In a loose and general sense the term office denotes a place where one has to work on a desk in discharging one’s professional duties. The dictionary meaning of the term office state that it is place where the business is carried on. It is considered as the point where clerical work is performed. Its is the central place where all sorts of clerical work is done to co-ordinate and control the affairs of the entire organisation.
According to Terry “The acts of collecting, processing, storing and distributing information comprise the functions of the office”. The modern writer of office management view the term office in the sense of functions rather than a place. The essential feature of the office is the work itself, not who does it or where it is done. According to Edward Roche “It is a mistake to regard office as a specific place- instead we are forced to conclude that on office exists anywhere, that certain kind of works are performed.’
Office is regarded as an important segment of any organisation because an office is primarily concerned with collection and supply of information. Beside this modern office assumes a lot of other responsibilities which are called the functions of modern office. The functions of a modern office are classified into two broad categories like :
- Basic Functions
- Administered management functions
The basic functions of an office primarily related to information. Since the purpose of office is to provide service of communication and record, the primary functions of an office are receiving, arranging and giving information. The primary fictions are also called as the routine functions of an office. These routine functions are analyzed under the following heading:
(a) Receiving Information
Information pertaining to organisation may be rejected within the organisation or from outside the organisation. The internal sources of information are information received from departments, sections or divisions of the organisation. The external sources of information are creditors, visitors and other organisation. Information are received in the form of letters, orders, invoices, reports and telephone calls.
(b) Recording of Information
Information is recorded so that it can be readily available for reference at the time of need. Because of this reason, the information received are converted into records which are kept for future reference. The records normally kept by business houses are financial accounting records, cost accounting records, orders, progress of work, price lists and hours worked by employees in the organisation.
The information collected from different sources are arranged in proper sequence or order so that they can be readily available and used. The arranged information gives a better value of the information. The best examples of arranging information are: preparing invoices, payrolls, reports and statistical statements.
Office gives information to two sources like internal sources and external sources. The information need by management may be termed as internal source. The information needed by management may be of routine or special nature and is supplied either in written or verbal form. The information supplied to management are orders for materials, invoices, estimates, statements of account and progress reports.
Administrative Management Functions
Besides primary functions the office performs certain other functions called administrative management functions. The functions which are meant to attain operational efficiency or which facilitate the functioning of primary functions are called administrative management functions. The following are some of the examples of administrative management functions:
(a) Management Process –
For efficient and smooth running of office the following management processes are to be given due consideration. The process of management are planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling and motivating.
(b) Designing office system and routine –
Office devise office system and routine which indicate a systematic and planned approach to management problem. Office system denotes a planned approach to the attainment of desired objective. Routine denotes the series of steps developed to perform a a task as per system. These are devised in such a manner to attain the organizational end.
(c) Designing and controlling forms –
Forms serve storehouse of information. As such the duty of the office is to design the forms and get them printed in such a manner that it will reduce the cost of operation. A proper control over design, issue of forms should be made because any deficiency in store management will involve extravagant spending.
(d) Public Relation Functions –
The office maintains cordial relations with the various segments of the office and the outsiders. By maintaining cordial relationship with outsiders, it performs public relation functions. The public relation functions are reception service and liaison services provided by the organisation.
(e) Safeguarding Assets –
The function of office is to safeguard various assets of the enterprise. The office observes the affairs of these assets from the records and warns management regarding any deficiency. The deficiency in stock record and deficiency in the account of doubtful debt are reported to management for necessary action.
(g) Retention of Records –
Office records like letters, invoices, reports and other statistical records are retained for future reference.
(h) Miscellaneous –
Office records like letters, invoices, reports and other statistical records are retained for future reference. It ensures proper control over purchase, issue and control of stationery. It makes selection and purchase office appliances. It performs various personnel functions like recruitment, selection, training, job evaluation and merit rating. It is also helpful in controlling of office thought mechanization and adoption of labour-saving devices.