Weekly Report Structure

Once you know what aspects to consider when writing a report it is also important to have a certain reporting style and reporting techniques. To ease the comparison between reports the structure should not differ between every single weekly report. You can start with a short introduction or a summary to give a quick overview and make the report easier to understand. Irrespective of how you decide to do this, it is important to keep the same structure over the week to ease the reading process.

It is important to find a name of the report – if it is a weekly report you are considering you can also name it “Weekly Report”.  It is important to include the date of completion to make it easier for your management to review each week’s process in order.

Each project should have a title that identifies what it is about and should also include who has been working on this project and when it is expected to be finished and when it started respectively. You should also write notes to each project title to let your top management be able to read more about a project if they wish to. This way your management gets a quick overview about what has been going on in your department and can query more information if necessary.

Moreover, every good report should include a section to discuss problems that have already occurred or might occur in the future. It is important to point that out to let the management or your team knows what points they should pay special attention to.  It also helps when you plan on taking a holiday to let your team know that there are some points that has to be considered while you are out of office. It is advisable to include this section at the top of your report and list further activities below.

To track the process you should also point out the state that each project has: e.g. is it still in progress, have sub-goals already been met or has it been completed during the week. Include deadlines to let everyone in your team see when the task is supposed to be completed. It is also important to detect any bottlenecks regarding timings.

A good report should also point out “Next Steps” that you or your team will focus on. It is advisable to either create a category/headline on its own or to include a short notice beyond each project headline to directly refer to the project.

In the end, when you finished writing your weekly report, you also might want to proofread it to check whether all important aspects has been considered or if you missed anything important. It might also be helpful to check older reports to compare yours to. If you have a project that has been in the run for several weeks now you can also refer to older reports to show how it has been progressed over the weeks or month.

When you consider this input you will be able to deliver a reader-friendly report to your top management – all you have to do is to fill it with your content.

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Weekly Report Writing Do’s and Don’ts

Weekly status report might be your weekly routine at work but are you doing it the right and most effective way?  You might want to take some time to review your report writing skills, hence we collected some useful advice in the following:

 

1)   Language

Even though business matters require a higher language level, you have to be careful to not overuse foreign words that nobody understands. Be clear in your weekly report and make it easily readable for your top management. Avoid long words, try to write as simple as possible and use verbs rather than trying to reshape a text with nouns. Verbs do not only help to shorten sentences they also support a text to be more lively.

Further, try to avoid standard phrases and repetition. Don’t let your texts be unread because they are boring. Try to freshen it up.

 

2)   Format

Try to avoid different fonts and font sizes. It confuses the reader and your report might look unprofessional and not well readable. However, as most likely many people of a team contribute to a weekly report it might be really time consuming to format all the input before it is send out to a manager – everyone has his or her own writing style, font and size preference, etc. Nevertheless, there are some programs that ease the process of writing standardized status reports.

 

3)   Content

Clear headlines should be used that enables the reader to quickly scan what is going on. If the reader needs more detailed information he or she should be able to do so by taking a look at the subtext.

Additionally, to give a short overview, your weekly report should also include a short summary to summarize all progresses during that particular week. It helps your manager to get the “bigger picture” and to understand possible independencies between different tasks.

The editor(s) of a report should also include the status of a task/ project to let the reader see whether the task/project just started, is already in progress or completed and include when it is supposed to be finished (deadline). It is also important to prioritize the different tasks to let the manager see the importance.

 

4)   Timing

It is suggested to always hand in a report at a certain time every week. Thus, your top management knows when to expect a report and can plan to read it as well as give feedback. It is also recommended to agree on a time before this deadline with your team members to hand in their share of the report. If some information is missing you can chase your team to hand it in as soon as possible. However, a clear timing allows everyone to plan ahead and make time for the tasks that have to be done during the week. If you are tired chasing your team every single week for completing a weekly report there are also some programs to help you reminding them on a regular basis.

 

5)   Extend of your weekly report

Keep in mind that your top manager’s time is limited. Thus, keep your report short and just list information that is of interest for him or her. Don’t exceed one or two pages. Sometimes it is also advisable to use bullet points than whole sentences unless there is a topic that has to be explained in more detail.

If you keep all these advices in mind when writing your next status report it will be more convenient for your top management to read and you might get a quicker and more efficient response.

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The purpose of weekly status reports

A weekly status report enables managers to track their employees’ performance and progress at all levels. Normally managers do not have the time to talk to every employee about each weekly task in detail due to time shortage. Thus, written weekly reports are an efficient way to communicate all projects, tasks and progresses during a week. This way entry-level employees can demonstrate their performance and progress to the middle management that can forward those reports to their executives. There are several prerequisites though to make weekly reports efficient: It has to be delivered in a timely manner, must be clear and concise. It must be in a format that is informative, straightforward and honest.Writing status reports on a regular basis has several advantages:

1)   Saving time

Weekly reports are an easy way to list all tasks and issues that occur during a week. It saves time as the top manager does not have to engage with every single person in a certain department but invests just a few minutes by reading a summarized list of all tasks and statuses in form of a weekly status report. The only time the manager needs to invest is in chasing his or her team to contribute to this report. Further, templates can ease the process and makes tasks comparable.

2)   Keeping track

Weekly reports help managers to observe of tasks and their progress. Reports help to set goals and to keep track whether those goals can be met after a certain period of time. It helps to review a team’s performance and enables managers to interfere when it becomes apparent that a project does not go as planned.

Weekly reports are a clearly arranged method to point out:

  • Who is responsible for which task
  • What the current status of a project is
  • Whether a project is still in progress or has already been completed
  • What the next steps are
  • Subsequent tasks that have to be done to complete a  project
  • How many hours have already be spent on completing a  task

Due to a coherent design a manager is also able to compare different weekly reports easily and detect possible problems that might occur.  To guarantee all that there are services as Reportautomator.com that provides samples a lists all activities in a coherent matter.

3)   Providing Feedback

In the best-case scenario a manager does not only read the report but also provide feedback to his or her employees. This way an employee’s work has been acknowledged but the employee also gets direct feedback on his or her performance. Thus, a weekly report enhances performance in your department in an easy way.

All in all, weekly reports are a good way to provide an overview of all activities and issues that will be worked on during a week.

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Writing Effective Weekly Reports

Out of total range of available management instruments, the weekly report is a powerful component of the manager’s tool chest. The effectiveness of a weekly report can be very different, depending on several criteria that define the quality of the report. Only if all elements are aligned in a professional structure, the weekly report will achieve the manager’s goals.

1) Content

When writing your weekly report, it is important to keep your audience in mind right from the beginning. Only if you structure and author your report’s content with your audience in mind, it will be perceived and understood in the way that you intended. Writing a lengthly weekly report with lots of details and sending the report to your senior management will most likely create confusion and not achieve your goals. The parts of your reports that get forwarded to your management should be short and precise. It is good reporting practice to illustrate the progress in each of your reports referring back to your previous weekly report and outlining what your next milestone will be and when you plan to achieve it.

Example: “Presented new sales strategy proposal to all local sales managers on Monday. Feedback from sales team will be incorporated into final strategy proposal. Next step: present sales strategy to SVP Sales on 22/01/11.“

2) Structure

You should consider splitting your weekly report into two sections, one that goes to your team only and one that will go to your management. The first section will contain more details and help your team to understand what is going on, maybe even on a daily basis.

Apart from signalling to your management which items require attention, you should break your report into further subsections, possibly by project or by the desired result your are trying to achieve.

Examples:
”1) Escalation/Support required
[Used for items where you need management support to resolve.]

2) Weekly progress report
[Individual report items ordered by project]“

“1) Items for management attention
[Used to forward to management for information or action]
2) Weekly progress
[List of achievements for the current week]
3) Next steps
[High Level planning for next week]”
There is already a wide range of weekly report templates that your can try and select for what fits your needs best.

3) Style

Your weekly report should look professional and you should pay attention that your visual appearance is free from errors. Typical mistakes made in a report are that all types of font styles and sizes are mixed together and hence only distract the reader’s eye. If you use a professional weekly report template, you are free from making such mistakes and appear like an amateur in your field. It is essential that your reporting style reflects your professional competency.

It is a good idea to use several report templates for the different reports you create. Your daily report may be far more detailed than your weekly report and it will most likely also go to a different list of recipients. While your team is the recipient of your daily report, your weekly report will be aimed towards your management.

4) Professionalism

You have to make sure your weekly report is professional in all aspects. Apart from the visual appearance and content that suited for your audience, you must make sure that your report is delivered in a reliable way. It should arrive in the recipient’s mailbox at the same time every week so that everybody is clear on what to expect. A good tool for making sure that your report is delivered on time is reportautomator.com – it takes away all the hassle of chasing your team for input and realiably sends out your reports at scheduled intervals.

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Different kinds of business reports

In every company it is important to keep track of task on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly or annual basis. This can happen in form of business reports, project reports or status reports that has to be composed by a department in almost every company. It helps to keep track on key components on your business and to analyze trends and performance of a company from one period to another respectively and gives opportunity for action. 

Please read the following link for a more detailed description of daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports: http://www.smallbizviewpoints.com/2010/07/15/reports-you-should-use-to-assess-business-performance/

How often do you hand in business reports? Do you work with report samples?

 

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Blog for business and project reports

 

 

This blog evolves around the issue of report writing and gives advice on weekly or monthly business and project reports but also helps with reports samples and templates. We are also glad about any feedback or recommendations. 

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