Office procedures are important if you want to run things smoothly in a professional environment, whether it is a legal firm, doctor’s office or government facility. It's important to have a written procedure visible Every office should have a written set of procedures developed by the supervisor and office manager visible in the front office.
What Office Procedures Should Stipulate
Office hours should be the first thing mentioned, and all employees should be at work on time and prepared for the day. If a customer comes to the office and no one is there there are likely to have a negative view of the business and may never return. Also, the office should be neat, clean and well supplied. Make sure a check-in roster and pens are available for customers to sign in, and if possible, make coffee and water available. First impressions are everything in a successful business. In addition, every customer should be treated with respect and professionalism, whether they are in the office or on the telephone. If a call comes in for a supervisor, the employee should get all the information prior to connecting them to the caller, including name, nature of the call and phone number in case the connection is lost. If the call is for an appointment, they should find out the nature of the visit and let them know what’s available, making sure to get a phone number in case of cancellation. They should always repeat what is said so there is no confusion.
Organize and maintain a workstation for maximum productivity, making sure there is paper in the copier, computers are up and running, mail is distributed and messages are delivered. If your job involves setting up travel arrangements, be sure to know where your supervisor wishes to stay and record flight times and rental car information and find out about the weather in the travel destination. Always check with your supervisor before booking travel plans. When all reservations are complete, print out two itineraries—one for you and one for your supervisor—and be sure to enter the dates of travel on the calendar.
At the end of the day, go over appointments with your supervisor and make her aware of her scheduled appointments for the next day. Set the answering machine to voice mail or to the after-hours answering service. Turn off all equipment, copy machines, printers and computers and empty the coffee carafe and turn off the coffee maker. Finally, make sure all doors are locked before setting the alarm.
Shane Montgomery is a 16-year veteran writer with more than 700 articles published on wire services and in small market publications across the country. He worked as the editor or managing editor for more than 300 issues of four magazines and two newspapers.