THE ELECTRONIC WORKSTATION
A workstation included all equipment, furnishing and accessories needed to perform work in an electronic office environment. The technology for processing, storing and communicating information is still changing rapidly. To keep up with these changes, you need a basic understanding of how the most up-to-date equipment works and how it is set up in the modern business office.
The computer equipment used in office today is referred to as a computer system. It can be Microcomputer, minicomputers, mainframe or supercomputers. This classification of computers is based on the amount of information they can process the speed at which they operate and the cost of the computer system.
· Having large processing and storage capacities that can accommodate many workers using the system simultaneously
· Can process information faster than any other categories of computer
· Very costly because they are design to handle large volume of work and usually found in large institution.
The largest mainframe computer is called a supercomputer.
· It have the largest storage and processing capacity of all computers
· Have the highest speed, biggest physical dimensions and greatest monetary cost.
· Able to solve engineering and scientific problem in fields such as medical research, weather forecasting and national defence.
· It also used by the government and by large-to-medium-sized business.
· Less expensive and easier to operate than mainframe
· Less powerful than mainframe
Microcomputer / personal computer
· Small size and relatively low cost
a. Stand-alone system
· Stand alone system are microcomputer that are not connected to any other computer
· Can be found in semi-automated offices in which computers are used mainly for word processing and small accounting record.
· Information stored on disk
b. Data communication system
· Modem - is a device used to convert the digital signals, which are the individual electrical pulses read by computer into analogue signals, which are the electric waves that are transmittable over telephone wires.
· Network - are far more sophisticated data communication system that allow the transmission of data in a variety ways - LAN / WAN
· LAN is privately owned and is used to connect computers within a small area, such as a building or a group of buildings. Its usually connect a group of microcomputers to one another and they may also connect a group of microcomputers to a minicomputer or mainframe system
· LAN is frequently used within a company to allow workers to share resource. It can reduce cost of providing each individual user with certain types of costly equipment.
· Workers also share centrally stored data that is used for processing information. Users of a LAN may be able to share data stored on any other computer on the network if they have appropriate access right.
· WAN covers a broad geographic area. WAN employs satellites, telephone lines, microwaves and dedicated communications channels to transfer information from one computer network to another. A WAN connects mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers. Computers that are on a LAN can also be on a WAN.
· Business office used WAN to connect their offices all over the country and around the world. They also rely heavily on the commercial on-line information services that are available through wide area networks.
· Two of the oldest electronic systems for distributing messages over long distances are Telex and TWX. Today Telex and TWX use computer, satellite and microwave technology, which allows them to provide faster communication and higher-quality hard copies at a lower cost than in the past.
a. Dictation / Transcription Systems.
· Its allow uses to record data and have it transcribed at a dictation unit & a transcription unit.
· In a decentralised dictation system, each user has a dictation or transcription unit at his workstation.
· In centralised dictation system, originator has the option of using the telephone to call the dictation system to dictate letters or memos.
· It will be send either electronically or manually to originator for approval.
b. Reprographics Systems.
· It also can be called copying system. Its is an important part of an administrative assistant’s work environment. E.g. Photocopiers, shredders & binders etc.
· It won’t be located at individual workstation – most large companies have centralised reprographics systems.
· It is to perform mathematical calculations – quick and easy.
· It have an internal memory, allowing you to clear a figure you have just entered without erasing all the other figures you have input.
· It has several sizes of displays and some can print output on a paper as well as display in electronically.
· Typewriter still be used as the main processing tool
· Electronic typewriter operate with electronic circuit board and microchips
· Electronic typewriter has small memory capacity, to provide text-processing capability.
· Office work station are comprised of many parts
· The individual using the workstation must ensure that all the components work together to achieve maximum productivity.
· The workstation must have the proper supplies & must be organised to accomplish a smooth workflow.
· Ergonomics is devoted the examining how the physical work environment affected the workers and his or her job performance.
a. Furniture & Equipment Design.
· The placement of furniture, the lighting, the chair height & the positioning of the keyboard & other computer system components are vital to an individual’s productivity.
· Landscape office is an approach to layout in which a large, open room is sectional off the movable partitions into a number of workstations.
· Landscape office has modular furniture and flexible wall partitions.
· Ergonomics plays an important role in the design of modular office furniture specially designed tables for computers have several adjustments at the level that is most comfortable for user.
· Special designed chairs can also be adjusted so that workers can change the height or the angle of the back to reduce strain & fatigue.
· Computer equipment itself is continually being redesigned to make it easier, safe & more comfortable to use.
· To ensure your physical well-being & safety, direct lighting over the writing work area is necessary.
b. An organised & secure work area
· The desk surface & surrounding area of a workstation should be kept clear of unnecessary items, such as pictures, paper & other office supplies.
· A light colour desk surface is best for the eyes but dark colour surface provides too much contrast and cause eyestrain.
· The surface area, drawer space filing cabinets & bookshelves in a work area provide many spaces to store items.
· When arranging the desk in work area, frequently used materials should be within easy reach.
· Use security measures such as security cables to look your equipment to the workstation to prevent theft.
c. Office Supplies
· The supplies you use to do your job will be time savers & increase your productivity if there are the correct supplies.
· Office supplies must complement your equipment as well as the task you must complete to ensure a smooth operational flow.
· Supplies must be placed where there are easily accessible and functional
· Office supplies are an expensive part of an organisation’s costs.
· Line notebooks
· Stapler & staples
· Clear tape & dispenser
· Staple remover
· Paper clips
· 2 or 3 hole paper puncher
· Letter head
· Memo form
· Message reply forms
· Company’s printed forms.
· Disk tables
· Disk cases
· Disk mailers
· Printer ribbons
· Toner cartridges
· Cleaning materials
· Mouse pad
· Telephone message pads
· Telephone message holder
· Self-stick notes.
d. Reference Materials
· It is the most important items at your workstation because it can help you find information quickly & easily.
· Some reference materials should always be within your reach. This includes the company policy manual, your job procedure manual, telephone books, a dictionary, a thesaurus, equipment & software manuals etc.
· It is a source for information.
a. Employee often represent an employer's most valuable and most costly resource
b. Reasons employees automate the office are:
i. Better use of their human resource
ii. Task can be done faster & better
iii. Employees could spend their time on task that requires judgement and human-relations skills.
c. Time is money in business. Office workers are expected to:
· Use their time carefully & economical
· Schedule their assignment & plan their workdays so that they can produce to most work possible in the time available.
d. The aim of time management is to provide for efficient use of all resource, including time, so that individual is productive in achieving their important professional & personal goals.
e. Time management in office involves planning & scheduling your work & avoiding wasting time.
f. The behaviour of time waster in an office are:
i. Failing to carry through a complete task
ii. Lack of privacy
iii. Slowness in making decision
Daily Time Management
Time management begins with assessing the way you currently work & then determining ways to use your time more effectively.
Steps in an on-going Time Management Plan.
1. Record the way you currently spend your time
2. Analyse how you spend your time
3. Determine what activities can be adjusted or changed to be more effective workers.
4. Schedule your activities daily, weekly, monthly and long range.
5. Adhere to the schedule
6. Periodically evaluate your schedule to determine if it is working.
Time management is a non-stop process; it is continually evaluated & changes as job duty changes.
Adhere To Analyse How
Schedule You Spend
Schedule What to Change
Monthly, Long Range
Time Management flow chart revaluation & rescheduling take place throughout the time management process.
The major of Time Wasters
1. Failure to plan & budget time
2. Giving into interruptions from individuals who want to talk
3. Placing outgoing calls at random times
4. Extra long morning break
5. Work areas inefficiency, such as losing a file
6. Failure to carry through and complete a single task
7. Working to copier too many times
8. Did not prepare a list for next day.
Solution for Time Wasters
· Lack of goals
· Telephone interruptions
· Disorganised work area
· Communication errors
· Too many written communication
· Incomplete task
· Use “to do/did list”
· Use voice mail or an answering machine during your designated work time
· Do it first
· Follow procedures outlined in earlier chapters
· Avoid and keep your socialising for breaks & lunch.
· Plan your message
· Determine which method is necessary to communicate the message
· Plan time for project with no interruptions.
1. Organising Individual Tasks.
· By following a daily schedule can help you use your time more effectively
· Working according to a plan can help you perform individual tasks more efficiently.
· Planning the steps you will take to complete each task will save your time & effort & avoid mistake.
a. Daily Calendar
· Everybody must have a daily calendar on your desk
· It easy to maintain a detail schedule of appointment and tasks and a quick look will tell you when you are free.
b. Weekly Calendar
· Some calendar displays a week's schedule and may be divided into segments.
· Electronic calendars also provide weekly schedule.
c. Monthly Calendar
· It assists in scheduling events such as vacations or long-term projects that occupy large blocks of time
· It also used for noting major events such as conference, training projects.
d. Yearly Calendar
· Include events that always occur at set time during the year. E.g. annual budget, report, employee evaluation etc.
· It especially helpful to new staff members.
2. Maintaining Daily Schedules
a. Keep a desk calendar
· The best manual tool you have for keeping track of your daily schedule is your calendar
· If do not have an electronic calendar, write calendar entries neatly with pencil
· If it is done properly, you can access the required information faster
· If using an electronic calendar system, make sure that everybody can access to your calendar.
· Don't make personal or confidential notes on a desk / an electronic calendars.
b. Use to do lists.
· If you list the entire task that need to be done, you can estimate how much time each task will take.
· Delete each task from your list as you finished & add any new assignment to your list.
· Id any task did not finish that day continues next day's list.
c. Set Priorities
· Priorities or its level of urgency and importance should be given to any task
· Itemise your list
- Task should do immediately
- Task should do that day
- Task should be done when have time.
d. Be Flexible.
· You can cope with unexpected events if your schedule for the day is flexible.
· Flexible can be achieved through ranking your priority list by assigning numbers after the letter: A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2 etc., then you can choose easily among tasks that have same urgency.
· Some time you cannot be flexible with your schedule.
e. Make use of Slack Time
· It is good ideas to keep a list of things you would like to do in the office when you have extra time.
E.g. consolidating files, updating procedure manuals.
· If the work is for more than one person, it may be difficult to co-ordinate plans. You may ask your supervisor to assign a priority to each task.
3. Analysing Daily Tasks
· Each morning, spend some time analysing the tasks on your daily schedule
· Make list of the information, supplies and other materials you will need to perform each task.
· If task is completed, write down the steps in the order you carried them out.
a. Study your Instructions
· Ask for instructions if you did not familiar with the job. Avoid interrupting your co-workers more often that necessary.
b. Group Your Tasks
· Grouping any tasks if involves similar steps or the same locations.
c. Gather Your Materials.
· Before you begin any task, gather all the materials you will need and arrange them in the order that you will use them.
· By this, you will concentrate better & finish each task faster.
4. Scheduling Big Projects.
a. Break big jobs into segments
· Divide a big projects into segments & think of them as several small tasks
b. Set Short-term goals.
· Set short term goals for the individual segments of the task
· If success in reaching short-term goals on time, it will help you to determine how likely you are to reach your long-term goals.
· You have to revise plan if you cannot complete any task in short-term goals. E.g. extra days or week.
· Highlight why cannot complete task, adjust your plan and make sure it complete on time (give priorities)
5. Establishing Deadlines
· Deadlines can push you to finish task that you might put off indefinitely.
· It also help plan & schedule work
· If big project, you may need to set interim deadline which are dates for completing parts of the project as well as a final deadlines.
6. Organise Works Flow To Save Time.
· It is important to maintain your work area in an efficient manner.
· Use procedures in your job duties would be helpful
· If there is no procedure to follow create your own procedure (steps) to make your workflow smoothly.
1. Doing your job well requires skillS in organising your time, your assignment & your work materials.
2. Careful planning is essential to managing your time well. It can help you finish assignment on time with a minimum of mistake & frustrations. You will probably use a daily desk-top calendar for scheduling and you may also use weekly, monthly or yearly calendar. Electronic calendars are also effective means of scheduling.
3. Use tickler files to keep reminder notes on events or responsibilities.
4. To develop a daily schedule, list the tasks that need to be done, eliminate how long each one will take and then rank each task by priority. Try to develop a schedule that is flexible enough to allow for unexpected events.
5. Consult your supervisor when you have schedule questions or conflicts. If you have slack time, use it for low-priority task. Avoid time wasters, such as phone calls, interruptions, socialising and unnecessary work.
6. A big project will be more manageable if you break it into segments & view each segment as a short-term goal on your way to the long range goal of finishing the project. Your progress in reaching the goals on schedule can help you determine whether you can finish the project on time.
7. If you set deadline on tasks, you can manage your time better. For a long-term project, set interim deadlines in addition to final deadlines.
8. Analyse the task on your daily schedule to see which one you can simplify or delegate. Study your instructions before you begin each task.