Office and Its Function
Meaning of an Office
Office is a unit where relevant records for the purpose of control, planning and efficient management of the organisation are prepared, handled and preserved.
Table of Content
Office provides facilities for internal and external communication and coordinates activities of different departments of the organisation. An office is a place where the control mechanisms for an enterprise are located; where records are initiated for communication, control and efficient operations of the enterprise.
An office is the place where work in connection with the preparing and furnishing of information is done. The acts of collecting, processing, storing and distributing information comprise the functions of the office.
Basics of an ultimate Office
- To maintain a good flow of work without any blockage.
- To prevent repetition of work and proceedings.
- To make sure that staff movement is at minimum.
- To avoid needless correspondence.
- To split the work among staff so as to get the benefit of specialization.
- To maintain paper work to the lowest.
- To use modern office appliances to reduce monotony in office work.
Importance of an Office
The modern commercial office is an indispensable department of every business undertaking may it be big or small, trading or manufacturing. The office exists to provide clerical services needed by all the departments of a business unit. In fact, without a well-organized and well-structured office, business activities cannot be carried on methodically and professionally.
The importance of office will become evident from the following –
- It Helps in recognition of the Business – In firms such as bank, insurance companies, etc., office is recognized with business. Office lets the investors, customers, public, government, tax authorities, to deal with business undertakings. For enquiries, complaints, etc., people visit only the office but no other departments of the business.
- Ease the Preparation of accounts and statements – The formulation of business policies to a large extent depends upon the accounts and statements which replicate the success or failure of the business. The Management requires information in the form of reports regularly, which are prepared weekly or monthly. It is in the office; such records and reports are prepared and furnished to the management. So, office functions as a store room of all records which serves as the basis for the preparation of reports.
- Aids Management to accomplish its Functions – Managerial functions such as planning, organizing coordinating and controlling are performed with the help of an office.
- It Provides Employment Opportunities – As the size of the business increases, the work load of the office also increases. To manage the increased office work, the work force has to be expanded. Thus, existence of office department provides gainful employment opportunities to many people.
Functions of an office
Primary Functions – Primary function of the business transaction is making, using and preserving records for future reference. Some of the records and books are to be statutorily maintained as per the requirement so flaw while other records are maintained to meet the needs of management.
The primary functions of an office are –
- Receiving Information – Receiving information relating to the business from various sources is the major function of an office. An office receives information either from internal source or from external source. Information received from internal source is from the departmental heads and from other levels of management. The main forms of such information are reports, letters and telephone messages.
- Recording Information – After collecting information from various sources and in different forms, the second primary function of an office is to record them in appropriate books by sorting them appropriately.
- Processing Information -Normally the information collected by an office will not be in a form which can be used directly by the management for decision making. Therefore, it involves arranging and processing the information systematically using trained staff.
- Retrieval of Information – The office facilitates such information to the management and when needed from its records. Examples of information provided by office are orders, estimates, invoices, financial statements.
- Protecting Assets – This involves conservation of the assets of the business. The most important intangible assets to be protected by an office are the business secrets. The other asset to be protected is cash. All the valuable assets must be insured against probable risk of loss. and directives issued on behalf of management.
- Arranging Funds – For a public limited company, the office has to arrange funds by the issue of shares, debentures, public deposits, etc. And further it must arrange for payment of dividend and interest thereon.
The secondary functions that arise in course of business are subsidiary to primary function. These functions may be classified as following –
Communication – Communication can be denoted as the core of the secondary function of the office. Every office deals with two types of communication, viz., internal and external. The internal communication takes place within the Organisation between the management and individual through conference, interviews, telephone calls, instructions and circulars. The external communication takes place between the business enterprise and outsiders through letters, telephone, telegrams, orders and so forth.
Computation – This function entails ascertainment of cost occurred in manufacturing, computation of wages and salaries payable to employees and assessing the value of by-products, wastes and scraps obtained in the production process.
Statistical Work – The statistical work in an office includes the categorizing, studying, summarizing and understanding the report. It involves the preparation of comprehensive report accompanied by charts and diagrams as a recommendation for timely action.
Planning and Scheduling – The planning function of office deals with shaping what is to be done, who should do it and where it should be done. Scheduling is deals with the time at which the events planned are to take place and both planning and scheduling functions are based upon records.
Coordination and Direction – One of the functions of office is to coordinate the operations of other departments by giving required instructions from time to time. This enhances the overall competence of business activities.
Supervision and Control – Office also supervises the work executed by various departments and preserve momentum of work in those departments which are deficient in efficiency. This is made sure by control techniques.
Office Management and Office Manager
Office management is considered as an important part of general management. Office management is the planning, organizing and controlling of office work and of their performing it so as to achieve the predetermined objectives. The word ‗manage‘ which is derived from French word ‗manage‘ which means managing a horse has dictionary meanings such as to conduct, to control or to administer.
Functions of Office Management
As the process of office management is same as the general process of business management, the office management will also have to perform all the functions similar to those of business management. The functions of office management are very wider and broader. They have been summarized as follows –
- Planning – Planning is the basic function of office management. To plan is to produce a scheme for future action. It is concerned with sketching out what is to be done and how it is to be done, in advance.
- Organizing – The function of organizing office activities refers to the structure of duties and functions of the office personnel to achieve according to the objectives of the Organisation. Thus this function is concerned with activity-authority relationship.
- Staffing – Staffing is the executive‘s function which involves the recruitment, selection, compensating, training, promotion, etc. Office management also deals with the staffing process.
- Directing – The process of direction indicates the way executive issues instructions to his subordinates or indicates what it is that should be done. So Direction can thus be regarded as the process of guiding and supervising subordinates.
- Coordinating – It is another function of office to ascertain co-ordination between employer and employee so that production may increase. The lack of co-ordination may have an undesirable impact on the efficiency of management and may even prove to be cause of the failure of a business enterprise.
- Controlling – The managerial function of control is the evaluation and correction of the performance of subordinates in order to make sure that enterprise objectives and the plans devised to fulfill them are accomplished.
- Motivating – This the most complex function as it‘s linked with human beings. Motivation means inducing subordinates to work with passion and enthusiasm and cooperate for achieving the objectives of the Organisation.
Functions of Office manager
The basic function of the office manager is to plan, organize and control the office operations. The function of the office manager may vary from Organisation to Organisation according to its nature, size and volume of operation. Some of the functions of the office manager which helps to manage and control the office enabling the office to work efficiently and properly are:–
- He is the person who should plan, organize and control the office in order to achieve the goals of the Organisation.
- He helps in determining the manpower requirements, recruiting, selecting, and training people to perform the office work efficiently and effectively.
- He performs as a line executive for his own department and staff executive or advisor for other departments.
- The selection of design and plan the office layout so as to ensure smooth flow of work is done by the office manager.
- He has the authority to safeguard and maintain the building and other assets of office.
- It‘s the manager‘s duty to observe the rules, procedures and policies of the management within the office.
- He has to maintain cordial relation with the outsiders or general public in order to create goodwill for the Organisation.
- He has to influence, inspire, and guide his subordinates to get the best out of them.
- He is responsible for procuring suitable machines, equipment, furniture, stationery and other suppliers and for maintaining good working conditions.
Office Organisation can be defined as the process by which a frame work of positions is welded together, in the office for the pursuit of goals or objectives set forth. It‘s a dynamic process. The changes in the Organisation takes place when there is a change in the objectives of the Organisation, change in personnel and changes in the environment which takes place outside the office of the Organisation.
Principles of Office Organisation
For the proper management of any business house it‘s very essential that the office should be organized in perfect manner. The principles observed are.
- Principles of objectives – Clear objectives are drawn out as to what is to be done or what is to be achieved by each department.
- Principle of efficiency – The goals of the Organisation is achieved at minimum cost.
- Division of work – The work is divided in the way to obtain maximum result.
- Span of control – The number of subordinates under one supervisor is restricted as to enable him to supervise effectively.
- Scalar chains of authority – The line of authority is clearly defined so that every subordinate knows who is his immediate supervisor.
- Unity of command – Every subordinate should be immediately responsible to one and not several supervisors.
If the office is of a small organisation, the manager or the owner himself will perform and manage the overall functions. But if it is a large organisations office, the manager or the owner alone cannot handle the entire work. So the general manager will delegate some work to his subordinates who will head the different departments.
The persons in in-charge are called the departmental heads and under each departmental head, there will be sectional officers who will look after the department proceedings under the supervision of the departmental head. However, general manager will be responsible for the overall work, because he supervises the functioning of the departmental heads to the section manager.
The organisation chart helps to find out the relationship between superior and subordinate. It denotes how the delegation of authority is carried out in an organisation. In other words, it facilitates to know how many departments or sections are there in an organisation. Delegation of Authority facilitates quick decisions at all levels of management. It reduces burden of executives as they delegate their daily activities to their subordinates and concentrate in important functions such as planning.
Louis A Allen stated ―Delegation is the dynamics of Management .How well one delegates determines how well he manages‖. Delegation simply means the permission granted by the superior to his subordinates to do something. In the words of Robert C. Appleby delegation is the process whereby, individual transfer to some other individuals the duty of carrying out some particular action and sometime taking some particular decision.
Degree of Delegation
Degree of delegation is coined by
Policy and Philosophy of management – If the activities of the management are decentralized then there will be high level of delegation. Whereas, if the activities are centralized then there will be low level of delegation.
Size of the firm – Firms with larger size will delegate their authorities to lessen the burden of their mangers. But in small size, firms there will be low delegation.
Availability of capable managers – The availability of capable managers will decrease delegation as the managers will do the work themselves.
Cost of decision – When the decision of big investment is taken, it will be done by the top management without delegating it to the down level. Whereas low cost decisions will be delegated to the low level of managements.
Elements of delegation
There are three elements of delegation. Duties, Authorities, and Accountabilities are the essential elements in the process of delegation. These are inter dependent and must go together for effective delegation.
Delegation of Duties and responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities are delegated to the subordinates. Assignment of duty refers to the nature and type of work to be performed by the subordinate as allotted by the superior.
Delegation of Authority
Authority refers to the powers and rights conferred to the subordinates by the superior. The delegation is accompanied by right to act, power to control and other administrative steps to complete the task.
Accountability refers to the obligation which is fulfilled by the subordinate for having delegated the task. In other words, the subordinate is answerable for completing the assigned task. When the subordinate knows his assigned responsibilities, he can concentrate his efforts in meeting the requirements of his position. It tends to promote a high morale since he receives full recognition for his achievements. It facilitates the evaluation of performance and serves as a strong stimulus to perform.
Departmentalization refers to the grouping of operating tasks into jobs, the combining of jobs into effective work groups and the combining of groups into divisions often termed as ‗Departments‘. Grouping of activities into departments is necessary part of the process of setting up organisation, whenever enterprise expands beyond the size that cannot be effectively managed by one person. Departments and levels emerge from the grouping of activities.
The formation of a progression of smaller departments enables the executives to get them specialized within a narrower sort of activity. This helps the organisation to assign the work only to those who are best suited. With this type of assignment, the executives can focus their experience and interest only on that work assigned to them departmentally rather than concentrating on overall company interests and policies. Departmentalization further helps the executive to direct and control the work to be done under his department.
The executive under this system will also get a chance to exhibit his skill and experience regarding various problems to be handled in his department—thereby the basis for top management to have effective co-ordination and control over the various departments.
Lastly, assignment of work to manageable units can be effectively made under divisional structure of organisation. That is, we need departmentation in an enterprise to divide the activities along with authority, responsibility and accountability with sole objective to get the work done smoothly and in the best possible way.
Importance of Departmentation
The importance of departmentation is to facilitate successful operation and to create an environment for effective performance. Grouping of activities and employees into departments makes it possible to expand an organisation to a large extent. It enables the organisation to recapture some of the advantages of the small functional organisation while minimizing the disadvantages of that which comes with increasing size, diversity and dispersion.
The importance of departmentation may be stated in the following way –
- Specification – Departmentation helps to grow specification in various activities which leads to improving the efficiency of operation.
- Feeling of autonomy – Departmentation gives independent charges to managers. The feeling of independence provides satisfaction and in turn increases their responsibilities and efficiency.
- Fixation of responsibility – Through departmentation, responsibilities of the work can be precisely and accurately fixed. The authority and responsibility of each department is defined precisely.
- Development of Management – The managers of each department perform specialized functions. They take independent decision and develop themselves for higher positions. Departmentation facilitates the development of managerial personnel by providing them opportunities for exercising initiatives.
Office Systems and Routines
Office System and Routines
Office work is composed of a variety of office system, procedure and methods. The word office system has been used in different senses. In ordinary sense of the term, office system means a particular set of work arranged in sequence wise. In other words, it‘s a planned procedure of doing a particular office activity. It gives a complete picture of personnel, forms, records, machines and equipments involved in completing a major phase of office activity.
The use of proper system enables to bring efficiency in the utilization of the organisational resources, control operating cost and improve operating efficiency. The systems and procedures set up for doing various office operations must be carefully considered. As far as possible, the flow of work must be continuous, smooth and straight without backward movements. This is possible only with the placement of clerks and equipment is such that they fit in the system and routines in operation.
Features of office system
- It is a planned way of doing the work.
- The work is divided into different sequences of operation.
- The work done is interrelated.
- It is directed for the attainment of the organisational objective.
Each system is composed of a number of routines. It is a series of related clerical steps, usually performed by more than one person which constitutes an established and accepted way of carrying the major phase of office activity. Thus, procedure means a series of clerical acts organized under supervision to accomplish the purpose of an office. According to Ouible a procedure is a related method necessary to complete a work process. A procedure stands between a system and an operation.
he differences between office system and routines System
- It is a plan of work.
- It states what work is to be done.
- It denotes a broad division of work.
- A system is prepared once and not used again and again.
- A system includes a number of routines.
- It denotes the steps comprising plan to work.
- It shows how the work is done.
- It denotes small part of each division.
- Routines are used again and again.
- A routine does not include a system because it is a guide to work.
Office Accommodation and Layout
Importance of Office Accommodation
A fine office accommodation is essential for every business. A wellfurnished office provides healthy and pleasant working conditions by the installation of lighting, ventilation and air-conditioning facilities. Moreover, it offers protection to the office equipments from bad weather. A well planned office accommodation saves area of land through multistorey and mezzanine floor space.
A good accommodation facilitates performance of office work effectively and continuously by eliminating work stoppages and interruptions as it increases the morale of the employees and thus reduces labour turnover. It creates favourable impression on visitors and general public and thus has a self-advertising value.
Location plays an important role for suitable and smooth management of an office. If an office is not correctly situated, it may cause difficulty to both staff and the customer ensuing expensive consumption of time and in turn leading to loss of competence.
Factors Affecting Office Location
The selection of Office location is influenced by the following factors –
- Value of Land – The cost of land determines the location of offices premises. As the cost of land will be very high in urban areas there is a trend to establish it near suburban areas.
- Cost of Construction – The cost of construction also influences the selection of location. It is high in urban areas than in rural areas.
- Expansion Potential – The additional space available for future expansion of an office is considered while selecting a location.
- Climatic Condition – The physical condition and competence of office staff depends largely on the climatic condition of the locality. Hence, this factor must be given top priority in locating an office.
- Availability of Parking Facility – Sufficient space is essential for parking the vehicles of the office staff as well as visitors. The facility is accessible in suburban areas when compared to towns and cities.
- Availability of Banking Facilities – For arranging financial requirements of the business and for on time deposits of cash from day by day collections it is necessary to set up office in a locality where banking facilities are readily accessible.
- Availability of Postal and Communication Service – As office is the place where communication is exchanged, it is essential to choose such a location where postal and communication facilities are easily available.
- Availability of Transport – The accessibility of different modes of transport facilitates office staffs to arrive at the office in time. Such facilities are found generally in urban areas than in suburban areas.
- Availability of Housing – To enable office staffs to attend to office work punctually, the area to be selected must be such that it provides housing facilities to them.
Office layout refers to the arrangement and placing of personnel, equipment and furniture within each department or section of the office with a view to make the best possible utilization of available space. Diverse departments, equipment and human resources should be so arranged within the available floor space so that office space is utilized fully and the efficiency of operations is the highest. This is the problem of office layout.
The term office layout is used in a broad sense to include location of departments in an office as well as systematic arrangement of furniture and equipment within each and every department. Office layout is a plan or the act of planning to obtain an optimum arrangement of office facilities, including personnel, equipment, storage space and all other supporting services along with the design of the best structure to contain these facilities.
Importance of Office layout
When a proper arrangement of furniture and equipment is provided, it enables the office staff to confine to their places and carry out their activities without moving from place to place. It also helps in utilising the available space to the maximum extent as disorganized arrangement will occupy too much of space. Good layout of an office enables the office manager to supervise the work of all the staff and to enforce discipline among them. Office layout facilitates quick communication of message, if the departments or sections are properly arranged.
Well-arranged office department permits the utilization of physical facilities and enables the employees psychologically to feel that they are working in good working conditions. Well planned office will facilitate future expansion and thus avoid the problems arising from non-availability of enough space for future use. The layout of office must be such that it meets the legal requirements of a country. The office is identified with business, both by customers and by visitors. Hence, the layout of office must be such that it gives better impression on all who visit the office.
The work to be performed in all sections of an office is not same. Whereas, some sections require more of space, equipment, furniture and personnel, other sections may require less space and personnel. So a good layout is one which provides balanced capacity of space and equipment in different sections of an office.
Factors of Office Layout
The factors to be considered in planning a layout are as follows –
Feasibility – The feasibility study is a useful tool in planning and designing office layout. A feasibility study helps in deciding finest layout among various options. The study evaluates the financial position of the company and the expected growth in the near future. An analysis on the present space available and projection of future space requirements with a comparison on the system and procedure of work flow pattern of the organisation.
Relationship among various departments along with the communication pattern among individuals and groups are scrutinized. On the basis of all the above information, the most appropriate type of layout can be selected.the system and procedure of work flow pattern of the organisation. Relationship among various departments along with the communication pattern among individuals and groups are scrutinized. On the basis of all the above information, the most appropriate type of layout can be selected.
Departmental Relationship – The relationship among different departments depends upon the course of work between them such as cash and accounts departments must be located near one another. Similarly, those departments which are regularly visited by clients and others must be situated near the entry of the office building. Some of the important work areas which deserve special consideration are (i) reception area (ii) conference room (iii) computer room (vi) secretary‘s office (v) mail room and (vi) the records area.
Flow of Work – This is a very vital factor in shaping the efficiency of office layout. It refers to the flow of information either vertically between superiors and subordinates or horizontally between employees of same responsibility. In order to get efficient work flow, the personnel and the equipment‘s should be arranged in such a way that the information flows in a straight line. The path ways should not obstruct the movement of employees and force them to take short cut routes, interfering with other‘s work. The doors and staircases must not hinder the movement of office staff.
Space Requirements – The space required for office staff depends upon such factors as the machinery to perform a work, type of fixtures; nature of work, etc. The size and number of furniture and equipment‘s to be used also affect the layout of an office. Large sized and more number of furniture and equipment‘s demand more space. The development of an Organisation in the future will increase in the number of office staff. The recruitment of additional staff will result in the need for more space which is to be considered while deciding the layout of an office. Keeping in mind the future expansion potential of office accommodation, it is necessary to prepare a space analysis chart indicating the probable need of additional space in future.
Effective Communication – When face to face contact among office staff is significantly involved, it is more suitable to set up such departments close to one another to avoid unnecessary movements from one department to another and thus saves time of office staffs.
Organizing your workspace
Getting organized is the first step towards a cordial office environment. The work space is organized by the maximum utilization of available space according to the duties performed in the office. The similar objective related one job is grouped together. Taking the time to get organized can save your time in the long run as working around bunches can seriously hinder your productivity. Great time managers set up and organize their workspace to cut down on the amount of time needed for each task.
It helps to quickly locate the important documents and will spare you from embarrassment and frustration. Clean and orderly desk can help you deal with one task to another according to the priority. The organized office often denotes and conveys the professionalism of the organisation. It can help you to concentrate on your daily goals and there by fulfilling the long term achievements.
The following are the some of the physical and environmental conditions that should be upholder by the office management.
- Cleanliness – The office should be kept clean and free from dust arising from any other sources.
Ventilation and temperature – Effectual and appropriate provision of ventilation should be made in every office for protecting and maintaining adequate circulation of fresh air and such a temperature that will give reasonable conditions of comfort for the workers.
- Lighting – Each and every corner of the office should be outfitted with provisions for adequate light both natural and artificial.
- Sanitation – Toilets should be hygienic and cleaned several times a day to ensure healthy conditions. Insanitary conditions in an office may affect the health and also the working capacity of the workers.
- Noise – Noise which is a kind of pollution will affect the working condition of an office, disturbing the attention of the workers which may result in errors and delays.
- Heating and Air-conditioning – Healthy humidity is of great importance for the workers from the health point of view. So the rooms should not be too cold and too hot as this will lead to discomfort and damper the efficiency.
Security is defined as the protection against sabotage or espionage. The office security is becoming a key concern for office managers and it‘s becoming a complex problem. The reason for the threat is that more and more offices are going to ‗open offices‘ which are vulnerable to intruders. Moreover, high technology and competition has resulted in growing industrial espionage.
Principles of Security
- Principle of least cost – Like any other activity in the business, the security should also be cost effective. Two types of costs are involved in security. The long term plan cost, which involves the layout planning and installation of permanent security devices. Short term plan which needs only recurring overhead cost to run a security service.
- Principle of simplicity – The plan adopted should be simple. The simplicity is considered in two respects. (i) The employees should be easily trained and awarded about the need for security. (ii)The system should be simple in operation.
- Principle of flexibility – The security system should be flexible. Any change in the security system should be able to be adapted in the security plan layout without much difficulty.
- Principle of adequacy – The security plan should match the security needs of different departments.
- Principle of fast communication – The security system should enable fast and effective communication between the members of the organisation and the security staff.
- Principle of responsibility and supervision – The responsibility for security should be fixed. Who is in charge of what, should be specific. Moreover, there should be provision for round the clock supervision.
Planning the Security
Like every activity in business, security also should be planned. A careful planned security will eliminate the risks. Steps adopted in planning security are:–
- Forming committee – With the office manager or senior executive as its head, a committee is formed. The main purpose of the committee is to evaluate the department wise need of security in the organisation.
- Seeking information and opinion – Department wise information is collected regarding the demand of security.
- Formulating security plan – A security plan shall be formulated according to the information collected.
- Circulating the plan – In order to collect the feedback; the plan is circulated among the departments.
- Formulating the security system – The security system is formulated according to the feedback received.
- Communicating the system – The system is communicated among the persons in organisation who are responsible for the implementation of the security system.
- Recruitment of employees – Security employees are recruited to execute the plan.
Departments of Modern Office Supervision
Supervision can be defined as the process by which an individual directs and controls the work of others. Supervisor.
The fastest growing department in the Modern office supervision is EDP Department. It‘s a part of the entire modern offices. In large sized organisations EDP department is very important as it aids the information to management and different departments within the organisation. But in smaller one it will be a part of the general department.
Electronic Data Processing (EDP) is the use of automatic ways to process business data. Typically, this uses comparatively easy, recurring actions to process large volumes of resembling informations. The most common files used in HR are Payroll and Basic personnel information.
The EDP files are created for other functions and are used for HR purposes. The payroll is important Decision Support System (DSS)which helps the manger for payroll processing.
What Is Office and Its Function?
Office is a unit where relevant records for the purpose of control, planning and efficient management of the organisation are prepared, handled and preserved.
f the office is of a small organisation, the manager or the owner himself will perform and manage the overall functions. But if it is a large organisations office, the manager or the owner alone cannot handle the entire work. So the general manager will delegate some work to his subordinates who will head the different departments.
What Is Office Layout?
ffice layout refers to the arrangement and placing of personnel, equipment and furniture within each department or section of the office with a view to make the best possible utilization of available space.