How to write reports when you’re WFH (you don’t have to feel isolated)

It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re writing a report and working from home. But you don't have to. Get feedback at 3 key stages . . .
Report written on a whiteboard
Report written on a whiteboard

It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re working from home. If you’re writing a report in the office, you can bounce ideas off colleagues, chat about content or consult them about a first draft.

So how can you get the same support when you’re not in the office? One way is to set up a new work pattern in your team or workplace, to support each other when writing reports.

The best way to collaborate with colleagues is by video conferencing, so you can share a screen and chat about the report in a relaxed way. To be most productive, you should share your work first (by email or in the cloud). This allows your colleagues to take a look in their own time – and then you should book an online meeting to go through it.

Collaborate with colleagues at 3 key stages

Stage 1: The objectives template

Write a clear objective, focusing on the objectives, intended audiences and key content. For example, this report for the HR manager examines productivity of the HR team who are currently working from home, to enable her to consider future working patterns.

  • Get feedback from your manager or colleagues
  • Get sign off from the relevant person

Stage 2: The plan

Write a clear detailed outline or plan, with sub-headings for key points and content written in note form in each section.

  • Check you’re on the right track
  • Ask specific questions (Should I add X? Is Y really required?)
  • Don’t start your first draft until your plan is edited and you’re happy you’ve got all the right information in the right place

Stage 3: After you’ve edited and proofread it yourself

Finish the report before asking anyone else to take a look – so you’re not embarrassed by minor mistakes. You don’t want anyone to get distracted and focus on small issues, like typos or commas.

  • Remind colleagues about the objective and target audiences
  • Ask them to use track changes and comments in MS Word
  • Ask specific questions if you have doubts about anything
  • Decide if you want them to edit or proofread – or both

Coming soon: How to give (and take) feedback on reports when you’re working from home