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  Office Management  

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AID TO MANAGEMENT PLANNING AND CONTROL
 

Measurement of work, as we have seen, involves devising of standard units of measurement and setting up of standard output in a standard time for each type of work. The time standards for different type of work established through work measurement, helps management not only in assessing current results actually achieved and controlling them through corrective actions but also in planning future needs.

DECENTRALIZATION OF AUTHORITY
 

The term 'decentralization' has a number of meanings. But it connection with administration, it may refer to (i) departmentalizing activities, or (ii) dispersal of the location of activities, or (iii) decentralization of authority for decision-making. However, we are concerned here mainly with decentralization of authority for decision-making, the authority to plan. In this sense, decentralization means dispersal of authority and the power of decision making to lower of organisation.

Decentralization in some form is present in every organisational structure where there is delegation of authority. Since delegation is an essential process of organisation, it may be said that some degree of decentralisation of authority is to be found in all organisational structures. By that we should not consider decentralisation and delegation is identical concepts. Delegation of authority means delegation of the power to issue instructions to subordinate for performance of assigned work. Some degree of power of decision-making may or may not go with the same. But it is essentially a process confined between one individual and another and may not extend over all functions and to all levels of authority. If delegation is practiced systematically in all function and divisions of the company and for a wide range of authorities and responsibilities, we should say the company is highly decentralized.

Again, decentralization of authority should not be confused with physical decentralization or dispersal of location of activities. Physical decentralization may or may not be decentralization of authority. In fact the two may move in the opposite direction. There may be greater decentralization of authority with a high degree of centralization of activities or vice versa. Decentralization of authority is more likely to be found in widely dispersed operations.

Some degree of decentralization is present in all organisational structures. The degree of decentralization may vary in different concerns. The opposite of decentralization, that is absolute centralization of authority in the hands of top management, is rarely seen. In fact neither complete decentralization nor absolute centralisation is possible to achieve in any organisational structure. An admixture of the two in varying proportions is more feasible and practical. When the structure leans more towards centralization it is called centralized structure, and when it leans the other way it is called a decentralized structure.

INTRODUCTION
 

Office Management is that part of the management process which deals with communicating and recording activities in an organisation. But this dealing with communication and records does not suggest the actual assignment of all such activities to the office manager. All managers, whether engaged in sales, production, finance, personnel or in any other work require the help of communicating and recording activities for getting their work accomplished through efforts of their own people. I tis preposterous to think that the office manager assumes all communicating and recording activities, particularly correspondence, typing and filing, on behalf of managers in other areas of the business. What then, is the role of the office manger ? Office work is a service function as opposed to the basic operating function in most of the manufacturing and trading concerns and has no end in itself. The office manger, being a staff executive, has no right of command and control over the

people of other departments who carry out their office or clerical activities in their own spheres. As the usual function of a staff manager is vested with functional authority, the office manager confines his activities of giving necessary advice and service to other managers throughout the organisation.

The introduction of separate office manager in the organisation is justified by the fact that office work is a specialist function requiring expert knowledge and technical skill on this facet of the operation. Since office work is largely paper work entailing numerous forms, documents and memorandas, the design and format of such paper are vital for successful communication and records in different segments of the enterprise. Effective communication must encompass four essential C's in them-clear, correct, complete and concise. For economy and efficiency reasons, all communication devices are to be designed with an eye to these four attributes of communication. Besides the generalized form of correspondence, communication includes a lot of other forms and documents alike invoices, delivery notes, shipping advices, bills, purchase orders, tenders, quotations, requisition slip, route cards, cost sheets, budgets, collection memo and cash receipts, employees' service records, and analysis sheets of different types. In addition managerial decisions in the form of policies, procedures, orders, instructions or rules are conveyed through written communication. The office manger has to give advice on the wrong format and design of communicating instruments.

Apart from this advisory function, the office manger has to discharge a service in the organisation. There are certain office activities that tend to serve the requirements of all departments to an equal extent. Such common groups of activities goes by the name of “general office services” Obviously, the work of general office services falls under the jurisdiction of the office manager. Such activities can neither be assigned to other managers not they cab be divided among departments of the business. Integration of those activities is essential for purposes of economy, efficiency and promptness in many cases. The nature of these general office service can be explained by taking some illustrations. First, telephone, postal and messenger services are necessary on the part of all departments for conveying information both internally and externally. It would be a sheer waste of money in arranging these services on the basis of individual departments. All incoming and outgoing communications are channelled to their other destinations by the office manager. Secondly, purchasing and storekeeping of stationery articles for all sectional offices are best performed when they are centralized under the control of the office manger or any other individual manger. Accordingly, the supply of stationery stores and office forms is included on the list of general office services Thirdly, facilities of costly mechanical equipments are better utilized under a system of central services. Unless these office machines can be used to their full capacity in individual departments, such equipments, have to be placed under the charge of the office manager for providing common services to all the department. Fourthly, the work of typing, shorthand-typing and filing is centralized in those cases where the work load in individual department is not sufficient for keeping the copy-typist, hand-typing or filing clerks busy through-out the office hours. Although better results are obtained from the distribution of these services to the operating departments, yet the cost of idle time prevents the adoption of such a course. Even when these services are centralized, some amount of typing and filing work particularly for confidential mater, is obtained by senior mangers at the departmental level. To this group of activities, letter drafting is added in some trading and service concerns which require some generalized correspondence on the part of individual departments. Lastly, selection acquisition and maintenance of office furniture, and arrangement for working accommodation come under the group of general office services.

Office activities of communicating and recording assume a large proportion of the total work in enterprises like insurance, banking, building societies or export-import agency houses. In non-business enterprises like government departments, local authorities or universities, office activities become still more important, and virtually all the operations are performed through recording and communicating work on paper. Industrial enterprises too are finding the increasing importance of office activities day by day because of the requirement of public relations. Public relations had appeared now-a-days as a vital contributory to the success and credit standing of an enterprises, and it calls for maintaining relations with the government, the community as well as with the customers. Customers relations become a part of the sale work and is included under sales management. But public relations with t government and community goes beyond the submission of periodical reports and returns on financial, personnel or other aspects of the business, as required by the regulatory measures of the government. Numerous facts, figures and statics pertaining to the whole business are required to be supplied for justifying the position of the enterprise for influencing the public. Because of their generalized charter these activities are assigned to the office manger in many enterprises.

Irrespective of the volume and nature of activities, office work is amendable to the management process in the same way. All the four management functions of planning, organising, directing and controlling apply with equal validity in every case. As already pointed out, total office activities are classified into two major groups : (1) Sectional offices required on the part of every operating department like sales, production, finance, personnel, etc. : and (2) the office for general services required for the whole organization. The work of office management involves not only advisory function with respect to the affairs of sectional offices but discharges services function also in rendering general assistance to all such sectional offices. That is, the office manger is a still executive with functional authority in regard to sectional offices. But the office manager is a line executive or a controller in respect of the office for general services and can exercises direct authority and control over these personnels. Consequently, the directing function of office management is of limited character and is supported by the device and service of personnel manager in the same way as it is done for other areas of the business.

More Notes on  INTRODUCTION 
OFFICE COST REDUCTION & COST SAVING
 

Office work does not bring any income directly. But it would be wrong to consider office expenses as unproductive expenses. For services rendered by the office to various other department result in better performance of work in all operations from which income is derived; similarly, services rendered by the office to customers and public relations established through the office go a long way in creating goodwill among the public and securing their patronage. This is of course true as far as the value of office service is concerned. But this value cannot be measured precisely in monetary or physical units. Therefore many office managers are necessary and justified. This again is a wrong attitude. It should be obvious that whatever expenses are incurred in providing the various services by the office must have some positive relation with the benefits and returns which flow from them. Since the benefits derived from office services cannot b measured in quantitative terms, the amount of office expenses incurred by any organisation cab b justified only by means of constant endeavours to keep down those expenses, saving and reducing office costs, and avoiding wast and extravagance of all kinds.

Cost saving or cost reduction does not imply spending as little as possible. That would be parsimony or miserliness. The office manager with cost saving propensity will not hesitate to spend any amount provided the resulting benefits are adequate. At the same time he will decline to spend even a small amount if it does not serve any worthwhile purpose.

OFFICE SUPERVISORS
 

A supervisor is one who carries out lower level responsibilities for higher-lever management and has direct control over personnel. Thus, any individual who gets work done through subordinate clerical staff in an office and has direct control over them may be called office supervisor'. The exact scope of a supervisor's responsibility depends upon his position in the hierarchy of management. In fact, it is possible to distinguish between several degrees or levels of supervision. The first line supervisor is one who is directly incharge of the operating employees; the second-line supervisor has under him one or more first-line supervisors, and so on. In this sense, the office manager may be regarded as a top-level supervisor. In a small office, the manager is also the first-line supervisor, while in a large office he may be the second or third-line supervisor in a large office Superintendents and assistant superintendents of government office are incharge of sections in a department. They are called section officers. Besides supervising the work of the staff in is section, a section officer is also responsible for the primary handling of important cases.

More Notes on  OFFICE SUPERVISORS 
PROCESSES OF OFFICE MANAGEMENT
 

The work of the office, like any other functional department, may be broadly grouped under three areas of responsibility (a) planning ; (b) organising, and (c) controlling. However, in the application of these basic management processes, office management plays a dual role. On the one hand, it has to provide for the clerical service which will help general and departmental management to carry out the basic processes in their respective fields. On the other hand, the office manger has to carry out these processes with regard to the management of the office activities themselves.

SECURING OFFICE BUILDING OR SPACE
 

Closely associated with the problem of choosing the right location is the problem of securing proper and suitable building or space for the office. The office building should not only be located at a suitable site, it should also be of the proper size and shape and its design and arrangement should be such as to adequately serve the particular requirements of the enterprise. Since it is difficult to secure building or office space which is exactly suited to the requirements, the management must first decide whether it should buy or construct its own office building or should get it on rent or lease.

Planning of Office Work
Like others office work is required to be planed by the determination of objectives, policies, procedures and methods.   Read Full Article Planning of Office Work
Office Policies
Policies determine the shape of things pertaining to office activities and provide a broad guide to the course of future operation.   Read Full Article Office Policies
Office Procedures and Methods
Procedures and methods have no substitute for effective performance of office work. Much of the planning work pertaining to office activities rotates around these procedures and methods.   Read Full Article Office Procedures and Methods
Organisation of office works
Office activities are to be organized on the basis of individual needs and circumstances. The total office work falls under two major groups, viz. general office services and sectional office activities.   Read Full Article Organisation of office works
Principles of Organisation
As a tool of management, organisation is expected to facilitate the attainment of the principal objectives of the enterprise for which it is meant.  Read Full Article Principles of Organisation
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