INTRODUCTION The office should be established at such a place where customers can reachwithout any inconvenience. As far as possible, the central part of the city is an idealplace for office location. As the success of any business concern depends upon thelocation of its office, the Office Manger is required to study the following: 1. Location of an office 2. Office Building 3. Office Layout 4. Office Environment 5. Office Furniture I. LOCATION OF AN OFFICE Where to Locate Office a. Urban Location – includes towns, cities of a region. Even areas of taluks and municipalities can be termed as urban location. Advantages of Urban Location 1. Easy contact with others offices - It easy to contact government and other offices in the same area and therein developing business is possible. The important offices include Income Tax Offices, Sales Tax Office, and Corporation Office Registrar of companies. 2. Increased image – The office can enhance its image because it is in central area. 3. Easy access – It will be more convenient for the customers to approach office without any difficulty. 4. Transport facilities – The office can avail of transport facilities very easily. Loading, unloading of luggages and dispatch of goods to various places becomes easy at a comparatively cheaper rate. 5. Banking, post office and other facilities – Normally, Banks, Postal and Telegraph department, Insurance companies choose urban area for providing letter services to customers. Hence these facilities can be easily availed by offices located in urban areas. 6. Recreational facilities – Recreational facilities are mostly available in urban areas only. 7. Other amenities – Amenities like water supply, prompt communication, electricity, power, skilled labourers are available more in urban area. 8. Employees preference – There is a general tendency among the staff to prefer to work in a city.
Disadvantages of Urban Location 1. Overcrowding and congestion – Urban centres are over crowded and congested with all their bad consequences. 2. Difficulty to expand business – Expansion facilities are limited on account of increased rent, unavailability of building in the nearby office. 3. Higher cost – Not only square feet rate is high in cities, but also they have to pay more rent and more taxes to corporations. 4. Demand for more pay – With higher cost of living, the staff may demand higher wages resulting in increased expenditure to the office. 5. Polluted atmosphere – Urban centres are always known for their pollution and unhygienic environment which would affect the health of employees in the long run. b. Sub-urban Location Advantages of Sub-urban Location 1. Payment of lower rent for the office occupied 2. Payment of lower HRA/CCA/DA to employees 3. Further expansion and modernization of office possible 4. Less traffic and less over crowding 5. Proximity to transport routes Disadvantages of Sub-urban Location 1. Inadequate service facilities such as banks, post and telegraph offices, railway stations, markets 2. Inadequate transport facilities – airport/port/railways 3. Lack of communication facilitiesFACTORS INFLUENCING LOCATION 1. Convenience to customers – The office should be located near roadside, station and bus stand. 2. Transportation facilities – Office should be located at place where customers can easily commute. 3. Safety and climate – Office should be located at a place which is quite safe, in other words, there should not be any fear of theft, etc. 4. Postal, telegraphic and banking facilities – Office should be located in a place where postal, telegraphic and banking facilities are available. 5. Availability of sufficient space –The place selected for locating office should have sufficient accommodation not only for the present needs but also for future expansion also.
6. Need of the business – The place selected for locating office should be according to the need of business.II. OFFICE BUILDING Structure of Office Building The structure of office building also affects the office environment. If the office building restricts the entrance of light, air, etc. then the office environment will not be healthy. Advantages of own building 1. It represents a wise investment decision, especially, where part of the building is rented on good terms. 2. It lends prestige to the organization and enhances its credit worthiness besides improving its image in the eyes of the customers. 3. As permanency is assured, the address need not be changed again and again due to growing needs of the business, since the design of own building takes care of the future needs. 4. The building can be planned on the basis of present and possible future needs. Drawbacks of own building 1. Ownership of building also presents other problems to the management, like payment of taxes and settlement of disputes with tenants, if part of it is rented. 2. Own building may require huge investment which may not be within the easy reach of small or medium-sized business. 3. High costs of maintenance may also prove too much for a small or medium-sized business. Advantages of leased bulding 1. Maintenance responsibility – The management is not burdened with the responsibility of its maintenance. It also becomes free from problems like payment of taxes and settlement of disputes with tenants. 2. No investment decision responsibility – The managerial decision about investment in building and its benefit and monetary return has not to be taken. This saves the management from possible bad judgement and its consequences. 3. Ease in location change – Change in location of the office can be affected with great ease. Whenever the office location needs a change, another building in some other better location can be taken on lease.
Limitations of leased building 1. High rents – Rents are generally very high for urban locations 2. Wastage of space – Since the building is not constructed on the basis of the layout plan of the organization, some area may go waste in the process of layout. 3. Not need-based – Leased building is normally not constructed on the basis of the needs of the lessee. 4. Frequent shift – Leased building does not lead to permanence of address.III. OFFICE LAYOUT Checklist for accommodation requirements 1. Location Proximity to bus/railway station. Proximity to car park. Convenience for customers/clients. Convenience for staff. Proximity to banks/post office. 2. Site Size Grounds/gardens Space for car park Access for goods delivery Availability of services 3. Building Size Number of staff to be accommodated. Likely expansion of staff over the next three/five years. Ground floor space required for heavy machinery, computers etc. Weight carrying; capacity of the floors if large quantities of records are to be kept or if it is necessary to have machinery upstairs. 4. Physical factors Natural lighting required Heating Ventilation Decoration Noise
Principles of Layout 1. Work should flow continuously forward, as nearly as possible in a straight line. 2. Departments that have similar functions or frequent contact with each other should be located near one another to reduce travel time. 3. Central service groups, such as stenographic pools, should be conveniently located near the employees and departments who use them. 4. Furniture and equipment should be arranged in a straight line, with any angular placement of desks and chairs reserved for supervisory personnel. 5. Space allowances should be adequate for work needs and employee comfort. 6. Furniture and equipment of uniform size make for greater flexibility and more uniform appearance. 7. All employees should face in the same direction, with supervisors placed to the rear of work groups. 8. Desks should be arranged so that no employee is compelled to face an objectionable light source. Illumination should strike the employee’s work area from above and slightly behind the employee. 9. Units that utilize noisy equipment, such as data processing or telex machines should be located in separate rooms to avoid disturbing other work groups. 10. Work groups that have frequent contact with the public should be located in an easily accessible place. 11. Large, Rectangular blocks of space facilitate work flow and provide greater flexibility. 12. Departments in which work is necessarily untidy should be kept away from public view. 13. Suitable light and air conditioning for all employees should be provided. 14. Necessary private offices should be located where they are least interfered. 15. Personnel and equipment needs, both present and future, should be considered when determining space requirements and layout. 16. Water fountains, bulletin boards, and vending machines should be placed where they will cause the least congestion or distraction. 17. Rest rooms and lounge areas should be conveniently located.Procedure for effective layout for the office 1. Office Manager should become familiar with general organizational arrangements. This involves study of the organization chart to determine reporting relationships and it involves study of existing layout arrangements. 2. He should analyze the principal procedures and work flows.
3. He should discuss with each supervisor or department head their needs for space, the direction and plan of work flow for all operations in the office. 4. The blue print referred should be prepared and a scale drawing of the space under consideration should be prepared, showing the location of such items as windows, doors and columns. 5. A tentative plan of office layout should be presented by arranging cut outs or models on the scale drawing or by penciling in with a template the location of various items of furniture and equipment. It may take a considerable amount of ingenuity and time to arrange and rearrange the layout till the best plan is found. 6. The proposed plan should be presented to those supervisors and department heads concerned and solicit their opinions and suggestions for improvements. The plan should be rearranged the plan as necessary, to incorporate these suggestions. The final layout plan should be presented and explained to the employees. 7. All items of furniture and equipments on the layout plan should be identified.Office Layout – Recent Trends 1. Landscaped offices Landscaped offices look pleasant and attractive. A landscaped office is an open office that the arrangement of straight lines of desks divided by straight gangways. Landscaped offices are well suited to the requirements of technical specialists, management information services, etc. 2. Movable partitions Used in establishing private offices. Movable partitions of ceiling, partial or counter height made up of metal, wood, glass or plastic materials are used to segregate private office areas. The movable partitions may be of varied types as outlined below: Ceiling high partitions Half partitions up to the height of door Folding partitions up to the ceiling Counter high partitions that segregate general office from the private office. 3. Modular units They occupy less floor space, enhance work efficiency by eliminating unnecessary motions. The most popular type of modular desk id the L-pattern desk unit with a flat surface. Modular desk units are composed of different furniture units, writing table, machine desk, etc. that are joined together to form a single unit.
Open Office and Private Office a. Open Office – refers to a large room where all the departments man and equipments are housed under a single roof without partitions or walls separating them. Advantages of Open Office 1. Better space utilization is possible, because space has not been lost by partitions. 2. The section heads or supervisors feel easy to watch the office. It is also possible to reduce the number of supervisors. 3. The layout of the office can be altered or changed without any expense. 4. There is more economy in arrangement of light. 5. Easy communication from department to department is possible. Disadvantages of Open Office 1. Work will be affected by visitors and movement of the staff themselves. 2. There will be internal noise, because of the conversation in the office by staff themselves or visitors. 3. Infections and disease may spread quickly. 4. A big hall may not be efficiently supervised. 5. The office will appear to be a crowd place. 6. Secrecy cannot be maintained. 7. Top executives may not feel comfortable in the open office. b. Private Office – are small rooms occupied by departments. Advantages of Private Office 1. There is increase in efficiency on account of absence of noise. 2. Confidentiality can be maintained as greater privacy is possible. 3. It promotes personal atmosphere. 4. It adds value and prestige to the individuals. Disadvantages of Private Office 1. Lot space is wasted for partitions. 2. It affects the flow of work. 3. More supervisors are needed to watch the work done in office. Thus supervision becomes more separate offices. 4. It is more expensive to build separate offices. 5. There will be more expenses to provide adequate light. 6. Cleaning of the office becomes a tedious work. 7. The office layout will be a complicated one. 8. More expensive furniture arrangement is needed that the open office or general office.
9. Extra means of communication is needed for each room. 10. Assistants, messengers have to waste time to see whether the concerned man is there or not in the private room.IV. OFFICE ENVIRONMENT By office environment we mean “Working Environment”. The environment, in which the office employee performs office services is known as office environment. Office environment includes: 1. Working place 2. Working condition 3. Working hours 4. Working equipments 5. Training facilities 6. Incentive payment system etc. Advantages of a good office environment to the employees 1. Ease in work 2. Simplicity in work 3. Improvement in mental and physical fitness Advantages of a good office environment to the concern 1. Increase in production 2. Increase in profits 3. Increase in efficiency 4. Improvement in employee relations 5. Reduction in employees turnover 6. Reduction in employees absenteeism 7. Increase in the goodwill Physical Conditions A. Lighting The most important physical conditions in the office is lighting. The lighting should be suited to the requirements of every individual office. The requirements vary according to the size of the office, the height of the ceiling, the type of work being performed there, the number of people in the office, and the positions of desks, machines etc. The following general principles are applicable to all offices. 1. The light must be sufficient for the work but not too strong, otherwise glare will result. 2. There should be no dark shadows cast. 3. The lighting system should be efficient, i.e. the required lighting should be given at the minimum cost. 4. The light fittings should be made sturdy and of good appearance when both lit and unlit. 5. It should be possible to vary the amount of light as required.
6. The walls should be decorated in light shades in order to gain the maximum light reflection. 7. Furniture with light finishes should be chosen, with the desk tops having a similar finish to avoid too great a contrast when papers are laid on them. 8. To avoid glare, light should be suitably shaded or diffused so that an angle of at least forty five degrees is created between the worker’s eyes and the lights. 9. Desks should have matt, not polished or glossy surfaces, and glossy cards and paper should not be used.Good quality light Good quality light is relatively free from glare and diffused evenlyabout the seeing area. Brightness should be fairly uniform rather thanvarying greatly from one portion of office to another. Shadows have to beminimized, though it is not possible to eliminate them in total.Types of Glare1. Direct glare – it is produced by a sharply contrasting light source within the field of vision.2. Reflected glare – it occurs when light strikes a bright or polished surface.Sources of light1. Incandescent light are cheaper to install and maintain. Incensed lights with tungsten filaments have been the main source of light in most offices and homes until recently. As they give less intense light and consume more electricity, they are placed by fluorescent lighting.2. Fluorescent light produce less glare and generate less heat. They consume less electricity. Fluorescent tube light consists of a translucent glass tube filled with fluorescent provider that becomes activated.Normal lighting The office must try to use natural light or day light. Large windows,adequate number of skylights, bright colouring of walls and the ceiling maybe used to get the maximum advantage of natural light. Provisions shouldbe made to prevent direct sunlight falling upon the surface. Light shouldcome from behind the left shoulder of an employee. Natural lighting is notonly economical but also healthy.Artificial lighting The cost of installation and maintenance of artificial light is high.The natural light may be supplemented with the artificial light is high. Thenatural light may be supplemented with the artificial light. Artificiallighting is used where the rooms do not allow natural light to penetrate in
adequate quantity. However, artificial lighting is not healthy and strains theeyes of employees.Types of Artificial Lighting1. Direct lighting – the light is focused on the object of work or table with the assistance of an opaque shade which directs all the light downwards. It enhances the intensity of light.2. Semi-direct – the light source is fitted with transparent or translucent shade. The advantage of this lighting is that hard shadows and glare are eliminated.3. Indirect lighting – it is suitable for general illumination of rooms, corridors etc., but not suitable for clerical work.4. Semi-indirect – this type combines some of the advantages of direct and indirect lighting. This type of lighting a transparent or translucent shade is used instead of an opaque shade.5. General – the light rays are equally distributed in all directions.Benefits of good lighting1. Increased output – A change from poor lighting conditions to good is almost certain to result in some increase in the rate of work output.2. Better quality of work – The quality of work in an office can be improved appreciably by bringing light up to accepted standards. When light is not good, errors are more frequent due to eye strain or fatigue.3. Reduction of fatigue – Working in the office under poor light fir prolonged periods causes eyestrain and may cause eyesight defects to develop or to be aggrevated.4. Better employee morale – Good lighting and good use of colour will do much towards creating pleasant work atmosphere which improves the morale of the office employees. B. Ventilation Ventilation refers to supply of free air at the right temperature and of right humidity. Ventilation is one of the most common office problems; draughts can cause more strong feeling than any other aspect of the environment. The requirements of good ventilation are that there should be a constant flow of fresh air to remove staleness without causing draught. C. Colour Conditioning Colours convey feelings. Different colour combinations not only add to the appearance of a room, but also has a psychological effect on the people who are working in it.
Bright and cheerful colours have a cheering effect on them resulting in more and better work. Soft, cool colours are the most suitable for offices Colour can also be used to provide some degree of individuality; each section, department or entire floor of an office can be given its own colour scheme.D. Air-Conditioning Air-conditioning is usually the most suitable form of ventilation. It contributes to mental activity and boost the efficiency of employees. It is a costly system, but it eliminates the problems of cleanliness, heat, ventilation, humidity and noise, etc. Air-conditioning system controls the circulation, temperature and humidity of air and removes foreign substances of an enclosed area. The great benefit of air-conditioning is that it keeps the temperature at a uniform level all throughout the year. Air-conditioning systems fall into two categories – package and central. Central systems serve the entire building while Package units are commonly used in small offices. Air-conditioning offers the following advantages: 1. It helps to protect the product or equipment in the plan. 2. It helps safeguard their health. 3. It helps to keep production costs low. 4. It helps maintain employees’ efficiency.E. Reduction of Noise Noise affects the efficiency of the average office worker. Clerks may be unconscious of the noise, but they cannot get away from its effects. Noise may be either internal or external depending upon the area from which it is generated. Internal noise created by: 1. Movements of machines. 2. Movements and conversation of clerks, peons, visitors, etc. 3. Cracking doors. 4. Calling bells, telephone bells. 5. Shifting of furniture from one place to another. External noise is created by: 1. Street sound 2. Noise from moving vehicles 3. Noise due to the opening and closing of doors and windows.
Control of noise 1. Office can be located in a quiet place. 2. Sound absorbing materials for office floors, ceiling and walls can be used. 3. Doors can be fitted with door closers and rubber lining or with hydraulic controls. 4. From the main office, telephone switch boards should be housed far away.F. Cleanliness It is the office manager’s task to see that the offices are kept clean, the cleaners employed are properly supervised and that they are provided with adequate equipment.G. Safety Provisions 1. Sanitary requirements 2. Over-crowding 3. Drinking water 4. Spittoons 5. Toilets 6. Canteen 7. Rest rooms The Office Manager should make safety provision in the office. The reason is that employees can meet with accidents and injure themselves. Most of the accidents in the office occur due to: 1. Slipping or falling 2. Collision obstructions 3. Handling of equipments 4. Fire 5. Bad light fittings Fire Precautions 1. Fire exits should be marked clearly. 2. All members of staff should be informed individually on how to find the nearest fire exit in the event of a fire alarm. 3. The fire alarm should be tested regularly. 4. Adequate fire extinguishers should be installed. 5. Staff should be trained to use fire extinguishers. 6. Fire extinguishers should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in proper working order. 7. Each member of staff should be provided individually with a carefully prepared procedure sheet explaining what to do in the event of a fire. 8. The telephone operator should be aware of the procedure in case of fire. 9. Fire drills should be held regularly.
10. An automatic fire alarm system should be installed. 11. Ash trays should be provided to avoid placing lighted cigarette stumps in waste paper baskets. 12. The main electric switch in the building should be switched off when the offices are not occupied. 13. Flammable materials should not be left in the sun. 14. A fire prevention code should be issued to all staff incorporating items such as switching off all machines at night and unplugging them from the power points; ensuring that all heaters /fires are switched off.V. OFFICE FURNITURE There are four main criteria in choosing office furniture. 1. Is it functional? 2. Is it attractive? 3. Is it hard wearing? 4. Is its cost within the budget? Factors to be considered when buying office furniture 1. Design – Size of top, height, number of drawers, suitability for the purpose, etc. 2. Saving in space – Some furniture is specially designed to save floor space. 3. Appearance – Attractive but workmanlike; prestige may be a factor if the furniture is to be in an area/office open to the public. 4. Comfort of the office worker – A high level of comfort means that more work is likely to be performed with less distraction. 5. Capital outlay – An obvious factor when buying any equipment. 6. Durability – Metal and fiberglass are virtually indestructible. 7. Fire risk – Metal and fiberglass are much less flammable than wood. 8. Weight – If furniture has to be moved around, as it often done in a large office, light weight is preferable and fiberglass is very suitable. 9. Hygiene – The piece of furniture has to be cleaned easily and there should be plenty of space underneath for cleaning the floor. 10. Safety – Rounded corners avoid the constant bruising caused by square corners when space is limited; glass plates may not be safe in use. Desk Materials Desks are made in various types of material. The three most commonly used are wood, metal and fiberglass, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. 1. Wood is attractive but maybe heavy, easily scratched, and not fire resistant. 2. Metal is hard wearing, fire resistant, but cold and can get chipped unless anodized metal is used.
3. Laminated plastic/fiberglass is hard wearing, light in weight, and fire resistant, but some types may scratch easily.Type of Desk1. Executive desks – thus type depends on the taste of the executive, and is made with appearance very much in mind.2. Special purpose furniture – Furniture designed for special use in offices includes typists’ desks, computer desks, copier machine desks, and so on.3. Built-in furniture – Maximum utilization of floor space may be obtained by the use of built-in furniture. Furniture should be hygienic as well as functional; permanent fixtures can be tailored to fit in wall recesses so that there is no possibility of dirt lodging anywhere, and flush fitting and outside surfaces can easily be cleaned and maintained.4. General clerical desks – Ideally the size and design of a desk should be suitable for the work to be performed on it.5. Modular desks – This type of furniture provides greater desk area and occupies minimum floor space. It costs less per square foot of working area.Concept of 5S and Office Management 5S, is the philosophy of the Japanese Housekeeping andproductivity tool. It focuses on effective work place organization, simplifieswork environment, reduces waste while improving quality and safety.Meaning of 5S1. Seiri (Sorting Out) – Seiri fights the habit to keep things because they may be useful someday. Seiri helps work area tidy, improves searching and fetching efficiency, and generally clears much space. Seiri is also excellent way to gain valuable floor space and eliminate old broken tools, obsolete jigs and fixtures; scrap and excess raw material.2. Seiton (Systematic Arrangement) – Effective Seiton can be achieved by painting floors to visualize the dirt, outlining work areas and locations, shadow tool boards.3. Seiso (Spic and Span) – Cleanliness is also helpful to notice damages on equipment such as leaks, breakage and misalignment. These minor damages, if left unattended, could lead to equipment failure and loss of production.4. Seiketsu (Standardizing) – Once the first three S have been implemented, it should set as a standard so to keep these good practice work area. Without it, the situation will deteriorate right back to old habits. Have an easy follow standard and develop a structure to support it. Allow employees to join the development of such standards. Seiketsu helps to turn it into natural, standard behavior.5. Shitsuke (Self-discipline) – Finally, to keep first 4S alive, it is necessary to educate people to maintain standards. By setting up a formal system, with display of results, follow-up, the now complete 5S
get insured to live, and be expanded beyond their initial limits, in an ongoing improvement way; the Kaizen way. Kaizen – It is a Japanese word constructed from two ideographs, the first of which represents change and the second goodness or virtue. Kaizen is commonly used to indicate the long-tem betterment of something or someone as in the phrase Seiketsu or kaizen suru which means to “better one’s life”.Benefits of the 5S System1. Improved quality2. Achieve work standardization3. Decreased changeover time4. Improved safety5. Reduced storage costs6. Reduced cycle time7. Reduced machine down time8. Boost employee morale as well as work environment9. Helps to quickly identify the root cause of a problem.10. Helps to determine the relationship between different root causes of a problem.11. Can be learned quickly does not require statistical analysis to be used.Cost saving1. 5S reduces the wastages of tools and materials.2. It cuts down time spent for ordering and saves time for productive works; 5S is also time keeper.3. It can be reduced production time and prevent late delivery.4. It contributes positively to safety.5. It establishes spacious, comfortable and visually excellent work place.6. It requires faithful compliance to ruling.7. Passage ways are clearly defined, preventing disorderliness of flow.Standardization1. It requires everyone to follow procedure ruling to execute his duty.2. It makes procedure clear.3. 5S standardization stabilizes process work, quality and cost.4. It promotes work satisfaction and work moral.5. It provides a clean, bright work environment.