What is a memo and what kinds of messages does it convey?
A memo, also called memorandum, is a written document used in everyday business practices. Memos typically convey one of two points: 1) informational messages regarding changes to workplace procedures, and new employee announcements or 2) persuasive messages to encourage employees to do something, like organizing their files alphabetically or participating in a workplace seminar.
Different sections included in a memo
Here are the different sections that are typically included in a memo:
The heading section of your memo should include the title “Memo” to help define the type of document it is. Under this, you should include the following:
This is important even if you choose to use a paper format instead of email because it helps define who the memo applies to, who wrote the memo, how current it is and what information it contains.
This is an optional section, but you may include a salutation statement to introduce the memo. “Happy holidays,” “Greetings” or “Dear staff” are all examples of potential salutations.
Your opening statement should summarize the current event or situation that caused the need to write a memo in the first place.
The background section provides the reasoning for the current situation addressed in the opening statement.
The closing statement is used to highlight more specific details that the rest of the memo failed to mention. It may also be used to outline what employees can expect in the coming weeks or months.
Customizable memo template
There are a few common formats that prove simple and effective for writing memos. Below is one example template:
To: [Recipient name(s), department name, all employees]
From: [Sender(s) names, titles]
Date: [Month, Day, Year]
Subject: [Define the purpose of the memo here in one sentence or less.]
[One to two sentence paragraph that immediately states the situation at hand.]
[A few sentences explaining the reason (background) that caused the situation, or need for the situation]
[A few sentences acknowledging the recipients’ rights to ask questions or state concerns, who to contact about concerns and clickable attachments to resources (if it is a digital memo)]
[One to two sentence conclusion stating the next steps or reiterating your main point]
Thank you [you may add an additional statement depending on the situation, e.g. for your cooperation, for your patience, for your hard work].
Memo Template for PDF & Word
Check out our business memo template to help you spread information in a brief, effective format.
*Indeed provides these examples as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your HR or legal adviser, and none of these documents reflect current labor or employment regulations.
Using the above template, here are some memo examples for different situations to help you gain a better understanding of how to write your own:
This memo example aims to inform employees about an office renovation project and how it will affect their workspace:
To: All employees
From: Jordan Smith – Office Manager
Date: [January 29, 2020]
Subject: Deep clean for the office suite
In one week, our office suite will undergo a deep clean from a professional cleaning crew followed by a visit from an exterminator company. This means that no one will be allowed into the office for three days.
As you may know, in our effort to enhance workplace safety standards, we uncovered the potential conditions for black mold and also discovered termite damage. For this reason, we need to bring in professionals to make our workspace safe and enjoyable for all.
We understand that some employees may not feel comfortable working in the office up until the cleaning. You may fill out a telecommute request form here, if you wish to do so. Be sure to communicate with your manager before you start telecommuting.
We’ll allocate the last hour of work on Tuesday, February 4 to allow employees to transfer items to our temporary office suite. On Wednesday, February 5, employees are to report at their regular start time to suite 202 on the second floor. From Wednesday the 5th through Friday the 7th, employees will conduct their work in suite 202. On the following Monday, we’ll be allowed back into our office suite on the first floor.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”
This memo example aims to congratulate a department on a recent accomplishment and future planning:
To: Marketing Team
From: Casey Myers – Marketing Director
Date: [January 18, 2020]
Subject: Campaign results and next steps
I am writing to inform you that we have surpassed our goals for our ‘Clothe a Friend’ campaign! Due to its success, upper management wants us to begin preparation for campaign ‘Clothe a Friend’ 2.0.
In August of 2019 our talented marketing specialist, Jen, accompanied by our marketing coordinator Sam and our team of gifted content creators developed the ‘Clothe a Friend’ campaign to help promote our brand and increase sales by 15% by January of 2020. I’m proud to report that that percentage has surpassed our expectations by a whopping 30%!
If you have any questions feel free to stop by my office. You can access the full report and campaign data here. If you want to review content from the campaign, click here.
We will begin work on part two of the campaign on Monday, February 13, 2020.
Great work, everyone!”
What are the different types of memos?
Here are the common types of memos businesses use:
- Report memos: Update recipients on the state of a current project.
- Request memos: Ask recipients to do something specific, like compiling a report or staying late on a Friday.
- Confirmation memos: Seek to confirm an agreement between the sender and the recipient.
- Suggestion memos: Ask recipients to provide their insights, ideas or opinions on a workplace issue.
How should employees receive memos?
You may need to provide memos in several different formats to get the attention of your staff about an important topic. Some companies email memos to employees in a digital format for them to review. They may also post paper copies in common spaces like break rooms or hallways for employees to read on their break. Employers may also print paper copies for department heads to distribute to each employee’s desk.
Why are memos used in the office?
Memos are used in the office to provide employees with important information in a brief and readable format. Further, memos convey a sense of importance that gains the attention of staff and promotes clarity about company operations and news.
Should a memo be signed?
Memos don’t necessarily need to be signed due to the fact that they aim to provide a brief statement to employees. However, if a memo addresses a sensitive topic about the state of the company or aims to congratulate the company on its success, an employer signature helps add sincerity.