An office is a place, a room or a building set aside in an organization where communication, secretarial, accounting, administration and clerical work take place

Functions of an office

  • Receiving and recording information

The office receives information by such means a letters, telephone calls, orders, invoices, face to face conversation and reports. Information may be recorded and stored

  • Distribution of information

This is passing information to the officers concerned for implementation or action.

  • Mailing

It is an office where out-going correspondence and parcels from various departments are processed and dispatched

  • Reproduction of document. done through:-

Carbon copying

It’s a method used to obtain copies using carbon. Convenient when getting a limited number of copies

Advantages of carbon copying

  • Convenient especially where few copies are required
  • Cheap
  • No special training required


  • Not convenient for many copies
  • Copies could be misaligned
  • Poor quality
  • Difficult to produce different colours copies of photographs cannot be reproduced


  • Process of reproducing as copy or as succession of copies from a master copy
  • Used when many copies are to be produced
  • Can be through ink duplicating or spirit duplicating


Ink duplicating

  • Reproducing using ink duplication


  • Cheap when many copies needed
  • Errors can be corrected
  • Permanent copies of good quality
  • Fast
  • Stencil can be stored to be reused


  • Expensive when few copies required
  • Time consuming
  • Only coarse absorbent paper is used hence not suitable for quality copies
  • Separated runs required if two or more colours are needed

Spirit duplicating

  • Method of duplicating where a spirit duplicator is used


  • Economical when fe copies needed
  • Copies can be produced un several colors


  • Not suitable for many copies
  • Copies fade out with time
  • Expensive
  • Photocopying
  • Reproduction of an exact copy of an original document by use of photocopier


  • Cheap if few copies needed
  • Quicker than duplicating or printing
  • No special training need
  • Copies produced of high quality
  • Colored copies also available
  • No need for comparison with original
  • No pollution


  • Expensive for large number of copies
  • Copies fade over time
  • Only selected colour can be copied
  • Convenient hence easily misused
  • Cannot be used without electricity
  • Printing

Method of producing documents using either printing machine or mechanical means. The methods of printing can be classified on the type of printing machines and the type of documents to be produced as follows:-


  • Copies can be produced using a printer attached to a computer information is just fed and the computer id instructed to print


  • High quality copies
  • Different colors can be produced
  • Convenient for many copies
  • No pollution


  • Expensive
  • Trained personnel required
  • Electricity is required to operate

Stencil (screen) printing

  • Method of printing where a screen is used
  • The screen is cut mechanically or by use of machine
  • The method is used to print large and irregular surfaces that cannot be fed in a machine widely in textile industries


  • Cheap
  • Little training required
  • Adaptable
  • Can be used to produce variety of colours


  • Poor quality
  • Mass production is difficult

Offset lithography

Where documents are reproduced using a printing machine. The document to be reproduced is filmed using a camera. Lithography is mainly used for printing documents such as books, files forms, certificates and also to print on plastic, metals and cloth


  • Documents produced are of high quality
  • Appropriate for mass production
  • Different color can be produced


  • Initial and maintenance costs of machines are high
  • Trained manpower is required
  • Pollutes the environment
  • Printing is mainly done on paper which is obtained from trees. This may lead to deforestation


  • Filing is the process of classifying and arranging of documents and records for easy retrival by office staff
  • Information received in an organization is stored mainly in files. This ensures that information/documents are safe, neat and tidy.
  • Filing enables office staff to locate documents which they may need easily, conveniently and quickly.



Characteristics of good filing system

  • Simplicity – Should be simple to understand and operate
  • Compactness- should occupy little space
  • Suitability – Appropriate to the needs of the business
  • Classification – files should be named and numbered to make it easy to keep and retrieve them
  • Elasticity – system should be flexible, that is cater for future changes and expansion
  • Safety – Documents should be safe
  • Economical – Filing system should not be expensive to start and to maintain

Role of filing

  • Documents are protected from loss and damage
  • It aids in office tidiness and efficiency
  • It’s an important aid to memory
  • Ensures information is stored systematically and thus can be retrieved easily

Safeguarding and controlling organizations property

The office formulates systems and policies regarding assets, keeping records of their movement or usage, issuing directives on their use etc.


Communication is the passing of information from one person to another. Communication from within and out of the organization goes through the office.

Office layout

  • Refers to the outlook, arrangement and positioning of furniture and equipment in an office.

Types of office layout \

Open layout

This is a large room where all staff work, but are grouped according to the type of work they do for example as found in many banks.

Advantages of open office layout

  • Easy supervision of workers
  • Construction cost is low because partitions are few
  • Easy location of workers
  • Staff movement is minimized thus saving time on passing communication
  • Workers make good use of office machinery and equipment since close supervision discourages them from misusing them
  • Maintenance cost is low
  • Floor space is saved
  • Its cheap to decorate


  • Disruption from colleagues
  • Senior workers not placed in areas of privacy and it becomes difficult to communicate with juniors
  • Untidy and un-business like appearance
  • Overcrowding, air conditioning, lighting and heating in the room may not ne conducive to all.
  • There is noise from machines

Enclosed office

This office is normally occupied by one person or two usually having their names and designation pinned on the door


  • There is privacy for confidential discussion
  • There is less noise
  • Conducive working environment
  • Confer status on top level status
  • Easier to maintain than open office.

Landscape office layout

  • Similar open office layout but of higher standards in terms of look, furniture and other equipments
  • Senior officers occupy higher platforms for easy supervision of junior officers


  • Promotes team work
  • Promotes sharing of office equipments
  • Easy supervision of workers
  • Low maintenances cost
  • Easy location of workers
  • Discourages absentees of employees
  • Decorations provide attractive and conducive working environment

Office equipment

These are facilities used in an office to make work easier and efficient

Role of office equipment

  • Speed up and simply work that is time and labor saving
  • Enhance neatness and accuracy
  • Ensure security of documents
  • Provides comfortable working environment

The following are some of the office equipment

  • Guillotine – Used for trimming documents to the required shapes
  • Paper punch – To make holes in papers for filing
  • Stapling machine – For pinning papers together
  • Staple remover – To remove pins from paper
  • Folding machine – Folding letters and sealing envelopes
  • Franking machine – For printing postage impression on envelopes
  • Addressing machine – For printing addresses on mail
  • Sorting machine –For sorting letter
  • Letter opener – For opening letters
  • Composite – To fold documents, place them in envelopes and seal the envelope
  • Typewriter – For typing letters, reports
  • Dictating machine – For making short hand dictations and recording information on tapes
  • Paper shredders – Cutting unwanted documents into tiny pieces to avoid them getting into wrong hands
  • Duplicating machine – Reproducing documents from a master copy
  • Telephones – Used to send and receive verbal messages between two people
  • Tele printer – For printing messages which are telexed
  • Facsimile – Used to transmit printed messages such as letters, maps, diagrams and photographs
  • Photocopiers/ Printing machines/ Stencil duplicator – Used to reproduce documents
  • Cash register – Preparing cash receipts
  • Calculating machines – Calculating
  • Computers – for performing complex calculation/ document processing
  • Money counting machines – for counting coins and notes

Advantages of office machines

  • They are labor saving
  • They are much faster and thus save time
  • Accurate
  • Produce presentable output
  • Machines assist in reducing fraud
  • Provides uniformity of output

Disadvantages of office machines

  • Initial cost and maintenance cost is high
  • Breakdown may lead to stoppage of the production process
  • Machine contribute to unemployment
  • Machines may become outdated forcing the organization to acquire new machines
  • Some require trained manpower who may be difficult to recruit, and at times training unskilled staff can be expensive
  • Special stationary and other material may be necessary
  • Carelessness of workers may result into enormous wastage of resources

Office staff

Is a team of employees who work to achieve the organizations goals.may be divided into thre groups namely: managerial, junior and subordinate

Managerial staff

They re involved in formulating, implementing policies and supervising the activities of the organization

Junior staff

Are either skilled or semi skilled.


Unskilled employees who perform non-specialized duties such as cleaning and delivering messages

 Office staff and their duties


  • This is a senior employee in an organization

The duties of a manger are:-

  • Controls all the activities of the organization
  • Responsible for coordinating of all the activities of the organization
  • Responsible for staffing
  • Provision of resources required by the organization
  • Planning the work and the time schedule in an organization

Company secretary

This is senior employee of the organization.


  • Responsible for legal matters of a company
  • Takes down minutes at annual general meetings


A senior officer who deals with all financial matters of the organization


Keeping books of account

Collecting, banking and making payments on behalf of the firm

Making out financial returns to the managing director

Preparing financial reports

Personal secretary

A senior employee usually attached to one senior officer


  • Filing information for the boss
  • Attending meetings and recording minutes
  • Supervising junior secretarial staff
  • Receiving and making telephone calls for the boss
  • Taking dictations from the boss
  • Making travel arrangements for the boss
  • Keeping the petty cash


Junior employee usually in the typing pool


  • Typing information from original documents
  • Filing documents
  • Duplicating
  • Clerk
  • Duties
  • Handling mails
  • Duplicating and operating various office machines
  • Filing and indexing
  • Helps in store keeping or record keeping
  • Ordering, receiving, storing and issuing of stationary

Telephone operator

A junior employee who runs a switchboard

Office messenger

A subordinate employee who performs unskilled office duties such as collecting and delivering mails

Receptionist :Duties

  • Supervision of messengers and porters
  • Receiving and directing visitors to their respective destinations
  • Taking and passing of messages
  • Making, renewing and canceling appointments
  • Keeping a reliable visitors record book

Qualities of office staff

Personal attributes

  • Refers to the general appearance of a person and includes
  • Physical appearance such as respectable style of dressing, moderate hair cuts and styles and use of make-ups
  • Hygiene – they must maintain high level of hygiene, for example, general and body cleanliness
  • Posture – they way of working and sitting
  • Neatness – Personal tidiness and organization of work.

Office etiquette

It may be defined as the prescribed or accepted code of behavior in an office


  • Respect
  • Punctuality
  • Courtesy
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Diplomacy- Ability to convince others tactfully
  • Judgment
  • Initiative

Personal knowledge and skills

  • Knowledge – Refers to the relevant academic and professional qualification that enable a worker to perform their duty effectively
  • Skills – Refers to the capability of the worker to perform his duties accurately and easily

Trends in office management

Refers to the current changes in office management such as computerization.


A computer is an electronic device that is used to process data and information and storing information for future use

Uses of computer

  • Data storage and inventory control
  • It can be used to process accounting transactions and write-ups and update ledger and payroll
  • Keep records of sales to particular customer and enter in any new transactions
  • Computerized filing
  • Used for word processing

Advantages of using computers

  • It economizes on space and material
  • It speeds up operation
  • Its output is presentable
  • It can store a large volume of information
  • Its accurate


  • Leads to unemployment
  • Inhibits innovation
  • Monotony
  • Require one to have a backup system for storage which is an extra expense

Uses of computers in communication

  • Internet

Refers to inter-connection of several computers over a wide area facilitating the flow of information from one place to another.

  • Intranet

Inter-connection of computers within a small geographical location for example different departments in an office

  • Website

A virtual location in the internet where the information can be posted for other parties to access. It can be used to get information

  • Teleconferencing

This is holding a conference through the computer while the participants are in different geographical areas

Advantages of the internet, intranet and websites

  • They are fast
  • Low cost incurred compared to travelling
  • Convenient as you get information at the touch of a button
  • Information can be stored for future reference


  • High initial cost of equipment
  • Maintenance cost is high
  • Users require training which may be expensive
  • Suffers from occasional breakdown for example virus attack
  • Facilities are prone to misuse



  • Define the term an office

An office is a building, room or a place set aside for administrative, communication or clerical work of an organization.

  • Outline the functions of an office
  • Receiving of information in various forms such as calls, personal visits or documents such as letters
  • Recording and sorting of information received.
  • Storing of information for future reference
  • Distribution of information within and outside the organization to the various sections, departments or personnel for necessary action
  • Reproduction or making of copies of document by use of various methods, such as photocopying, duplicating and carbon copying
  • Protecting or safeguarding the organization’s property
  • State the various reprographic techniques that can be carried out in an office
  • Carbon copying
  • Stencil duplication
  • Photocopying
  • Spirit duplicating
  • Ink duplicating
  • Your school would wish to use photocopying as a method of making copies of exams. State the advantages and disadvantages of using this method

Advantages of photocopying.

  • It is a fast method of reprography
  • It is a simple method and require little training of the users
  • One will obtain the exact copies of the original document
  • The method is not expensive if the copies to be made are few
  • It is environmental friendly

              Disadvantages of photocopying

  • The copies that are made fade in the cause of time
  • Photocopying can be costly if the copies being made are many
  • The employees may misuse the method due to its convenience
  • Photocopying machine requires electricity which may be expensive
  • Few colours in a document may be obtained by use of this method
  • State the types of office layout
  • Enclosed office layout
  • Open office layout
  • Landscape office layout
  • Suggest reasons why an organization should use landscape office layout
  • It creates a relaxed atmosphere for the workers
  • It is more attractive and beautiful
  • The image of the organization/firm is enhanced
  • It promotes good working relations and co-operation among the workers
  • Equipment and office facilities may be shared among the employees
  • The flowers or plants used break the monotony of open spaces
  • State ways in which landscape office layout can be created
  • By placing plants/flowers in an office
  • By having paintings of animals or plants on the wall
  • By placing fish aquariums in an office
  • Through shaping of office furniture in form of animals, birds and concrete shapes
  • Creating miniature physical features such as waterfalls and mountains in the office
  • State why you will advice an office manager to use an open office layout instead of an enclosed office layout
  • In an open office layout it is easier to supervise workers than in an enclosed office
  • An open office discourages absenteeism which may be common in an enclosed office
  • It is cheaper to maintain an open office than an enclosed office
  • Equipment, facilities and machines can be shared in an open office which may not be possible in an enclosed office
  • Floor space is saved in an open office than in an enclosed office
  • There is enhanced attraction and framework in open office
  • It is cheaper to light an open office than an enclosed office
  • It is easy to locate employees in an open office
  • State the advantages of enclosed office layout
  • It is ideal for work that is confidential in nature
  • It is more secure than an open office layout
  • The office is ideal where high level of concentration is required
  • It is prestigious for the occupant of such an office as they are recognized
  • The worker is not disrupted by noise or movement of other employees
  • Highlight the disadvantages of an open office layout
  • There is a lot of noise and disruption from other employees
  • Contagious diseases may spread easily among the employees
  • The top ranked workers may feel belittled being placed among other workers
  • It is not very conducive for work that is confidential or secretive in nature
  • Property within the office is not very safe
  • Due to use by many people the office may not be very tidy
  • Outline the factors that have to be taken into consideration when deciding on a type of office layout to use
  • The cost of construction and maintenance
  • The number of staff to be accommodated in the office
  • The climatic condition of the area
  • Government directive if any
  • The nature of work to be carried out in that particular office
  • The nature and rank of staff to be accommodated in that particular office
  • The floor space available for the office
  • The need to maintain a good work flow among the workers
  • State the disadvantages of an enclosed office layout
  • It can encourage absenteeism
  • It is not easy to supervise the employees
  • It is expensive to construct and maintain
  • Facilities and office equipment cannot be shared among the workers
  • Workers can misuse office equipment such as the telephone
  • The office layout takes up more space
  • A lot of time is wasted when moving from one office to another
  • It may promote individualism as some employees are isolated from others
  • Enumerate the factors you will advice Mr.Mwajuma to consider when buying office machines for his company
  • The effect of the machine on the workers

The cost of the machine or equipment

  • The suitability of the machine for the task that is intended for
  • The availability of after sales services provide by the seller
  • Presence of office staff with the skills required to operate the machine
  • One has to consider space or room to keep the machine or equipment
  • The likelihood of the machine being outdated absolute or out of date
  • One has to consider whether that machine can adopt to future changes



  • State the best type of machine one would use to perform the following tasks:
  Functions Type of machine
(a) To create postage impressions on envelopes Franking machine
(b) To fold documents put them in envelope and seal them Composite machine
(c) To destroy sensitive but unwanted documents Paper shredder
(d) To store large volumes of data Computer
(e) To run 300 copies of an exam for students in a school Printing machine
(f) To make exam copies of a certain original document Photocopier
(g) To trim papers to the required sizes Guillotine machine


  • Highlight the disadvantages of using office machine
  • They can be very costly/expensive to buy and operate
  • They occupy space which can be used for other tasks
  • Machines may replace labour causing unemployment
  • Some may require electricity which may be expensive
  • Any breakdown of the machine may delay work
  • The machine may become obsolete(out of date)
  • They are subject to wear and tear(depreciation)
  • Some may require specialized or trained personnel to operate
  • State the three categories of office staff
  • Managerial staff
  • Junior staff
  • Subordinate staff
  • Outline the advantages of using office machines
  • Machines are labour saving and can be cost effective in the long run
  • The output of machines is of good quality
  • They can be used to minimize fraud or theft
  • Machines can be very fast saving on time
  • They can produce uniform work
  • Machines can be very accurate as compared to human labour
  • Some machines can be adapted to multiple task such as a computer
  • Highlight the role played by a good filing system in an organization
  • Filing provides security/safety of documents
  • It facilitates easy retrieval or access of documents
  • Good filing enhances orderliness and tidiness of an office
  • It guarantees confidentiality of information since it cannot get to the wrong hands
  • Good filing promotes good communication
  • Filing guarantees that documents are protected from damage
  • Good filing guarantees good future reference in case the information is required
  • Outline the various categories of office equipment giving examples in each case
  Category Example
(a) Typing office machine (i)Typewriter

(ii)Dictating machine

(b) Mailing office machine (i)Franking machine

(ii)Composite machine

(iii)Folding machine

(c) Communication office machine (i)Telephone


(iii)Cell phone

(d) Duplicating/reprographic machine (i)Photocopier


(iii)Printing machine


  • Distinguish between centralized and decentralized filing system

In centralized system one department is given the responsibility of keeping and managing all the files in the whole organization. This department is referred to as a registry.Decentralised filing

  • State the characteristics of a good office worker with office etiquette
  • Courtesy i.e dealing with people politely
  • Punctuality-keeping time at all times
  • Honesty-telling the truth
  • Co-operation with other employees
  • Tactical or being diplomatic when dealing with others
  • Good judgement and coming up with the best decision
  • Neatness and orderliness in terms of work arrangement
  • Dedication or loyalty towards the organization
  • Highlight personal attributes that Bakari should have as an office worker
  • He should be presentable
  • He should maintain high standard of morality
  • He should have a good sitting posture
  • He should maintain high standards of hygiene
  • He should be neat and accurate in the organization of his work
  • He should maintain good health and physical fitness through having proper diet and exercising
  • Define the roles played by the following office workers

(a)Departmental manager

  • Maintaining the books of accounts
  • He/she may prepare the budget for his/her department
  • Submitting reports to the senior manager about performance of the department
  • Monitoring and supervising workers in the department
  • Assigning roles and duties to employees in the department

(b)Personal secretary

  • Receiving and filing information
  • Booking appointments for the boss
  • Taking and writing minutes during meetings
  • He/she can maintain small amount of money for making small or petty purchases in the office
  • He/she receives and makes calls for his seniors
  • Highlight trends in office management
  • Use of modern computers enhances efficiency
  • Introduction of customer care desks or offices to address customers concerns
  • Movement toward open and landscape office plan to enhance more interaction among the workers
  • Outsourcing for some task that can be done by other firms instead of employing workers to do the same e.g. having external cleaners or security
  • Use of the cell phone for communication
  • E-Commerce is a recent trend in business. Outline the advantages of using this method in carrying out business activities.


  • One can have a wide variety of goods and services from all over the world
  • It reduces the cost of travelling to the market or in search of product
  • It is fast as deals can be made within a short period of time
  • A seller can advertise goods to many consumers over a wide area
  • Paper work and the many document used on other trade are removed or reduced as selling and buying is on-line
  • A lot of information about the market can be accessed on the internet



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