A trap laid to capture the future is termed as a plan. Planning is primarily concerned with deciding in advance what is to be dove. This is regarded as the first and the basic function of office management. It is a mental process which is concerned with the determination of course of action to achieve the desired goals of the enterprise. Planning is a continuous process of determining in advance what is to be done and how it is to be done.
It is described as a well defined course of future action and as such it takes care of the uncertainties of future. It is a kind of future picture wherein proximate events are outlined with some distinctness whilst remote events appear progressively less distinct.
The study of planning as a management process becomes important because of the following reasons :
It focuses attention on the overall objective.
It makes every activities purposeful by giving directions.
It helps much to off set change and uncertainty.
It facilitates better control in office
It takes care of the future growth of the enterprise.
It facilitates economical operation of the office,
Steps in Planning
The office work mainly consists of three types like
(a) The work which are done today,
(b) The preparatory work which proceed the today’s work, and
(c) The work which results from today’s operation.
The above kinds of work are also known as preparatory, immediate and clean up work. The office manager facilitate in doing all these kinds of work. To prepare plan for the above type of works is one of the vital function of the office manager. The various steps involved in planning these work are :
(a) Laying down Objective
The first step of the planning procedure is to lay down the objective of the enterprise. Objectives are the ends towards which all activities are aimed. The office should lay down the ultimate objective and the subsidiary objectives to attain the ultimate objectives.
(b) Establishing Planning Premises
Planning premises denotes the assumptions on which planning is to be based on. While making assumptions of future it will be wrong to assume that environmental factors will be same in future. Since planning is based on forecast the above assumption will be dangerous.
(c) Formulating Policies
Policy making is the vital part of planning process. Policy formulation denotes laying down rules of action to be followed for the attainment of the desired objective of the enterprise.
(d) Laying down Procedures
Procedure indicates how a particular activity can be achieved, Formulation of uniform procedure facilitates smooth flow of work.
(e) Establishing Programme of Action
A programme denotes a well-defined course of action. The formation of programme is necessary because U facilitates the implementation of policies and attain the objective.
(f) Establishing Schedule and Preparation of a Budget
Scheduling means attaching the element of time to the planning programme. The expected time of completion of work is decided in advance. After scheduling a budget is prepared which is an estimate of expected expenditure and projected income.