Definition of an office. An office is a place or a room set aside in an organization for performing clerical and administrative duties.

It is the centre of all clerical activities in an organization or establishment. Clerical and administrative duties can simply be referral to as:

  1. Written work
  2. Record keeping
  • Receiving and giving information etc.


The office is regarded as the centre point of business organization and clerical activities where different administrative jobs such as keeping records and files, dispatching mail and receiving information in form of letters, telex, telegrams, memoranda, and telephone calls are carried out.

Examples of offices in a business organization are:

  1. Reception office
  2. Manager’s office
  3. Directors’ office
  4. Secretary’s office
  5. Accountant’s office

Examples of offices in a school environment are:

  1. School staff room
  2. Bursar’s office
  3. Principal’s office


Types of an office

The type of an office depends on the size of the organization. There are two main types of offices.

  1. Small office
  2. Large office


Small Office

A small office can also be called a close office. It is found in small organizations and small in size. It has few workers working in it with staff strength ranging from one (1) to ten (10).

Examples of small office are:

  1. Principal’s office
  2. Kiosk
  3. Chemist shop
  4. Bursar’s office
  5. Vice principal’s office

There is less volume of clerical jobs or duties in a small office. In the small office, one person can perform different jobs or tasks. A small office can be a small office, can be a single room with items like the telephone, computer, photocopier and furniture for the purpose of carrying out jobs.

Other examples of small office are:

  1. A small food stuff shop
  2. A cobber’s shop
  • An hairdresser’s shop
  1. A provision store

A small office can also be called a close office because it is partitioned or divided into separate offices as department which are separation from one another.


Advantages of small office

  1. The workers are more supervises because of the close nature of the office
  2. There is existence of close relationship between the employer and the employee etc.
  3. It allows workers to focus more on their job
  4. In a small office, there is privacy for jobs that are confidential in nature.
  5. The small offices are more healthy places people to work
  6. Efficiency is increase because there is no noise disturbance.


Disadvantages of small office

  1. There is no room for specialization
  2. The workers may be over worked due to few staff strength.
  3. There may be no opportunity for further expansion
  4. Flow of work may be more difficult because of different offices that are involved.
  5. It is much more expensive to run a small office because each office will be required to own its own photocopier, computer, refrigerator etc.


Large Office

A large office can also be called an open office. It is usually found in large organisations. It may be divided into units called departments. The staff strength ranges from ten (10) upward.

In large office, each workers specializes in a particular job or activity: for instance, a typist specializes in typing documents while the clerk does the keeping of the records and files as well as running errands.

Large offices are found in organisations like banks, manufacturing industries, government ministries and parastatals and insurance companies.

It is also known as open office because it is not partitioned or divided into separate sections or offices known as departments. There is no privacy in the open office as worker work within the same office.

Examples of the open office are:

  1. School staff room
  2. A banking hall
  • A factory or industry etc.


Advantages of large office

  1. There is room for division of labour due to the large staff strength.
  2. There is room for specialization
  3. Workers may have opportunity to go for further studies
  4. It allows the use of some office equipment and materials to be centralized e.g. a photocopier can be placed where every staff member will have access to it.
  5. Money is not spent in partitioning offices unlike the small office.
  6. A change in the layout can easily be done without much problem. For instance, chairs, tables and some office equipment can easily be re-arranged etc.


Disadvantages of large office

  1. Workers feel bored easily because of performing a particular type of work or duty day in and day out.
  2. These may be room for laziness
  3. There is no privacy, especially for workers whole jobs require confidentiality
  4. A large office may be untidy because of the number of people occupying it.
  5. The office may be unhealthy if there is poor ventilation.
  6. Efficiency of workers may be affected because of noise and movement of people and some machine in and out of the office.


Functions of an office

An office performs the following functions.

  1. Collection of information
  2. Giving out information
  3. Recording information
  4. Receiving information
  5. Arranging and processing information
  6. Storing information
  7. Safeguarding assets/information



  • What is an office?
  • Explain the two types of an office
  • State the advantages and disadvantages of an open office.


See also



business studies past questions

forms of business organisation



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