The term Office is derived from the Roman Latin word ‘Officium’, means as a ‘bureau’ or ‘a formal position’. In common word, it is a place where clerical work is performed and where all kinds of paperwork (letters, correspondence, files, records etc.,) are dealt with. It is “a central place where all sorts of clerical work are done to co-ordinate and control the affairs of the whole organization”. Today modern offices are organized on scientific principles and their management and administration are in the hands of highly specialized office managers. The following are the different types of offices:
The front office otherwise called reception. It refers to a company’s department that comes in contact with outsiders such as clients, suppliers, bankers, financial institutions and the general public at large. The front office welcomes visitors, deals with queries of the visitors, and receives mails and disseminates the same to respective departments.
The middle office is usually a part of the operations division of the business unit. These divisions ensure the proper flow of work within the organisation. The middle office generally functions along with the front office and it comprises of departments of financial services. Due to their critical role, it is supervised by the lack of office managers.
It is an integrated computer system designed to handle office work. In this office, all the activities are carried out with the help of software applications. The aim of e-office is to reduce paper work and speed up business operations. The introduction of e-office improves the accuracy and efficiency of organizations and thereby improved their level of service. All modern offices are electronic offices.
The Virtual Office
“Virtual Office” implies mobile or remote work environment equipped with telecommunication links and basic office furniture, but without a fixed office space. Office automation has led to the development of the virtual office concept. It works just like a physical office but without physical space and facilities. Employees interact with others through portable communication tools such as electronic mail, cellular phone, voice mail system, laptop computer, fax machine, and audio/video conferencing system. Employees armed with these tools can perform their work from any place — their homes, cars, restaurants, airports, customers’ offices, and so on.
These offices are generally found in operating corporate organisations where tasks dedicated to operating the company are performed. The term comes from the building layout of early organisations here the front office would contain the sales and other costumer-facing staff and the back office would be those manufacturing or developing the products or involved in administration but without being seen by customers. Although the operations of back-office are usually not given a lot of consideration, their contribution to the business is significant.