How To Write a Report for Work (With Examples)
By Jennifer Herrity
Updated May 24, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020
Updated May 24, 2022
Published February 4, 2020
Jennifer Herrity is a career coach at Indeed who has worked with job seekers from various industries over the last 12 years. She creates resources to help people navigate career challenges with tools and techniques she has refined through practical experience.
Business reports are often a common part of many peoples' work responsibilities. There are several types of work reports that you may be required to write, including daily work reports, sales reports and analyses. While there is no set format for writing work reports, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you compose the most effective and professional report possible.
In this article, we'll discuss what a work report is, review how to write an efficient report, and go over a work report template and examples for when you draft your own.
What is a work report?
A work report is a formal document that discusses information about a specific topic related to an aspect of your job. Most work reports are addressed to a particular audience, such as a manager. Depending on the type of work report, you may be given a report brief that outlines what you should include in your report. Most reports should be written in a structured format to clearly demonstrate what the report is trying to convey.
How to write a work report
Writing effective work reports takes practice and requires good communication skills. The more reports you write, the more efficient you will be in composing them. The following are steps you can take to write a professional report in the workplace:
1. Identify your audience
Knowing who will be reading your report is an important step in determining how you will format your report, what to include and the tone you should use when writing it. For example, if you are writing a sales report for your manager, will anyone else be reading the report? If you're composing a business analysis report, will your higher-ups be reading the report or only your immediate supervisor? Establish who will be reading your report and cater the report to these specific people.
Related: 13 Examples of Tone in Writing
2. Decide which information you will include
After determining who your audience is, you should focus on identifying the purpose of your report to decide what information should be included. If you know who will be reading the report, you could ask questions regarding what they expect to see. Choose to include information that will provide the clearest picture of what you are trying to convey.
For example, if you're writing a sales report, your report may need to include information about whether sales goals are being met, products and services that are selling the most, challenges you or your team are facing and your sales forecast for the next month or quarter.
3. Structure your report
When writing a report, you should structure it so that it can be easily read and digested. While each report will vary in the sections you should include, you can use the following report components as a guide when writing your report:
Title or title page
Executive summary/abstract that briefly describes the content of your report
Table of contents (if the report is more than a few pages)
An introduction describing your purpose in writing the report
A body paragraph where you include the information you are conveying with the report
Conclusion or recommendation depending on the purpose of the report
4. Use concise and professional language
You should strive to use clear and concise language when writing your report. Try to get the point across as clearly and quickly as possible and use simple yet professional language. Avoid using "fluff" or wordy sentences when possible. For example, rather than saying, "You might find it helpful to regularly refresh your inbox to stay up-to-date on emails," you could say, "Regularly refresh your inbox."
5. Proofread and edit your report
Proofreading your work report is an essential step in the report-writing process. This gives you the opportunity to ensure your writing is as professional as possible and to catch any mistakes before you send it out. Proofreading also allows you to cut out any unnecessary information and make sure your report is as efficient and effective as possible.
Once you have finished writing your report, set it aside for an hour or more before you proofread it. This will allow you to look at the report in a fresh way and catch mistakes you may not have seen before.
Work report template
The following is a template you can use when formatting a work report:
[Prepared by: your first and last name]
[Executive summary or abstract: Use this section to note your conclusions or recommendations that will be made in the report. You should also include the most important ideas discussed in the report. If you're writing a daily work report or progress report, you do not need to include this section.]
[Introduction: Your introduction should be two to four paragraphs summarizing what you will cover in the report as well as your reason for writing the report. Be as specific and concise as possible when writing your introduction so that the reader can clearly understand what they will find in your report. For daily or progress reports, your introduction only needs to be a few sentences detailing work you've completed and what you plan to work on next.]
[Body: For the body of your report, you should focus on detailing the information you wish to convey. You can include results, conclusions and findings that were made related to a project. For daily or progress reports, include the accomplishments you have achieved or tasks you have completed.]
[Recommendations: In this section, you should list your recommendations based on the conclusions or results of a project or that will solve a particular issue. For example, you may write "spend one hour training employees on the new handbook each week" as a recommendation. For a daily or progress report, you can list your next goals or tasks in this section.]
[Conclusion: Conclude your report by summarizing the findings or results discussed and reiterating the most important recommendations.]
Work report example
The following is an example of a work report you can use as a guide when writing your own report in the workplace:
November 5, 20XX
Prepared by: Sally Smith
This report is to provide an update on the XYZ project that is due on December 5. This project will result in the creation of a new employee handbook that will include updated rules and regulations as well as the approved increase of paid-time-off. This handbook will work to increase employee awareness of workplace expectations as well as inform them of the new benefits that have recently been implemented.
Summary of work completed:
As of this date, I have completed the following for the XYZ project:
Verified all information that will be in the handbook with upper management and HR
Drafted a table of contents
Formatted layout of handbook
Composed the first 12 pages of handbook
Tasks to be accomplished by November 12, 20XX:
Compose five more pages of handbook.
Proofread and edit all pages that have been completed up to this date.
Have the manager of HR read handbook content to ensure accuracy.
The XYZ project is on track to be completed by the scheduled date. This project currently has no obvious obstacles or issues, but if they should arise they will be promptly addressed.
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