What is Office Manual? Definition, Types, Importance, Limitations

  • Post last modified:5 July 2021
  • Reading time:12 mins read
  • Post category:Office Management

What is Office Manual?

An office manual is a handbook that contains information on the business, the product, and the processes of the employees. This can be broken down in a variety of ways dependent on the business itself.

But ultimately it is the resource for employees to determine how to do their job, the ramifications of errors, and other guidelines that are necessary to know in order to be an effective employee.

Office Manual Meaning

An office manual means a handy form of book or booklet containing information relating to the policy, organization system, routines and procedures methods and standards and the rules and regulations regarding employment. An office manual is prepared to help the employees know all relevant information regarding the organization, its set up i.e. structure and how he fits into it.

Thus office manual is a guidebook consisting of authoritative guidelines that are needed for the highest performance of the job.

Office Manual Definition

According to George R. Terry, An office manual has been defined as a document disclosing the information about an organization, its set up, conditions of employment, and the established system, routine, procedures, methods, standards, rules and regulations of an office operation.

Types of Office Manual

Types of office manual are mentioned as follows:

  1. Policy Manual
  2. Organization Manual
  3. Rules and Regulations Manual
  4. Departmental Manual

Policy Manual

This manual contains policy decisions, resolutions and guidelines given by the management. It gives the scope and limitations within which various policies should operate. The persons concerned with the implementation of policies get proper guidelines and try to ensure the implementation of every bit of it. Manuals also provide the course of action to be adopted for implementing policies.

Organization Manual

This manual gives a detailed account of the organization. The authority and responsibility of every person is given in detail. It avoids confusion and conflicts among various persons. The extent of authority and the relationship of executives is explained in this manual. The extent of span of management and delegation of authority are facilitated by a properly drawn manual.

Rules and Regulations Manual

It contains various rules and regulations followed in the company. The day-to-day working of the enterprise is greatly facilitated. The employees get information about working conditions, admissible holidays, procedure for getting leaves sanctioned, the facility and procedure for availing medical facilities, the use of canteen, library, etc.

Departmental Manual

Separate manuals are prepared for different departments. A departmental manual gives full details about the working of a department. It will show organization of the department, relationship among various persons in the department including their authority and responsibility, rules and procedures followed for undertaking various tasks, inter-departmental relationship, etc. Departmental manual helps in the smooth working of a department.

Benefits of Office Manual

The uses of office manuals are many and varied. The manuals benefits both the employees and the management. Particularly, it is more useful to new employees. Some of the advantages are given below:

  • It is easier for the management to supervise as the procedures are known to the members of the staff.

  • It is a kind of authority on the procedures.

  • Training of the staff can be made easier.

  • Amendments can be made from time to time according to the experience gained.

  • As the manual contains written instructions with respect to their jobs, there is no need to explain them to employees time and again.

  • While preparing the manual, each job is studied thoroughly and reexamined. This helps in bringing uniformity in the methods of doing different office jobs.

  • Use of office manuals facilitates delegation of authority and management by objectives

Limitations of Office Manuals

Office manuals are not without their drawbacks. The following are the inherent demerits of office manuals.


The compilation of manuals requires much costs. The manual being expensive, small-scale concerns cannot even afford them.

  1. Expensive
  2. Time Consuming
  3. Rigidity
  4. Embarrassing

Time Consuming

Preparation of various manuals is a time-consuming process. Moreover, these require a constant review which again takes too much time.


When written guides, instructions and procedures are available then there is hardly any scope for variation. One has to follow standard prescribed procedures in completing a task. There is no scope for discretion and initiative.


Some relationships are such which people will not like to put in black and white. It becomes embarrassing in revealing such relationships.

In some offices, though the manual is there, it is not either consulted or the procedure laid down is followed. In such cases, it is useless to prepare a manual and also waste of time and money. In spite of these limitations. Office manuals are still occupying important large organizations.

Importance of Office Manual

The Office Manual serves the purpose of communicating the relevant information to employees. If it is written with great care and kept up to date, several advantages may be derived from the office manual. The importance of office manual are:

  1. Develops a sound organizational
  2. Conserves time
  3. Preserves experience
  4. Trains new employees
  5. Improves morale
  6. Management of exception
  7. Improves efficiency of operation

Develops a sound organizational

The manual requires management to state their policies and give expression to their concrete terms. They provide a sense of direction to the employees and clarify the responsibilities of various units in the organization. Everyone is made aware of what to do and when. All these ultimately contribute to the development of a sound organization.

Conserves time

Manuals are written documents, demanding compliance from employees. In case of any difficuity in processing work, employees can consult the manual and remove the sources of friction. Managers also need not spend much time in answering questions regarding routine work. The printed instructions greatly reduce the need to guide employees constantly. In short. the manual helps conserve the time of top management as well as supervisors at the office level.

Preserves experience

Manuals reflect corporate experiences of outgoing officials in a written form. Managers may come and go out but the manual remains. The office is thus, able to benefit from the ideas, experiences and knowledge of people who are no longer with the organization.

Trains new employees

A manual also helps in training new employees. It conveys, in a readily available form, the established policies and procedures of the organization. This enables employees to pick up their work without delay or hesitation.

Improves morale

Manuals tend to reduce uncertainty too. An employee knows what his job is, what is expected of him, and what to expect from the organization. Such clear understanding builds the confidence of employees and boosts their morale.

Management of exception

Manuals relieve managers from the necessity of making repeated decisions on routine matters. Managers can concentrate on more important issues, leaving routine affairs to be handled by staff at lower levels.

Improves efficiency of operation

One positive advantage of the office manual is that it improves the efficiency of operations by reducing overlapping efforts, gaps in procedures and policies, and, more importantly, useless work. Communication regarding routine matters is simplified. These ultimately help in reducing office costs and improve efficiency.

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