A foundation course for anyone working in an office
- Start anytime
- Work at your own pace
- Learn from experienced professionals
The course covers the following:
- The Modern Office
- Communication Systems
- Interpersonal Communications
- Phone Skills
- Writing Letters and Other Documents
- Computer Applications
- Office Organisation and Procedures
- Health and Safety in the Office
On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:
- Determine the price range of different items of equipment and materials.
- Determine the upper and lower limit of what it might be likely to cost you to set up a new office.
- Design a memorandum form.
- Explain postal systems used in a business.
- Create a MS Access Database.
- Design a filing system.
- Design a work schedule suitable for a specific workplace.
- Design a security system that can be implemented in a work situation.
- Design a layout for an office situation.
Examples of What is Covered
Here are just some of the things you may be doing:
- Make a list of essential equipment, stationery and other materials.
- Visit an office supply company.
- Collect catalogues or price lists for different products available.
- Compare the implications of having an office at home with leasing, buying or using a serviced office.
- Explain applications to use and apply the following office equipment: ◦computers
- Report on the range of systems covering: ◦couriers
- Write a letter applying for this job.
- Write a letter from an organisation (real or imaginary) to another organisation.
- Ask your local computer supplier about virus removal software and hardware.
- Compile a table comparing features of different computer systems.
- What roles can computers play in business?
- Contact or visit various stationery supplies to find out about what materials are available.
- Write a report about how to design a filing system suitable for your area of work.
- Inspect various offices to see how they are utilising space and storage.
- Contact various suppliers of office furniture to see what furniture is available.
Duration: 100 hours
Common Jobs Within an Office
A receptionist is often a customer’s first contact with the organisation, and can therefore set the tone for ensuing customer relations with that person. Reception duties are primarily those of greeting customers and meeting their needs. This usually involves referring the customer to the correct person or department, whether the customer is on the phone or is in the office. The receptionist might also keeps records of incoming customers and phone calls, and pass on any information to staff members about the day’s activities, expected visitors, schedule changes etc., by entering it in a diary or by other means. The receptionist might also receive mail for distribution to relevant staff, and prepare and oversee outgoing mail, though in large organisations, these activities might be handled by the Mail Department.
These are functions carried out by people working in different sections of an office, such as processing wages, orders and sales. Looking at jobs advertised under "Clerk" in the employment section of the newspaper can give a very good insight into the nature and scope of this type of work.
Clerical duties can also involve a great deal of interaction with customers and clients, over the phone, or as they come into the office on other business. In many offices, receptionist duties are shared by clerks.
These are the duties that are performed by a secretary. They can include any of the tasks that a clerk does, and almost certainly will include the creation and management of documents, through word processing, copying documents and filing. A secretary’s main job usually is one of "supporter" or "assistant" to a person in a managerial position, and may involve providing secretarial support to more than one person. Once again, looking at jobs advertised in a newspaper under ‘Secretary” or ‘Personal Assistant’ can provide a good insight into the duties that a secretary would perform.
*Information Processing Duties
These duties involve collecting, storing, manipulating and retrieving different types of information. Today this is commonly done with a computer, though other methods can also be used. People involved in these tasks can be filing clerks, data entry clerks, or IT (computer) personnel responsible for handling entire information networks.
The role of each worker in an office needs to be specified very clearly when they are employed. Failure to do this could create problems later; possibly disputes over work tasks to be undertaken or even disputes over the pay and conditions under which a person is employed. Government legislation and/or agreements with unions are often very specific about what a particular job entails. If an employee is given the wrong job title, or if conditions are not clearly defined, management can be restricted in what it might use an employee for.
Tips for Using a Telephone
The following techniques will assist you to receive phone calls in a professional and courteous manner:
- Keep a notepad and pen handy to jot down information.
- Answer calls promptly, usually, on the third ring
- Be sure to have the phone in position before you speak. If you speak too soon, the first part of your greeting can be lost, and the caller hears “…..speaking.”
- Greet the caller, introduce the business, then yourself, quickly and clearly. For example: “Good morning, ACS, Martin speaking”.
- Ask for, and use the client’s name, but not so much that you sound like a robot.
- Actively listen for the person to tell you what they want. Be prepared to ask questions to get to the main point. For example: (listening, then) “Would you like to enrol in the course now, or do you want to know how to enrol in the future?”
- Try to really understand the caller’s intended meaning. Give them your full attention.
- Sound alert and interested. The best way to do this is to be alert and interested. Another way is to vary your voice inflection, so that it doesn’t sound monotone. You might need to practice.
- Sound friendly and courteous. Smile – you can hear a smile – and use polite language. A friendly happy voice on the phone is a very great asset in any business.
- Speak clearly. Talk into the handset; pronounce words correctly; and don’t talk too fast.
- Be cheerful and patient. Remember that if there is a problem the person is not annoyed at you, but at the problem, as they perceive it.
- Be willing to help. If you can’t, tell the person that you will refer them to someone who can, and do it.
- When referring them to another person, get their permission first, and give them the name and title of that person. Check to see that the call has gone through as planned. If there is a long delay, ask if the other person can phone them back.
- Do not put a person on hold without their permission. The caller might be making a long-distance phone call, or calling from a mobile phone, or might not have time to wait. Ask, “May I put you on hold for a moment?” and wait for the answer.
- If you can’t help the client right away, take their name and number and promise to phone them back. Give a time, rather than just saying, “I’ll call back later.”
- Follow up. Do what you have promised, and do it promptly.
- Repeat the main ideas of messages back to the person to ensure that you both have them correctly.
- At the end of the conversation, thank the customer for calling. If appropriate, end with a friendly close, such as "Hope to hear from you again soon", or “It was a pleasure to talk to you”. However, in more formal situations, a simple thank you is sufficient.
- Keep the phone in position until you and they have finished speaking. If you try to hang up too soon, they might only get part of your exit, hearing something like, “Thanks f…….”
- Immediately make any notes to help you remember what you have agreed to do, or who else must get the message. Do not rely on memory.