Office - Meaning | Definition | Importance | Functions | Types

Meaning and Definition of Office

Every organization needs a separate place to run its daily activities smoothly. This place is known as the office. In this article, we will cover in-depth information regarding offices.

Without a doubt, every institution, whether public or private, has specific goals. Various activities must be carried out to reach such organizational goals. All of these activities are classified as high-level, mid-level, or low-level. High-level activities include planning, policymaking, directing, controlling, and so on. Filing, record keeping, communicating, and so on are also mid-level and low-level duties. An organization's high-level, mid-level, and low-level tasks are carried out in an office. In simple words, an office is a space where people work to fulfil organizational goals.

In a broad sense, office refers to work done by a person or group rather than a location. It serves as the focal point from which all organizational actions are carried out and controlled to achieve its goals. However, there must be enough office resources to carry out such activities.

According to George R. Terry, "An office is the place where the control mechanism for an enterprise is located, where records are initiated for communication, control and efficient operation of the enterprises."


Importance of Office

The office is critical to attaining corporate goals. The performance of the office has a significant impact on the success of an organization. It is as vital as the heart to humans or the mainspring to a watch. The following are the importance of having an office:

(i) Office as proof of an institution's existence:

Because of its physical shape, the office is strong proof of any institution's presence. It gives an institution identification, whether it is operational or not. It is the only confirmation of the institution's existence, especially in the case of service-providing institutions such as banks and insurance firms.

(ii) Office as a hub for developing and implementing plans and policies:

To fulfil its goals, an institution needs robust methodologies and approaches. Therefore, the relevant individuals and authorities develop vital programs and policies at the office. Furthermore, such procedures and rules are put into operation by the office. As a result, the organizational aim can be met.

(iii) Office as a record centre:

The office develops, collects, and retains records as information sources. It is impossible to remember past and present events without recording them. As a result, the office is crucial as a record centre where data is preserved consistently and promptly obtained when needed.

(iv) Office as a communication hub:

An office is a place where various types of information are communicated. It provides and distributes critical information to multiple departments, staff, and outsiders via letters, circulars, and announcements. In addition, the office must transmit specific mandatory facts to relevant individuals and organizations.

(v) Office as a coordinating center:

Coordination refers to the connection of several personnel and departments. For example, an institution has several workers and divisions. To attain the organizational goal, all teams and departments must work together. The office is vital because it serves as a liaison between all workers, departments, and their operations to achieve a common purpose.

(vi) Office as a public relations center:

An organization is founded and grown in society for the benefit of humanity. As a result, an organization's success depends on social relationships. By delivering and receiving information, advice, services, recommendations, and opinions, the office aids in the development of constructive relationships with customers, the government, suppliers, and other interested parties.

(vii) Office as a control center:

To be qualitative, all organizational actions must be controlled. Therefore, the office provides the necessary information and assists management in managing activities. As a result, the office establishes the benchmark, measures actual performance, and directs them to take corrective steps.

(viii) Office as a service center:

An office is an essential part of any organization. It provides various information and services to ensure the seamless operation of its departments, sections, and branches. The office is vital in this situation since it allows for typing, filing, photocopying, mailing, and supplying stationery and other resources.

Functions of an Office:

The office performs a variety of functions to fulfil organizational goals. An office's operations can be split into standard and administrative parts. Regular functions include information and repetition functions. Administrative functions are similar to regular functions in that they assist the typical duties and ensure the smooth operation of the office.

The following sections outline the standard functions performed by all sorts of offices.

(i) Making plans and policies, as well as putting them into action:

Solid strategies and policies are required to attain the organizational goals. The office develops such programs and policies while keeping available resources in mind and then puts them into action.

(ii) Information collection and recording:

The office is responsible for receiving and collecting information from internal and external sources. Internal data is gathered from different employees and departments inside the same firm. In contrast, external information is gathered from outsiders, customers, and the government. Letters, circulars, notices, reports, inquiries, bills, emails, websites, and phone conversations all contain such information, which the office appropriately records.

(iii) Information arrangement and processing:

Not all information received by an office will be helpful in the future. Hence, the office should process and evaluate data based on its usefulness and arrange it in a usable, intelligible, and logical manner. It filters and avoids irrelevant data.

(iv) Information storage and preservation:

In the future, valuable information should be protected systematically and scientifically. They must be kept in appropriate files. The office stores and keeps such files in filing cabinets or drawers to provide easy access. The office keeps them to offer management and other parties needed information.

(v) Keeping public relations in check:

An organization is born, grows, and lives in society. As a result, it is a social component. As a result, an organization's office maintains cordial relationships with its customers, visitors, creditors, and suppliers. In addition, it conveys a favourable image of the organization to the public.

The office builds and maintains public relations by providing services, manufacturing and delivering items, disseminating diverse information, and receiving and collecting viewpoints, recommendations, advice, and public opinions favourable to the organization.

A particular public relations division is kept for this reason. The organization also appoints a public relations officer and other employees to stay in touch with the general public.

(vi) Recording of Financial transactions:

Several financial transactions occur in the organization daily. The office spends money in a variety of areas and earns money from a variety of sources. All expenses and revenues must be adequately recorded for the future. As a result, the official records all financial transactions following financial rules and regulations. To accomplish this, the organization establishes a distinct account department.

(vii) Personnel function:

Different credentials, experience, and calibre are essential for an organization's efficient and seamless functioning. Thus, one of an office's functions is to recruit and appoint workers at various levels based on their competence and skill. Furthermore, the office develops effective rules for remuneration, promotion, transfer, termination, incentives, rewards, and punishment based on employee performance.

(viii) Acquiring/Purchasing assets:

Various assets such as machinery and equipment, land and buildings, and furniture are essential to run a business smoothly. As a result, the office analyzes the demand and requirements for multiple acquisitions. Then, it purchases them after carefully weighing the costs and benefits.

(ix) Protecting assets and other resources:

All material possessions, whether tangible or intangible, belong to an organization. Therefore, the office should take all necessary and practical measures to preserve and protect all tangible and intangible assets, including deeds, certificates of share and debenture, bonds, and legal ownership of papers. In addition, the office should manage the relevant people's resources, equipment, records, and policies to safeguard such assets from potential dangers, damages, and losses.

(x) Developing and administering office forms:

The office uses a variety of forms, vouchers, and slips to make accurate records. They are primarily employed in the preparation of numerous repeated documents and works. The office must appropriately create the necessary forms following the requirements of an organization that controls the leakage and abuse of materials since they both speed up work and preserve uniformity of information.

Organization of an Office

The type and quantity of work to be done determine how an office is set up. If the office needs to execute many tasks, it will need a lot of staff, tools, and equipment, which will increase the size of the office. Similarly, suppose the office only needs to accomplish a small number of tasks. In that case, it will only require minimal staff, resources, and space. The office is organized as listed below, depending on the goals and significance.

A. Long-Term or Permanent Office

Permanent or long-term offices are set up to operate constantly to provide goods and services. Such workplaces are set up for an enduring amount of time. Permanent or long-term offices include those in the government, such as corporations, departments, and ministries.

B. Short-Term or Temporary Office

Temporary or the government or any private organization sets up short-term offices for a short time. These offices were created to carry out any task, program, or project. They will automatically disintegrate after completing the project's time frame and the scheduled job. Examples of these offices include construction offices and offices for short-term planning.

Structure of an Office

Generally speaking, offices can be divided into different divisions based on ownership, service, profit, and duty. The following discussion covers various office classifications.

A. Government Office:

A government office is any office formed by the government of any nation to provide public utility services, uphold peace, security, and law and order, and build a reliable defense system for the country. Government offices include all ministries, departments, and district-level offices, to name a few. The government creates offices to carry out the duties and responsibilities listed below:

  1. To keep the nation's law and order.
  2. To uphold tranquillity and safety.
  3. To defend the nation against invasion and aggression from inside and outside the borders.
  4. To create and put into effect the rules and regulations.
  5. Setting up a favorable climate for political, social, and economic development.
  6. Establishing and supplying the environment required for the general public's education, health, and supplies.
  7. To improve employment prospects and lessen the issue of unemployment in the country.
  8. To gather money for the government from numerous sources.

B. Business office

A business office is a location created with funding from either the public or private sector to turn a profit by offering products and services. A business office is designed to accomplish the purpose of business endeavors like industrial, commercial, or trading.

The business office is separated into two categories based on ownership and investment: government and private business offices.

a. Government Business Office:

Government Business Offices are businesses the government establishes to make money by selling goods and services to the general public. They are founded with either a government investment that covers the entirety of the investment or one in which the government owns more than 50% of the stock.

The government exerts substantial management and control over these entities, whether it holds a majority stake in them or complete ownership. The government establishes a board to oversee the management of these offices. The board of directors, chairman, and general manager set the direction of the overall operations for these offices. Examples of government business offices are public enterprises.

The features/ characteristics of the government business office are:

  1. The government owns, manages, operates, and controls the business entirely or partially.
  2. Composed of distinct legal entities and exists forever.
  3. Formed to create and offer high-quality goods and services at a lower cost.
  4. Unrestricted for managing finances.
  5. Pursuing a mission of providing services to the general populace.

B. Private Business Office:

This category includes all businesses that are wholly owned, operated, and managed by private persons to make a profit. These businesses reduce their expenses to increase profits. Depending on the business organization, one or more investors may control and administer the offices independently or through their representatives.

Their daily affairs are not under the supervision of the government. They should conduct their operations within the confines of in-force laws and regulations.

Private Business Office characteristics include:

  1. Prompt decision-making.
  2. Use of minimal labor.
  3. Low administrative costs.
  4. The proprietor or board of directors retains the firm's right to operate.

C. Service Motive Office:

Service motive offices are those that are founded to provide a variety of services to society without the goal of profit. These are the offices of non-profit organizations such as social, religious, and charitable groups.

According to the organization's articles of association, such offices are governed and administered by an executive committee composed of its members. Service Motive Offices include the Nepal Red Cross Society, Nepal Scouts, Trusts, Clubs, Nepal Children Organization, and Nepal Blind and Deaf Welfare Society.

These offices relieve people of their troubles and difficulties, especially during times of war, flood, landslide, and earthquake. In addition, they offer various valuable and humanitarian services to the public.

These are some characteristics of the Services Motive Office:

  1. Autonomous management
  2. Manage and control the executive committee formed under the article of the organization amongst the members.
  3. Have a distinct legal entity.
  4. Financial management decisions are made following the organization's resolutions.

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