MAJOR OFFICE ACTIVITIES
n the previous lesson, you have learnt about the various functions of an office and their significance, and the relevant departments in a modern office. You will recall that collecting, processing, analysing and presenting information constitute the key functions of an office. Mail happens to be an important part of information handling. Hence, for every one seeking employment in an office has to be fully conversant with the nature and type of mail and the process of handling it in terms of its receiving, sorting, marking, filing, indexing etc. including the use of machines and equipment. In this lesson, you will learn about various stages involved in handling the incoming and outgoing mail in an office, and its filing and indexing systems. You will also have an idea about the various types of machines and equipment used in the office.
After studying this lesson, you will be able to: • define the term mail; • • • • • • • explain the stages of handling incoming and outgoing mails; explain the meaning, objectives and functions of filing system; describe the bases of classification of files and different methods of filing; explain the meaning, purpose and types of indexing systems; state the objectives of office mechanisation; describe the uses of various types of office equipment and machines; and enumerate the general aspects of handling the office machines and equipment.
‘Mail’ refers to the written communication that passes through the messenger service or the post office. Every business concern sends out and receives a large number of letters, Business Studies
MODULE -7 Wage Employment in Business
notices, circulars, telegrams, memoranda reports, statements, pamphlets, inquiries, etc. Mail service ensures continuous interaction between insiders as well as between the organisation and outsiders. It helps the firm in establishing and maintaining contact with customers, suppliers, and others concerned. In order to ensure prompt and efficient handling of mail, the mailing service should be planned and organised properly. Due to its importance and the vital role played in the organisation, mail should receive special attention and treatment. Handling of mail is, therefore, done by a specialised department named as ‘Mailing Department’. The nature of organisation of the mailing department depends on the size of the firm and the volume of mail to be handled. Mails consist of three main types- (a) incoming, (b) outgoing, and (c) inter departmental.
31.1.1 HANDLING INCOMING MAIL
Efficient handling of mail requires establishment of definite procedures involving step by step handling of mail. The incoming mail should be received and distributed with speed and accuracy. The exact method of handling inward mail differs from office to office. Handling of incoming mail generally consists of the following steps. (a) Receiving the mail: The mail is delivered once or twice a day by the postman or by messenger. If a post box or post bag is hired, the mail is collected by an employee from post office once or twice a day. A clerk is assigned the work of receiving letters and issuing receipts or acknowledging receipt in peon/ messenger book. (b) Opening the mail: Letters are opened by hand or by a letter-opening machine. The mail should be opened carefully to ensure safety of mail. It must also be seen that no papers are left inside the envelope. A responsible officer should supervise this process. (c) Scrutiny of contents: The contents of the envelopes should be scrutinised to find out the purpose of the correspondence and the department concerned. If there are enclosures, they should be checked to verify that they are in order. Any discrepancy should be brought to the notice of the mail room supervisor specially when the enclosures are cheques, drafts, postal orders, etc. (d) Date stamping: After...