Effective Office Practice: The Office And Office Staff

Table Of Contents

1. Definition Of Office
2. Things Usually Found In The Office
3. People Who Work In The Office
4. Types Of Office
5. Kinds Of Office
6. Meaning Of Clerical Staff
7. Qualities Of A Clerical Staff
8. Confidentiality Of Office Information

Definition Of Office

By definition, an office is a place in an organization, whether private or public (government), where administrative and clerical functions are carried out. The office is the nerve centre in an organisation which assigns tasks and duties, co-ordinate, supervises and controls other operations. It is the centre for information flow and management.

An office can also be a place where a particular kind of services is carried out. It can also refer to a house or building (an apartment) where members of the public go to for their needs. Example, a lawyers office (chambers), principles office business centre, barbing saloon etc.

An office is generally regarded as a place where white collar job is carried out. Examples, a company, a bank, government institution, like ministry. The location of an office is mainly determined by the nature of business. It is set up for example, a restaurant cannot be located far away from where people live or do business.

The nature of an office also depends on the type of business is carries out. For example, in a school, there is a staff room or a staff rooms which serve as office(s) teachers stay and wait for their lesson periods. The staff room offer some comfort for teachers. It also serve as guard room or point of contact for teachers. In a bank there is a banking hall. The banking hall is an open space with desks, counters for opportunities for customers to transact their business with the bank officials. Both the staff room and banking halls are examples of open office.

An office building is divided into sections, like receptions, office for workers, one or two meeting rooms, toilets, staff room and kitchenette, where workers can have launch or take short break.

Things Usually Found In The Office

The following are things that can be found in the office :

i. Tables
ii. Chairs
iii. Computers
iv. Enlargement photos
v. Books
vi. Book shelves
vii. Ash trays
viii. Photocopy machines
ix. Fax machines
x. Filing cabinet
xi. Telephone
xii. Calculating machines
xiii. Fans
xiv. Stationaries
xv. Stapling machines
xvi. Perforating machine
xvii. Printing machines, etc.

People Who Work In The Office

The following people are associated with office work:

1. Managers
2. Accountant
3. Supervisors
4. Secretaries
5. Typists
6. Cleaners
7. Machine Operators
8. Messengers
9. Drivers
10. Clerks etc

Types Of Office

Office is divided into two type, they are:

1. Small office
2. Large Office

1. Small Office:

A small office can be refer to as an office whose scope of business transaction is small and with few staff ranging between 1-10.

Features Of a Small Office

1. It is small in size

2. It has few staff working in it

3. There is close relationship between employers and workers

4. The scope of business transaction in the small office is usually small

5. One employer may perform various tasks, as the work if clerks, typist, receptionist etc.

Advantages Of Small Office

1. The owner take active part in the running of the business.

2. Little capital is required for take off.

3. The employees are given the opportunity to perform different tasks and works.

4. Workers gain experience and skill that can enable them start their own small scale business.

5. There is easy communication flow from superior officers to the subordinates.

6. Employees gain a lot of experience from exposure to many tasks and schedules.

Disadvantages Of Small Office

1. Insufficient office facilities and working tools like computers, scanners, photocopiers.

2. Worker’s salary is usually small due to scale and nature of the business.

3. Keeping business secret in the small office might be difficult.

4. The death of the owner may lead to the end of the business.

5. There is absence of specialization of functions. Workers perform general purpose functions (i.e one worker can perform many task).

Large Office:

A large office employs tens, and hundreds of workers. It houses many apartments, and departments, with sectionals head and those other them (subordinates). The scope of business transaction in the large office is usually big hence large office is usually associated with big organizations and enterprises. Examples are bank, department stores, manufacturing companies, government ministries, the court and the university etc. Hence, people work according to their areas of specialization.

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Features Of Large Office

1. It is large in size: it could operate in several rooms in a building.

2. It has greater number of employees.

3. The relationship between the employer and the employee is largely formal.

4. There is specialization of function hence in a large office, there is division of labor.

Advantages Of Large Office

1. There is adequate provision of office facilities e.g. computers, photocopiers, telex, air conditioners etc.

2. Different units or departments are created to handle different functions.

3. Funding is more assured and there is higher profitability of business, all things being equal.

4. Employees become specialists due to repeated roles and functions.

5. Employees earn better salary and enjoy better condition of work.

Disadvantages Of Large Office

1. Impersonal relationship exists between employers and employees.

2. Workers’ exposure to other activities are limited or restricted.

3. Effective supervision may be difficult to achieve due to large number of staff.

4. Devotion to duty may be difficult to achieve as it is not easy to supervise and control many staff.

kind Of Offices

Offices can be of the following kinds:

1. Private Or Closed Office: This is an office where each individual worker has his own room or office. In his type of office an individual performs the duty assigned to him e.g. the principal’s office, the accountant’s office etc.

2. Shared Or Open Office: This is an enclosed workspace for two or more people who might has skill in different specialization e.g. the teachers staff room, a banking hall etc.

Meaning Of Clerical Staff

A clerical staff is one who is trained to handle office duties. Such duties include, keeping records, inventory of stock, files etc. He is also know as administrative or a support staff. He is a critical(important) component to the achieving the goal of an organization. That is, he plays active roles toward the success of the organization.

Functions Of A Clerical Staff

1. Assists in keeping accounts and records of the organization or company.

2. Assists in planning meetings.

3. Records minutes of the meetings.

4. One important function of a clerical staff is receiving calls on behalf of other officers in the organization.

5. It is the duty of the clerical staff to keep files of the company and arrange them accordingly, for easy referencing.

6. The clerical staff also keeps the files safe and secure for easy retrieval or reference.

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Qualities Of A Clerical Staff

The qualities of a clerical can be divide into:

1. Job qualities
2. Personal qualities

1. Job Qualities Of A Clerical Staff

a. Education: A clerical Staff should be adequately educated. He/she should possess a minimum of an O level Certificate, Diploma or its equivalent.

b. Experience: A clerical staff should be knowledgeable in the job that she is employed to do e.g. Typing, filing, recording sales, etc.

c. He/she should be capable of working with little supervision.

d. A clerical staff should be punctual to work at all times.

e. He/she must have flair for language of the environment.

f. He/she must show interest in the job and be ready to protect the interest of the organization at all times.

2. Personal Qualities Of Clerical Staff

Besides educational qualification, a clerical staff should possess the following qualities.

a. Should always dress decently, not wearing revealing cloths, or indecent wears.

b. He/she must be cheerful at all times and should attempt people with respect.

c. He/she should be physically fit, without any form of disability which can affect his work. Example, a person with no hands.

d. Honesty is an essential quality of a clerical staff which truthfulness, faithfulness and fairness.

e. Simplicity: He/she much be approachable and receptive to visitors or clients.

Confidentiality Of Office Information

Confidentiality of office information demands that office secrets and operational strategies must be protected by responsible officers of the organisation.

Responsible officers must protect office secrets, until such matters are made public. To leak or let our office secrets can be disastrous or costly to an organisation.
This is because business organisations are in a constant competition with one another. Even within the organization office secret must be kept confidential to avoid of loss to organization profitability or breakdown of efficiency. To achieve confidentiality, the clerical staff must be disciplined, trustworthy and reliable. The clerical staff is more or less the wire of the organisation.

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