NVQ Level 3: Working in a Business Environment
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 Page
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.
Outcome 1: Understand the Purpose and Benefits of Respecting and Supporting Other People at Work
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 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 in 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.
- 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 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 they 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 you 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.
Outcome 2: Understand How to Maintain Security and Confidentiality at Work and Deal With Concerns
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 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 Acts cover issues of workplace confidentiality and information.
2.3 Outline Legal Requirements for Security and Confidentiality as Required
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:
- 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 proceduresfor 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
Outcome 3: Understand How to Assess, Manage and Monitor Risk in the Workplace
3.1 Describe Sources of Risk in an Organisation, Including Health and Safety
Sources of risk include:
- 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.
Outcome 4: Understand the Purpose of Keeping Waste to a Minimum in a Business Environment, and the Procedures to Follow
4.1 Describe the Purpose and Benefits of Keeping Workplace Waste to a Minimum
Keep waste to a minimum in the work place.
- Use time efficiently
- Distribute office supplies wisely and discourage theft
- Save energy by turning of 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 re-purpose office supplies when possible, for instance by re-using 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.
Outcome 5: Understand Procedures for Disposal of Hazardous Materials
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.
Outcome 6: Understand Ways of Supporting Sustainability in an Organisation
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.