Functions and Importance of the Office in a Business Organization
What is an office?
An office can be defined as a place, room or building where all the clerical (administrative) duties of an organization or business are performed. Examples of clerical activities that go on in an office include: writing, filing, book-keeping, writing, typing, etc. An office is considered to be the heart of every business or organization considering the fact that the business or organization can’t function properly in the absence of the office.
Functions of Office
There are so many functions of an office. Below are some of the most common functions of an office:
- Receiving visitors: The office is where every visitor or customer visiting the organization or business reports to. The office receives visitors and directs them to where they need to go to or tells them what they need to do. This is the reason why the office of any business should not be difficult to find and should be easily accessible to customers and visitors alike.
- Receiving Information: One of the main functions of an office is to receive information in the forms of letters, emails, telephone calls, reports, memoranda, etc.
- Giving Information: Besides receiving information, an office also provides or gives out information – both internally and externally. The pieces of information that offices give are usually in the following forms: letters, memoranda, reports, circulars etc.
- Recording Information: An office is where all information is recorded. The clerks in the office record information for safe keeping and for records purposes. Examples of the information recorded include financial data, letters, accounts invoices, etc.
- Filing: Filing is a very important thing in every business organization. Filing is the process whereby original records or copies of documents are arranged and stored in an orderly manner so that they can be readily located when required. And it is in the office that filing is done.
- Accounting: All the accounting work such as calculating taxes, total purchases, sales, costs, etc is done in the office.
The importance of the office
Below are the reasons why every business or organization needs to have an office:
- The office is a centre of information. In the office, you’ll find all records of important things such as correspondence, sales, invoices, contracts etc.
- The office acts as a link or connection between the various sections or departments in the organization.
- The office is important because without it would be difficult or even impossible to coordinate the activities of the various departments of the organization.
- The office serves as a link between the organization and the outside world. The office connects the organization with its clients, customers, the Government, etc.
- The office acts as the mouthpiece of the organization, and without the office, it is difficult to create a good image for the organization.
- The office assists all the various departments of the organization in functioning efficiently. Without the office, it would be difficult for the departments to function well.
Since the office is the nerve center of any organization, it goes without saying that operations of the organization will come to a standstill in the absence of the office. This is why offices are extremely important in all businesses and organizations.
Physical conditions of an office
The physical conditions of an office play a very crucial role in determining whether the office workers are productive or not. In order to get the very best out of every office worker, it is imperative that the office have the following conditions:
Good Lighting system
The office should always be well-lit. Experts say that one of the best sources of light during the day is the day light. If the day light is capable of properly lighting the entire office, then by all means it should be used. But if day light is absent or isn’t enough to thoroughly light the office, then artificial light should be provided. A well-lit office is one that doesn’t have light that is too bright or too low.
Provision of Sufficient Ventilation
An office should be well-ventilated. If the office is using an air conditioner, then all the doors and windows of the office should be closed in order to ensure the air conditioner ventilates the office thoroughly. If the office is not air conditioned, then there should be a provision of adequate ventilation through the use of fans and opening the windows for fresh air to enter into the office. A well-ventilated office not only makes office workers feel comfortable enough to put in their best but it is also good for their health.
Office must be noise free
It is obvious that a noisy office will make it difficult for office workers to concentrate on their assigned duties. When workers can’t concentrate on their jobs, then they can’t put in their best and are therefore rendered not very productive. This is the reason why an office should not be located at a noisy place. Even if it is located in a noisy area, efforts must be made to prevent the outside noise from penetrating into the office. A soundproof can be used to reduce the amount of outside noise that gets into the office.
Overcrowding should be avoided
An overcrowded office helps no one. It not only makes it difficult for workers to work comfortably but it also makes them unproductive. Besides these, it can also have a negative effect on the health of the office workers. For example, an office worker with a contagious disease who finds himself in a crowded office can easily infect everyone in the office with his disease. An office should contain a reasonable number of office workers in a way that each clerk has a working space that is big enough for him or her to work comfortably. An office that is not overcrowded doesn’t hinder movement of staff from one place to another. Neither does it obstruct the free flow of work. At the end of the day, workers end up being more productive in an office that has an optimum population of workers.
Office should be clean and organized
The office should always be kept clean and neat. And also, all the furniture, machinery, equipment, etc in the office should be arranged in an orderly fashion to ensure free flow of work. An untidy and disorganized office not only gives the business organization a bad public image but it also doesn’t make workers very productive.
A well planned office should meet all the conditions above. A well-planned office is very important for the success of the organization since it helps in a significant way in improving the efficiency of work and brings greater output from workers.
Types of office
An office can be divided into two major types. These are: Open plan offices and the closed/partitioned offices.
Open plan office
Another name for an open plan office is a general office. In an open plan office, several employees work together in one large office room. Here, each worker is seen by his or her colleague while work goes on. This is why it is called the open plan office.
This is the exact opposite of the open plan office. Another name for the closed/partitioned office is the private office. As the name implies, this type of office is the type where workers have small offices of their own, totally separate from one another’s.
Differences between open plan office and closed/partitioned office
Open Plan Office
There is always a better and easier work flow here.
The flow of work isn’t very easy.
It allows for more a better and a more effective supervision.
It is more difficult supervising workers when they are in their own private offices.
Workers can easily communicate among themselves.
It is more difficult for workers to communicate among themselves here.
Individual needs cannot be met. For example, a worker might prefer not to use the fan because he is feeling cold, while another worker might wish to work under the fan.
Here, a worker can decide for himself which environmental condition he or she feels comfortable working in. The worker can decide to use the fan or not without disturbing anybody.
This type of office is more economical to construct.
Constructing this type of office can be expensive considering the fact that separate office facilities have to be provided for each office.
There is no much privacy.
Because of the nature of this type of office, privacy is guaranteed.
Workers can easily get distracted.
It is not that easy for a worker to be distracted when working in a private office since less noise and distraction are produced here.
It is not very good for the health. An example is the case of a worker suffering from a contagious disease.
It is better for the health of workers than open planned office.
Readers should note that there is another type of office called the landscape office. This office came about as a result of the advancement in business. This type of office is a mixture between the open and closed office. An example of a landscape office is a banking hall where each cashier or teller’s desk is separated from another’s with low screens or cupboards. Here, although they all the workers work in one single large hall, the low barriers between their desks provide some sort of privacy for each worker.