies.


In many organizations, access to digital information may be limited (for example, shop floors or highly secure work areas). Training videos or web-based help is often not an option, and work instructions supply the information in the form needed by users. Material for work instructions may be sourced from other content, such as that supplied in training or support materials, and reconfigured for posting on or near machinery.

In other organizations, work instructions provide the specific content required to perform activities where users are less inclined to seek out explanatory information on their own.

Using the Template:

  1. Download the Work Instruction template in MS Word.
  2. Gather the information and visuals required to create the work insturctions.
  3. Determine any higher level procedures or policies that govern the work instructions.
  4. Organize the content into logical, related sections and/or steps.
  5. Validate the information with subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders.
  6. Sent the draft for review.
  7. Edit based on feedback.
  8. Determine the format and publishing outputs.
  9. Publish the content.
  10. Set a timeframe for document review and updates.

Do you have other templates that work well for the products or services you support?  Feel free to contact us and submit your templates. We’ll provide credit to you for assisting the TechWhirl community and contributing to Template Tuesdays.

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