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Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

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Office Relations and Productivity Skills

Course Code: OADM 1241
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Office Administration
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

The focus of this course is to develop a student’s effectiveness as an administrative support professional by enhancing employability skills necessary to work in team-focused office environments. Techniques will be presented to improve a student’s ability in problem-solving and decision-making; contributing to teams; assessing and prioritizing work assignments to meet deadlines; managing projects; conducting formal and informal meetings; meeting third-party, employer and co-worker expectations; and resolving interpersonal or work assignment conflicts. Particular focus will be placed on applied skills that would increase productivity and efficiency.

Course Content

OVERVIEW

  1. General overview of skills expected by employers for administrative professionals to be considered valuable employees (such as those defined in Employability Skills 2000+ or other similar skills research) and discussion of importance of
    • meeting workplace expectations
    • time management and productivity
    • problem solving and decision making
    • teamwork skills
    • interpersonal skills and conflict resolution

WORKPLACE EXPECTATIONS

  1. The qualities and traits expected by co-workers to facilitate a harmonious work environment, which include but are not limited to
    • the skills necessary to complete assigned work duties
    • the unofficial expectations of co-workers to be considered a valuable member of their team
    • fitting into a specific office workplace culture
  2. The obligations of the employee to work in the best interest of the employer and towards employer goals, including but not limited to
    • speaking positively about the employer
    • working to advance employer goals
    • promoting products and services of the employer
    • respecting the employer's resources, the confidentiality of information, and use of work time (including refraining from the use of cell phones or email for personal purposes during work times without employer permission)
  3. Analyze work relationships and expectations arising from an administrative professional’s place and role within an organizational structure, including but not limited to expectations of
    • co-workers
    • sole or multiple supervisors
    • staff that support the administrative professional
    • internal departments that rely on the administrative professional
    • internal departments that the administrative professional relies upon
    • external clients and customers that rely upon the administrative professional
    • external suppliers or organizations that the administrative professional relies upon

TIME MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY

  1. Use a taskmanagement notebook to record work assignments, phone calls, or verbal information or instructions received
  2. Increase the efficiency of work for routine tasks and responsibilities, small projects, and sudden or unexpected demands through the implementation of time management skills and techniques, including but not limited to
    • determining “productive” times
    • scheduling routine tasks
    • creating and using to do lists, bring forward systems, or calendars
    • creating workflow systems (such as IN/OUT trays, “signature required” folders, etc.)
    • assessing and prioritizing multiple tasks or work assignments based on the expectations of clients, customers, or patients, third parties, co-workers and supervisors
    • assessing and prioritizing when to complete your tasks and work assignments, and when to assist co-workers with their tasks and work assignments
    • handling email with efficiency
    • creating a daily task schedule
    • assessing work interruptions for importance
    • using checklists
    • breaking projects into smaller tasks and goals
    • scheduling project tasks and goals
    • using project management tools such as GANTT charts
  3. Assess when it is appropriate to say “no” or “not now” to clients, customers, third parties, co-workers or supervisors
  4. Assess when it is appropriate or necessary to seek assistance from supervisors when saying “no” to clients, customers, third parties, or co-workers

PROBLEM-SOLVING AND DECISION-MAKING

  1. Discuss and apply problem-solving models, such as IDEAL (or another similar model), which include stages such as:
    • Identifying the problem
    • Defining the problem
    • Examining the options
    • Acting on a plan
    • Looking at consequences
  2. Discuss the element of self-benefiting motives when supporting or opposing the choice of options when deciding upon an action
  3. Examine and discuss the reluctance and barriers some people have towards change or the implementation of options to solve a problem
  4. Anticipating potential reluctance and barriers as part of the proposed solution plan
  5. Use integrity and ethics when making decisions
  6. Discuss the need to examine one’s own reluctance towards change

INDIVIDUAL WORK/TEAMWORK

  1. Strengths of individual work and situations where team work is less effective than individual work
  2. Weaknesses of individual work and situations where team work is more effective than individual work
  3. Differences between formal and informal teams
  4. Differences between teams (either formal or informal teams) performing routine and ongoing tasks and teams created to complete specific projects
  5. Expectations for employees working in a team-based environment when performing routine and ongoing tasks
  6. Assessing one’s ability to contribute to a team formed to complete a specific objective or project
  7. Importance of adapting to and effectively interacting with team members throughout the phases of team development
  8. Determination of team goals and expectations when working on a team to complete a specifically defined project

INFORMAL AND FORMAL MEETINGS

  1. Determining appropriate situations requiring informal meetings and situations requiring formal meetings
  2. Planning and conducting time-efficient informal meetings
  3. Recording in personal task notebook information obtained, discussions held, or decisions made during informal meetings
  4. Confirming through email, when necessary, information obtained, discussions held, or decisions made during informal meetings
  5. Planning and conducting time-efficient formal face-to-face and/or virtual formal meetings
  6. Assessing the benefits and difficulties between face-to-face meetings and virtual meetings
  7. Introducing basic concepts and rules from Robert’s Rules of Order and their role in meetings
  8. Documenting information obtained, discussions held, or decisions made in formal meetings in minutes

 INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

  1. Interpreting and applying accepted standards of conduct expected in a business setting
  2. Discussing conflicts arising from individual personalities vs those arising from workplace assignments and situations
  3. Applying conflict resolution theory and techniques when dealing with conflicts with co-workers or other internal departments
  4. Applying conflict resolution strategies for dealing with competing demands or deadlines from multiple supervisors
  5. Developing collaborative resolutions to conflicts 
  6. Negotiating ethically and fairly

Methods of Instruction

Students will learn through short lectures and discussion, and group activities. Peer assessments and self-assessments may be incorporated. Students may be required to do oral presentations in this course.

Means of Assessment

Employability skills (criterion based/assessed twice over semester) 0 - 10%
Task management notebook (assessed a minimum of twice over semester) 5 - 10%
Team-based assignments 10 - 30%
Individual assignments 0 - 15%
Team project 10 - 25%
Quiz(zes) and/or Midterm 10 - 25%
Final Exam 10 - 25%
Total 100%

Oral presentations may be assigned in this course, but students will not be assessed on elements of public speaking skills directly relating to formal, large group presentations.

Learning Outcomes

The learner has reliably demonstrated the ability to

  1. discuss and define the work expectations for administrative professionals;
  2. assess and prioritize work assignments based on workplace needs;
  3. prioritize work and meet deadlines;
  4. coordinate and manage small and large projects;
  5. apply analytical thinking models to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making;
  6. assess the appropriateness of teamwork versus individual work to achieve a goal;
  7. assess personal ability to contribute to a team;
  8. demonstrate ability to work in a team situation;
  9. participate as a productive member of a team to reach defined goals;
  10. participate in and conduct efficient informal or formal meetings;
  11. understand the importance of and use of appropriate interpersonal skills to resolve peer-to-peer issues, work task issues, and superviosr conflicts;
  12. develop collaborative decisions, determine the appropriateness of compromises, and apply negotiation techniques; and
  13. adhere to ethically and socially acceptable standards when making and implementing decisions.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.

assessments

If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.