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Office Procedures


OFFICE PROCEDURES

Office procedure or system can be defined as the sequence of steps or operations in which activities are performed or done. It is concerned with what is done? How, when, where and who does it? Every organization do produce office manual or procedure manual which contain in a summarized form, all the activities or- things in an organization.

CONSENTS OF OFFICE/ PROCEDURE MANUAL

It consists of outline of the organization and duties of each position (no officer names).

The systems or methods used in dealing with the task
The various forms used in the organization
The date of issue and under whose authority it was given
The nature of the  organization and its industrial development up to date
Organizational structure
Instruction on how to use the manual.
BENEFITS OF OFFICE PROCEDURE MANUAL

They promotes effective supervision of work
It helps and becomes handy for the training of new staff
It enhances equitable distribution of work among members of staff
It ensures and promotes good flow of work
It assists workers in reliving themselves
It is useful in  standardizing method of operation among different departments
It can be useful in re-assessing or examination of the system.
PROBLEMS OF OFFICE PROCEDURE MANUAL

The process of its preparation is tedious
The work content is not as static as they are written down
It may become obsolete when major changes have taken place
Office procedure manual is a bit rigid and inflexible since the contents of the manuals cannot be easily altered, changed or amended as the need may arise.
Office procedure  manual  may dampen  or striven workers’ initiatives.
It is expensive to produce and circulate among the personal.
WORK SCHEDULE

This is the determination of a work cycle so that the actual performance is compared with the predetermined starting and completing dates. It is controlled over the time in which the work is done, not over the quality or quantity, though quality control always essential.

STAFF RESPONSIBILITY

It means a state of being responsible or that for which one is responsible. Invariably, it means one is -being answerable, accountable and important. Responsibility means any assignment task, project or programme given to one to carry out or perform for which one is answerable and accountable to the superior or boss. If the assignment is properly done, the official concerned will be commended or rewarded. On the other hand, official concerned may be sanctioned, reprimanded or penalized if the job is poorly or haphazardly done.

STAFF SUPERVISION

This is normally being done by the superior officer or a delegated officer on the job performed by subordinates. It is a mean to oversee, direct superintend or inspect duties carried out, performed or done by junior or subordinate officer. The officer that will supervise must have the following qualities to enhance his work.

Good technical skills
Good leadership skills
Must be able to communicate very well (oral and written)
Must be disciplined
Fairness, equity and justice must be his trademark Ability to make sound decision/judgement Be bold and confidence.
INSTRUCTION

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This is passing of information, direction or command to carryout certain duties or assignments in order to attain set goal, objective or purpose. Instruction are necessary to get -organizational objective on track. The working of organization revolves around giving instructions, carrying out the instructions and giving feedback on instructions given.

Office procedure manual is the main source of instructions being given in organization. Instructions as regard: what to do? How to do it? When to do it and who is to do it? Instructions are official command that necessitate action to be carried out or performed. Instructions flow from superiors to subordinate or among line manager colleagues, supervisor and foremen.

CLERICAL WORK MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL

The types of staff or personnel to be engaged vary with both the size and the nature of the business. It has to do with numbers of personnel to be employed at any given time. There are clerical staff of various grades:

Typists
Confidential secretaries
Personal secretaries/assistants
Office assistants

Clerical Responsibilities

The   clerical   workers   should   be   able   to   know fundamental principles of filing in vogue.
He/she   should  be  able  to  efficiently operate  the telephone in the office and apply all the principles pertaining to it.
He/she should understand the general postal work to include the opening of mails and dispatch the outgoing mails.
He/ she should know how to duplicate materials.
He should be able to keep routine accounts (e.g. imprest).
He/she  should  know  how  to  collate,   staples  file important document as well as routine materials.
He/she oversees stationery stores and typing pool
General clerical staff: The office engage them to carry out simple and less important tasks. They are junior officers < who help the senior staff as may be directed, WASC ‘ holders.

Clerical   supervisors:   They   are   experienced   staff  who assist the manager in the execution of the office duties. They also supervise the activities of the junior staff to ensure that they perform their duties as expected of them OND/equivalent.

Typist: They are trained office worker with typing skills. Some of them are designated as stenographers because they can take shorthand’s dictations, WASC with experiences.

Confidential/private secretaries: They are very useful hands to the heads of unit, section or department in the organization. They are attached to the heads who depend on them for many of their clerical duties. They are senior staff in any organization, they are holders of National Diploma, Higher diploma with sound experiences.

Personal secretaries: They are top flight and well trained secretaries, they are attached to chief executive, senior manager etc. they are so knowledgeable in office that they occupy very indispensable position in offices in this modern day. Holders of Higher diplomas or degree holders.

However, in this modern day office, all categories of clerical officer must be computer literate if they must keep their jobs.

WORK MEASUREMENT

The purpose of work measurement in relation to output control is to establish how long a job should reasonably be expected to take, or alternatively, how many clerks are required to do a job in the time available.

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British standards institute define work measurement as “the application of techniques designed to establish the time for a qualified worker to carry out a specified job at a defined level of performance” Without standards against which to compare the actual performance, it is difficult if not impossible, to judge whether or not four day’s work is being done

It is not an easy task or simple to introduce work measurement in the office as it is in the factory or production unit. Some work is not repetitive and an appropriate unit is not easy to establish. However about fifty percent (50%) or more of the work in the office can be measured with one of the following method (Appleby 1982).

Techniques of Work Measurement

1.        Simple timing: This involves studying a number of average  clerks   doing  repetitive   work  and   setting : standard e.g. 600 lines of typing per day. It involves I the breaking down of the work into its elemental parts and the timing of each element by means of a stopwatch.    .

Key words

Job: The work assigned to a person.
Task: Part of a job that has a starting point and    ending,    and    making    a    substantial contribution to that job or the system of which it forms part.
Operation:  Part of a task which  requires a distinguishable    group    of   movements    e.g. setting up and feeding paper into a typewriter is different from typing operation.
Element:  Part of an operation which is the smallest e.g. picking up a piece of paper.
2.       Recording device: These may be used on machines (e.g. tapometers) which register the number of key depression or taps. Document could be weighed.

3.       Activity     sampling:     This    consist    of    random observation taken periodically and is based upon the law of statistical regularity. It enables the time spent on various activities to be noted. This method may require  a  full  time   observer  to  ensure  adequate recording and can be used to investigate idle time arising from an un-even work flow.

4.       Synthesis:   The   time   for   a job   is   built  up   by accumulating times for elements of the job which have been previously time studied.

5.       Pre-determined motion time system (PMTS):  In this method, elements of an operations are described according to various physical and mental factors and by analyzing a job and dividing it into basic motion. Each motion receivers a time value which is obtained from a table; when these are totaled, the standard time is obtained. By applying standard time, it is possible to construct a synthetic time for a task or unit of output, the number of clerks necessary to handle a given volume of works, after allowing for normal queries, Interruption and special jobs, can be established.

6. Variable factor programming: The emphasis is on using measurement primarily as a psychological rather than a mechanical stimulus to greater productivity. It begins by measuring each activity the worker performs and setting a target for each task. Work can be programmed so that there is smoother flow and idle time is at a minimum. It is good for all form of indirect ancillary work.

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7. Averaging actual performance: Records are kept by the supervisor/manager of the time spent and the units of work produced on successive days over an extended period possibly 2-3 months. Where the work pressure is judged to be low, high or normal, the fact is noted. This will enable the manager/superior to recognize a reasonable output under normal condition. Such standards are best applied to output of group rather than an individual.

Whatever method of measurement is employed, the standard times which result must be adjusted to allow for relaxation and personal needs. For office work, this means adding between 10 – 15% according to pressure of work or job.

Also, allowances must be made for special job, interruption when deciding on number of clerks or number, of hours to be allowed for completing a quantity of work.

STAFF RECORDS

a. Personal staff record: This contains all the records of staff in  the  organization.  They are  very useful index   of   staff   performance   measurement   when dealing with promotion or disciplinary action. The record usually contains:

The     history    of    the     employee     in     the organization, that is, when he joined and the department worked in.
Salary and subsequent increments
Family data and next of kins
Records of sickness and lateness
Promotion, upgrading and disciplinary actions.
Movement from one department to another.
b. Time book: This is a book specially kept in  an organization   to   take   record   of  when   and   how employees come to work on daily basis. Anybody who is usually regular and punctual to work as evidenced in the time book is more likely to perform better than the person who is usually irregular and late to work.

c. Staff movement register: It is used to monitor the movement of workers who already have come to work. It is used to restrict movement of workers who give flimsy excuses or reasons to move in and out of the organization.

Employees tend to reduce the rate of movement in and out of the office since they know their movements are closely monitored and can be used to rate their performance at a future date. Those that have high frequency of movement in and out of the organization tend to perform poorly in contrast to those who do not.


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