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NVQ Level 3: Working in a Business Environment

Livingsta shares her positive experience in business administration, customer service, and education.

Working in a Business Environment is a Group A, three-credit mandatory unit for the Level 3 National Vocational Qualification diploma in Business and Administration, offered in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This module helps the candidate achieve a thorough understanding of interpersonal dynamics, workplace safety, efficiency, sustainability and security.

This article will address each of the module's outcomes, explain what they mean, and how to achieve them. It will help you gain an understanding of what candidates are generally expected to write. Depending on your specific job, you will have to modify what's written here for your own work and organization when preparing your own portfolio.

How to Use This Article

This article covers Unit 303 for the NVQ Level 3 diploma in Business and Administration, which covers elements of communication in a workplace setting.

This guide is informative and meant to walk you through the process of compiling your own portfolio. Do not directly copy anything here for your file, as your file needs to be tailored to the specifics of your job and organisation. Copying the language from this article directly is not only dishonest, but it will weaken your file.

1.1 Explain the Purpose of Supporting Other People at Work

Teamwork contributes to the overall success of the organization. As an individual, you should consider how your actions help or hinder your team's objectives. Similarly, your team has a role as part of a department or a company’s overall objectives. Individuals on a team need to support each other and see each other's work as their own.

Teamwork has many advantages:

  • It can be more rewarding than individual work, because success is shared and amplified among a group.
  • When members of a team support each other, things get done faster.
  • If you are struggling with an individual task, you can ask a co-worker for help, and vice versa.
  • A sense of shared responsibility will encourage people to take their tasks seriously so as not to let down their colleagues.

1.2 Explain the Purpose of Helping Other People to Work Effectively and Efficiently

Helping other people at work improves productivity, intra-office relationships and morale. Moreover, supportive and collaborative workplaces are more efficient, as working together hastens problem-solving and ensures deadlines are met.

Working with other individuals helps you:

  • Communicate more effectively and learn to respect others.
  • Share work goals, objectives, priorities and responsibilities.
  • Work in a way that makes the best use of your particular abilities, allowing team members to specialise in their personal strengths.
  • Solve problems more quickly and effectively.
  • Deliver work on time and within budget.
  • Receive and provide feedback, helping everyone on the team improve.

This element also asks that you understand the purpose of working with other organisations, such as a different company or a different department within your company. Working with other organizations helps you:

  • Understand different work ethics and values and how to adapt to different expectations.
  • Learn new strategies for problems similar to your own.
  • Get exposed to new services or technologies.
  • Share information and seek advice.

1.3 Explain What Is Meant by Diversity and Why It Should Be Valued

Valuing diversity in a business environment means respecting colleagues regardless of their race, gender, heritage, customs, beliefs, sexuality, physical appearance, mental or physical capabilities, and so forth.

In today's working world, we all have to work with people who are different from ourselves in either background or belief. Not only should you tolerate such differences, but you should understand the ways in which they enrich an organisation.

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Diverse workplaces:

  • Expose people to different value systems, work ethics and personality types and learn new ways to approach problems.
  • Contain a variety of views and opinions, forcing everyone to refine and modify their own stances while taking into account other's points of view.
  • Find creative solutions to problems, taking in input from a variety of angles.

1.4 Outline the Benefits of Diversity to an Organisation

The success of an organization depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits.

Benefits of workplace diversity:

  • You get a variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing and the allocation of resources.
  • Employees from diverse backgrounds bring a variety of talents, experiences and outlooks.

Research shows that diversity isn't just good from a human-relations perspective, but can add real value to businesses and contribute to the bottom line.

1.5 Explain How to Treat Other People in a Way That Is Sensitive to Their Needs

This one is pretty simple: treat others the way you would like to be treated if you were in their situation. Treating colleagues with kindness means:

  • Being empathetic and relating to the way someone feels.
  • Listening closely and carefully.
  • Asking what people need and trying to meet those needs.

Try to imagine yourself in another person's shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were them. By doing so, you can usually figure out how that person would like to be treated. When in doubt, be as kind and courteous as possible.

No matter what you do, though, some people are going to be irritating, frustrating or mean, and you will have to learn how to deal with them. Consider the following:

  • Before you judge someone, try giving them the benefit of the doubt. You may be the one at fault, or they may have something going on in their personal life that's causing them to act out at work.
  • Try to speak to them more often and see how they respond. You may just have to get to know each other better.
  • If all else fails, adopt an attitude of aloof toleration and continue to show the person the type of respect you would like to receive.

1.6 Explain How to Treat Other People in a Way That Respects Their Abilities, Background, Values, Customs and Beliefs

In order to function at work and in your personal life, you need to constantly consider people's opinions and feelings.

In order to achieve this, you need to:

  • Understand other people’s views and where they come from. Ask them questions about why they see things the way they do.
  • Be sensitive and diplomatic. Think before you speak and ask yourself if what you're about to say would offend someone.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Take into consideration others' social and cultural backgrounds, both as a way to understand them better and to be more tactful.
  • Listen to others during disagreements.

Different people will have different values and priorities, and you need to be thoughtful about how your language and demeanor in the workplace are respectful of that diversity.

1.7 Describe Ways in Which It Is Possible to Learn From Others at Work

Learning from others is very important in business. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, skills and talents. Different people follow different strategies to solve difficult problems. You should take every opportunity to learn from co-workers to sharpen your skills and learn new ones.

Here are some ways you can learn from others at work:

  • Pay attention to how your colleagues act and react in difficult situations.
  • Ask for a demonstration when you want to learn how to do something.
  • Request guidance when you're struggling or are unsure about how to move forward.
  • Try to meet new people at work who can teach you new skills.
  • Ask for your colleagues' opinions on your work and ask them for career advice.
  • Network both in and out of the office.
  • Build positive relationships with colleagues and superiors.
  • Use high-achieving people as a source of inspiration.

2.1 Outline the Purpose and Benefits of Maintaining Security and Confidentiality at Work

  • Information and data security mean protecting digital material and sensitive paperwork from unauthorised access. The computer systems where data is stored should be protected. Information security includes both legal privacy requirements and business-specific standards.
  • Networks are protected by both technology and the people who use them. Know what information at your workplace is confidential and who can have access to it. Never give information to someone who shouldn't have access.
  • Data related to recruitment, compensation and management of employees is highly sensitive and confidential. In the wrong hands, such information could be used to commit fraud or identity theft.
  • Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. Employees must not disclose information about the organisation or fellow workers without authorisation.

2.2 Outline Requirements for Security and Confidentiality in an Organisation

Confidentiality and information security are important functions of any organisation. Information leaks can lead to legal troubles or a loss of revenue.

The requirements for security and confidentiality are:

  • All information should be in its true and original form and not doctored or dishonestly modified in any way.
  • An organisation should be prepared to give access to systems that store, process and deliver information to the right people at the right time.

All companies should have their own policies and procedures regarding security and confidentiality, and all employees must abide by these policies and procedures. The Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and Consumer Rights Act cover issues of workplace confidentiality and information.

Every organisation should be careful about how they handle their data.

Data information flowing in and out of the company can be in any of the following forms:

  • E-mails
  • Letters and post
  • Paper files
  • Course documentation
  • Verbal conversations
  • Memory sticks and discs
  • Computer files
  • Refuse and trash

The following may be considered sensitive material in that it carries an individual's personal details:

  • Curriculum vitae and resumes
  • Financial information of customers and staff
  • Health information
  • Personal information obtained through verbal conversation
  • Naming of service users during training

You should know your organisation's protocol for handling sensitive material. Some general guidelines:

  • With temporary office staff, clients and visitors, share only what is essential for their business, and be sure temporary staff know company policy regarding confidentiality.
  • Think before taking information out of the office, including computers, memory sticks and paper documents.
  • If information has to be released, only reveal what is absolutely necessary, and nothing more.
  • Ensure safe disposal of data and documents.
  • Inform senior staff if you have any concerns regarding security or confidentiality

The following legislation concerns data protection and confidentiality:

  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Common Law of Confidentiality

2.4 Describe Procedures for Dealing With Concerns About Security and Confidentiality in an Organisation

Every employee should be made aware of the rules and regulations of their organisation. If you find that there is something happening in your office that could be a risk or violation, you need to report to the correct department or superior.

The procedures for dealing with concerns about security and confidentiality in an organisation are:

  • Identify potential problems.
  • Identify potential loss due to a problem.
  • Determine possible preventative measures.

3.1 Describe Sources of Risk in an Organisation, Including Health and Safety

Sources of risk include:

  • Accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Fire, including electrical issues
  • Heavy lifting
  • Burglary and theft
  • Disclosing private and restricted computer data
  • Unauthorized use of the Internet

Be aware of these risks and know who at your organisation should be reported to.

3.2 Explain How to Assess and Monitor Risks in an Organisation

  • Identify and evaluate potential risks by ensuring that tested policies and procedures are in place to effectively manage them.
  • Given that accidents can and will occur, have a plan ready to deal with them, thereby avoiding them to become bigger issues.

3.3 Describe Ways of Minimising Risk in an Organisation

Accidents and other problems can and will happen. With flexible structures and controls in place, you can minimise the risk of greater catastrophe. Also, keep abreast of safety procedures and office maintenance, which can minimise the risk of accidents happening at work.

4.1 Describe the Purpose and Benefits of Keeping Workplace Waste to a Minimum

Keep waste to a minimum in the workplace.

  • Use time efficiently.
  • Distribute office supplies wisely and discourage theft.
  • Save energy by turning off lights, computers and other appliances when not in use.
  • Recycle paper and other recyclable waste.

Taking these steps will keep workplaces tidy and save organisations money.

4.2 Describe the Main Causes of Waste That May Occur in a Business Environment

  • When leaving the room or office, make sure the lights are off.
  • Minimise paper waste and excessive use of disposable office supplies. Only print out documents when necessary and try to switch to paperless, digital work.

4.3 Describe Ways of Minimising Waste, Including Using Technology and Other Procedures

  • Keep the faxes, printers and copiers in good working order, so paper and time are not wasted if they break. Order good quality paper that is the recommended weight for office machines.
  • Change fax and copier settings so they do not print the confirmation page or other extraneous paper.
  • Ask employees to sweep their desks periodically for excess pens, sticky labels and other supplies.
  • Order only a limited amount of supplies for a short period.
  • Advise employees not to take supplies home.
  • Don't make excessive copies.
  • Organize supplies and remove out-of-date ones.

4.4 Explain the Purpose and Benefits of Recycling

Recycling is the process by which waste material is repurposed into usable goods.

  • Offices should have a recycling program in place, by which paper, plastic, glass and metal can be recycled instead of being thrown away, and employees should be encouraged to recycle as much trash as possible.
  • When possible, offices should purchase office supplies—such as paper goods—made from post-consumer recycled materials.
  • Reuse or repurpose office supplies when possible, for instance, by reusing printed documents as scratch paper.


  • Reduces solid waste, thereby conserving natural resources such as trees.
  • Helps reduce global warming and pollution.
  • Reduces the size of landfills.
  • Helps save money.

4.5 Describe Organisational Procedures for Recycling Materials, and Their Purpose

It is important for your organisation to recycle both to reduce its environmental impact and to set a good example for employees. Every office will have its own procedures and policies for recycling, which should be available through your office manager, employee handbook or signs around the office.

4.6 Describe Ways in Which Waste May Be Minimised by Regularly Maintaining Equipment

  • All machines have a period within which they must be serviced and certified for use. When these checks are performed regularly, machines last longer, saving money for the organisation.
  • Well-maintained machines also consume less power.

5.1 Explain the Purpose of Procedures for the Recycling and Disposal of Hazardous Materials

  • If you work in a medical or science facility or in an industrial environment, you may frequently come into contact with hazardous waste.
  • If you do not work in such a place, you may still have to deal with materials that can injure or infect you or your co-workers. For example, emergency first-aid procedures should include a protocol for handling blood or vomit safely.

The exact procedure will vary from office to office and will depend on what types of risks you are most likely to face.

5.2 Describe Procedures for the Recycling and Disposal of Hazardous Materials for an Organisation

  • Know the proper receptacles for any type of dangerous waste, such as needles, bandages or chemical waste.
  • In some situations, you may need to report emergencies to a designated point person or contact emergency services.

6.1 Explain the Benefits to an Organisation of Improving Efficiency and Minimising Waste Over Time

Good environmental practices can reduce company costs by reducing the use of new materials, energy, water and packaging.

  • To save energy, switch off machines and lights at night.
  • Switch to energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs when possible. Look for machines with an Energy Star label.
  • Save water by investing in water-efficient plumbing, fixing leaks and encouraging employees to conserve water.
  • If you package products, minimise the amount of paper and styrofoam used.

6.2 Describe Ways of Continuously Improving Working Methods and Use of Technology to Achieve Maximum Efficiency and Minimum Waste

  • When possible, switch from paper to digital communication, such as email or texting.
  • For documents, consider using cloud storage instead of printing things out for files. This will depend on your office's policies about cloud storage and digital security (not all confidential documents can be stored on any cloud storage platform).
  • Only print the final version of a document, and edit writing on a word processor.

6.3 Outline Ways of Selecting Sources of Materials and Equipment that Give Best Value for Money

Efficiency and durability help reduce consumption of power, spending on spare parts and repair, thus saving money for the organisation.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


David John on March 28, 2019:

Thanks for giving this sort of nice information with all of us and please keep us updated in future also. I want to share some information about the Office Management Course in Delhi which will enhance your knowledge regarding Office Management. For more details, you can also search for Drona Training Academy on Google.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on October 04, 2017:

Hi, here is the learning material for "Working in a business environment." Hope this helps!

Muh on September 25, 2017:

Can i have the assessment and learning material for this course;

NVQ Level 3: Working in a Business Environment?

nausheen on June 02, 2017:

i need answer on unit 1 , 2 ,3 ,4, 5

Mihail on January 16, 2017:

Do you have any answers for Unit 39: Support Environmental Sustainability in a Business Environment ? Because I can't find nothing.

All I need is from 1.1 to 1.5. thanks

Daivd on January 09, 2016:

Hi, was wondering if you still monitor this page? could do with some help on one of my question - follow organisational procedures and legal requirements in relation to discrimination legislation in own work. Any help would be much appreciated.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Gus, you're welcome. Sorry that I did not respond to your query earlier. I am hoping that you have completed the requested unit and qualification successfully. Take care and all the best! :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

You're welcome J! All the best! :)

Gus on March 04, 2015:

Hi livingsta,

These pages are fantastic by the way and are really helping me towards completing my NVQ. I'm also wondering if you have done unit 221 - use office equipment, because I'm really struggling with the questions for that one. My deadlines 12th March.

Thank you so much!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 19, 2015:

Hello Nikki,

Thank you for stopping by. I am sorry I have not done that unit, but can have a look for you. Do you have a deadline on that unit?

I look forward to hearing from you. All the best!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 19, 2015:

Hello DD, thank you for stopping by. I do have that hub on draft. Will be publishing it in another two days or so. All the best and do leave your comments to say if it was helpful. Thank you again!

Nikki on January 14, 2015:

Hi I was wondering if you have done unit 221 use office equipment


dd on January 14, 2015:

hi have you any guidance on unit 229 meet and welcome visitors it would be greatly appreciated

J on August 13, 2014:

Really helped out. Thanks

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello JJ,

I will have a look into this for you and see if I can quickly publish a hub :)

All the best!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Danny, sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Could you please mention the name of the unit? All the best

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Bartek,

I am assuming that you are referring to the unit "Respond to change in a business environment". I am hoping it is not too late. I have just now managed to get around and look at the comments. I will be publishing the above unit in the next two days. All the best.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Robert, thank you for pointing this out to me, I will have a look at this and update. All the best :)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

You're welcome Hannah, all the best :) x

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2014:

Hello Becky, sorry, I will have a look into this and update as soon as possible. Thank you for pointing this out to me :)

JJ on June 20, 2014:


Thank's a lot for the help but i've done this unit already i was wondering if you have unit 221 Use office equipment and unit 206 as well ?? Thank you ;)

danny boon on May 14, 2014:

please help

Bartek Dedek from Leicester, United Kingdom on May 01, 2014:

Respond to Change in a Business Environment / unit 57

please help!!!!

Robert on March 04, 2014:

Hey, this was helpful at times to get an idea of how much I should expect to type but some of your answers wasn't answering the questions that well, for example in 6.1 your answer was mostly ways how to rather than benefits.

Still, good work though, I'm trying to get through quite a large amount of units so defiantly helpful to get an idea of what's expected.

hannah on February 13, 2014:

Amazing help, many thanks x

Becky on November 21, 2013:

In 2.1 'Security at work place' you only described what maintaining security was, you didn't really outline the purpose of why we maintain security and what the benefits are of doing so?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on October 02, 2013:

Hi Anna, thank you. I did not do unit 310 as it had very few credits. I can get it ready if you need. Please respond if you need help. All the best!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on July 15, 2013:

Hello Sam J, thank you and all the best :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on July 15, 2013:

Hi Sam, thank you. I am glad this was helpful. All the best :-)

SAM J on July 10, 2013:


Sam on July 10, 2013:

Really helpful information. Thanks a lot

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on July 01, 2013:

Han, you're welcome!

Han on July 01, 2013:

Hi, theres no need now but thanks anyway.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 14, 2013:

Hi Han from tokyo drift, sorry, I do not have it with me in hand, but if you need, I can have a look through that unit for you. Please get back to me if you need!

Thank you and all the best.

han from tokyo drift on June 13, 2013:

Hi, do you have any guidance with regards to meeting and welcoming visitors?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi staying2l8, thank you. I am so pleased that you found this helpful and that was the reason why I shared my work here. It was quite difficult for me when I started. All the research and time spent, it was quite time consuming and stressful. I eventually got the idea of how to work on it and hope you are doing too!

I wish you all the best.

staying2l8 on May 30, 2013:

Thank you for this it has really helped speed things up. I use it for inspirational purposes only but I really needed help with starting the questions, once or twice I have cut and paste and I written my above the paragraph, referencing as I’ve gone along. I wish I had known about this from the start

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 13, 2013:

Hi Mariam, you need to write up the units according to your job role and organisation profile. You can follow this, but not copy word by word as they check your units to see if they have been copied. The induction pack that you received will have details relevant to that.

All the best, take care!

Mariam on March 13, 2013:


Thank you for your hard work. I copied and past the information but changed in way that it was relevent to my placement. Is it ok?

Please reply I am very nervouse about doing so without clear permission

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on February 27, 2013:

You're welcome Nicole. Glad it was helpful!

Nicole on February 27, 2013:

This was a perfect guideline to help me put my own thoughts and knowledge into words, thank you so much.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on February 26, 2013:

I am glad it helped Thomas, you're welcome!

Thomas on February 25, 2013:

Thank you so much for this help!! :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on February 13, 2013:

You're welcome Kath, I am glad it helped!

Kath on February 13, 2013:

Thank you! Helped a lot!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 10, 2013:

You're welcome Rohail!

rohail on January 10, 2013:

thanks for giving information

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 08, 2013:

Thank you JHJ, I am so glad it was helpful. It can be quite confusing at the start, but when you start and finish each unit, you will get a grasp of what is required. All the best :-)

JHJ on January 08, 2013:

Thank you so much! I am doing this NVQ by choice! I am nearly 50 and have done my job for years, but these days you have to have proof! I have never done an NVQ before, it is very different to the college courses I have taken, your hub has given me an idea of what is required.

Again, Thank you

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 07, 2013:

Thank you Jessicabx, I am glad it helped. I need to look through points 7+ to see what they are. Sorry you could not find them here!

jessicabx on January 07, 2013:

thank you this really helped, although i was needing help more on points 7+ so having to search the web for help with them.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 03, 2013:

Thank you Chelsea, I am glad it helped!

Chelsea on January 02, 2013:

So glad I came across this, helped me a lot! Thankyou!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on December 19, 2012:

Thank you Palmersglass! :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on December 05, 2012:

You're welcome Sara, I am glad it was helpful!

sara on December 05, 2012:

Thankyou for your guidelines. really helped me

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on December 02, 2012:

Thank you Jordan, glad it was helpful!

Jordan on November 30, 2012:

Really helpful thank you

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on November 01, 2012:

Thank you Samira, I am glad it helped!

Samira Noori on October 31, 2012:

Absolutely fantastic it is really helpful.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on October 16, 2012:

Thank you EJ, I am so glad it was helpful. My whole aim in publishing these hubs was to help people who will be looking for advise and guidance out there while doing their NVQs.

EJ on October 16, 2012:

Extremely helpful for my own NVQ - Thanks

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on October 11, 2012:

Thank you Scott!

Scott Storick on October 10, 2012:

nice thought

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on July 25, 2012:

Thank you Kendal, I am glad it helped!

kendal on July 25, 2012:

Thankyou for your guidelines. really helped me

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