SOP stands for ‘standard operating procedures’ and are the backbone of many larger organisations. Having SOPs in place allows work and other business-related procedures to be carried out in a repeatable and organised way. Think of SOPs as a set of rules that everyone follows in order to do a task. When everyone is on the same page, it is clear what needs to be done, by whom, and in what order. It also helps to solve problems, in that the SOP can be referred to should a staff member be unsure of the next step.
The bigger your business becomes, the more important it is for operations to be done in a standardised fashion. By completing tasks in a coordinated manner, it reduces the risks of errors and miscommunication, while maintaining efficiency. This not only applies to tasks themselves, but to an array of business functions such as health and safety procedures and making sure your business complies with various legislations.
How are SOPs created?
One of the best ways to create an SOP is to use a document to show each process involved in completing a task, and have that information available to staff. That way, all employees have the same understanding and ‘blueprint’ to refer to. If a change in procedure is needed, the document can simply be updated and employees made aware. This step-by-step approach shows each stage of a procedure, and it is documented, displayed and stored in an accessible format.
Where can I store SOPs?
Once you have your SOPs created in a document, you may be wondering where they can be stored so that employees have access. Unless all your staff are onsite, using cloud-based options is recommended. With the rise of virtual teams, it makes sense to store your SOPs on a platform that anyone can access with internet, as long as permission is provided. Here’s a few options:
- Google Drive – this is a popular way to store documents such as SOPs. It gives you several different formatting options such as spreadsheets, word documents, slides and more. It is easy to use and anyone that has shared access can view the required SOPs.
- Excel – using the cloud-based version of Excel is an excellent way to create and store spreadsheet documents. This format allows you to present information in a variety of ways, and it’s easy to locate specific items to edit and update when necessary.
- Airtable – a useful platform where you can manage team collaboration and more. This includes creating a master list of SOP documentation, and having access all in one place.
- CODA – this innovative platform is designed for teams. As well as a familiar document interface, it also allows for interactivity between team members. It is a useful option for both creating and storing SOPs.
- ClickUp – a free, work-sharing, project management and team collaboration platform that is a great option for storing data such as SOPs. Also, there are specific ClickUp SOP templates to help make creating your SOPs a breeze!
SOPs are essential in communicating information to employees, whether it is a blueprint for completing tasks, setting out health and safety rules, environmental operations and more. Improving communication reduces risks of error, improves efficiency, and brings cohesion to your team. If you are looking for advice on the best tools to use, how to structure your SOPs, or want to brainstorm your procedures, feel free to get in touch!