Documentation is essential in every business. It saves time with training, improves consistency across your organization, and can simply make everyone's lives easier!
There are numerous solutions out there to help your business document its various processes, procedures, and policies. They can range from fully featured documentation platforms to simple wikis. With the right combination of leadership and habits, a documentation system will be very successful.
But what if you don't have a documentation system? What if you do, but it is dated, or you simply don't like it? Or, what if your documentation system is literally a physical notebook with random word documents and hand-written instructions?
Well bud... there's always OneNote :)
Here's the setup
You are a small business that provides unique services to the community. Like most small businesses, there are several people wearing many hats and their departments are loosely defined. You are growing and looking to double in size over the next year.
You want to do a better job of documenting their various processes so that it is easier for others to cover their various positions as well as make it easier to train their new staff.
You want a solution that is very easy to use, available on all of their devices, and fast. It's also important that they are able to easily make edits to their documentation as they will be doing so in between other tasks.
Also, your software budget is $0.
OneNote is the way to go
OneNote is free. Even if you don't already have Office 365. OneNote can be accessed from literally any modern device (PC/Mac/Android/iPhone/Chromebook/Linux). You can use OneNote with Microsoft Teams (Also free!). Pair OneNote and Teams with Microsoft 365 and you get significantly added security, features, and storage.
To keep things simple, we are going to create a OneNote Notebook specifically for Internal Processes inside of a Team that everyone in the company has access to.
We create OneNote Sections to organize the type of processes that will be documented:
We also add this OneNote as a tab in Teams so that everyone can easily find it if they don't have OneNote readily available:
We also post to the Teams so everyone is in the know and can also double as a way for employees to give feedback and add ideas:
Now, let's create a template
A standard OneNote Page is a blank slate. For a shared Notebook that will be used specifically for creating documentation by multiple people, you need to use templates!
Our Example Template:
Configured to be the size of standard sheet of paper for easy printing
Contains a standard "look"
Has a few pre-filled sections to help people get started
Will load by default for every new page created in the Notebook
Has a logo because we want our logo on it
You can expect to need to revise your template over time. Once you have your template ready, create a page using the template to see if there are any adjustments you want to make.
Now it's time to start documenting!
You now have a mostly blank notebook that can be used by multiple people in the company at the same time.
Anyone on the Team can hop on and start documenting their processes. The OneNote Notebook updates automatically whether people are in the office, at home, on a phone, or on a tablet.
OneNote is simple enough to use for staff of every experience level, but free training exists to help improve skillsets.
Thanks Aevo, OneNote solves everything!
Not so fast!
OneNote might be a great fit for your business or it is just a stepping stone towards a bigger solution. Either way, it is not a replacement for developing a documentation and process focused work culture.
You'll still need to help your team develop great habits that utilize OneNote. That means dedicating resources towards creating documentation, regularly reviewing your documentation, and making documentation part of your workflows.
OneNote is just a tool, but it can be a great catalyst for launching your company's documentation and collaboration objectives forward!
Pairing great tools with great processes will vastly increase your chances of success!
Interested in having a conversation about technology in your business?