One definition of a rock star is “anyone who is highly admired.” That statement could not be truer in reference to the one person in your office who literally is the glue holding everyone together … the office manager. This “unsung hero” has a role that is skyrocketing in importance as a company’s environment and culture ambassador. So what goes into making an office manager irreplaceable and what are the necessary skills needed to take on this often overlooked and underappreciated role? Once you understand what it takes to take this position on, you will want to celebrate him/her and their place as a trusted partner in the success of your company!
What Is An Office Manager?
There is no one single definition of an office manager. Look how the descriptions vary among 3 well-known job sites:
- Office Managers make sure that the office runs smoothly, which includes keeping supplies in stock, making sure administrative and office staff are doing their job, working with vendors, planning events, making sure the facilities are clean, orderly, and safe, and analyzing supply and energy consumption to determine cost-saving and efficiency savings.
- Supports company operations by maintaining office systems and supervising staff.
- Our busy, client-focused office needs a reliable, well-organized Office Manager to handle day-to-day operations with a focus on efficiency and time management. The Office Manager will be responsible for developing intra-office communication protocols, streamlining administrative procedures, inventory control, office staff supervision and task delegation. An energetic professional who doesn’t mind wearing multiple hats.
But one trait is consistent – the office manager is responsible for ensuring that the office runs smoothly while overseeing a large number of tasks at the same time. If you’re proficient in multi-tasking for yourself as well as an entire company, then maybe this is the perfect position for you!
“The office manager is responsible for ensuring that the office runs smoothly while overseeing a large number of tasks at the same time.”
What Does an Office Manager Do?
Really the question should be ‘what can’t an office manager do?’ There are so many different duties, and they can vary significantly based on the size and type of business.
The most recognized responsibilities of the office manager are that of overseeing office staff, making sure that employees are doing their jobs, and that assignments are completed and goals met in a timely manner. But in today’s office environment, the role of the office manager continues to evolve can encompass the following tasks:
- organizing department or company-wide activities,
- training support staff,
- interviewing potential new-hires or firing employees,
- resolving disputes or issues among employees,
- reviewing office documents and contracts with vendors,
- handle payroll, send invoices, manage overtime,
- reporting sales numbers or stats among employees,
- audits of the overall office operations,
- managing and ordering assets/inventory.
The role of the office manager isn’t an easy one. Office managers must be adept at supervising other employees in a fair, consistent manner. They must have the ability to motivate others, encouraging them to increase both productivity and work quality. Being a good listener is a must. Employees often look to the office manager to help resolve disputes, give advice or simply be an objective ear. Overall, the office manager should be dependable, able to handle all varieties of situations, be detail-oriented and take initiative and lead the office in a responsible, efficient and worry-free manner.
Misconceptions of the Office Manager
Within the office, people often have the misconception that it’s the job of the office manager to do everything that the other employees don’t want to do. This can range from cleaning up employees’ messes or tackling the open “to do” list items employees don’t enjoy. It can be very easy for the office manager to get bogged down with tasks that aren’t necessarily required of them and they shouldn’t be handling.
The office manager needs to set the rules from the beginning of what their job and responsibilities are and ensure that other members of the team understand and respect that. While the office manager does wear many hats, employees still need to be responsible for their own jobs and tasks and not “hand off” unwanted items to the office manager thinking it’s their “job” to do it for them.
Top Skills of Rock Star Office Managers
As discussed, the office manager is not a “one trick pony.” He/she has to be willing and able to take on just about anything they are tasked with – with a few exceptions of course. The office manager role requires some specific skills in order to successfully run a smooth office environment, and those skills are constantly changing.
- Communication Skills.
You will be collaborating with co-workers, management, direct reports and in some cases customers. The ability to listen and communicate effectively is of utmost importance. Office managers must be able to listen to others so they fully understand their needs and concerns and can help resolve issues and come up with positive outcomes.
- Leadership Skills
Running a business, department or an office requires solid leadership skills. Office managers are in charge of the support staff and need to motivate, discipline and resolve conflicts on a regular basis. They also need strategies to accomplish tasks and overcome obstacles. In order to be an effective leader, they need to inspire fellow employees to do their best as they work toward a common goal that is good for the whole company.
- Analytical Skills
You don’t need a degree in accounting to be a good office manager, but you do need to have a basic understanding of business finance. Inventory control, sales, payroll, and taxes are at the foundation of every business. It’s important to have a sense of money coming in and going out and the financial health of your business. Office managers should always be looking at how the company can save money. Office managers are consistently tasked with finding inefficiencies and cost-savings as part of their day-to-day job.
- Technology Skills
No modern office runs well without modern technology. With the increasing use of computer systems and related software, office managers may also be responsible for ensuring that systems operate cohesively. In small offices that don’t have their own IT support personnel or a help/desk, office managers may need computer systems troubleshooting skills. There are so many different software platforms available that handle a number of different tasks — file and database maintenance, asset and inventory tracking and management, accounting and sales tracking. A working knowledge of what your company uses or should be considering is helpful.
For the Office Manager – How To Make Your Job Easier
Office managers have a variety of tools at their disposal to make their job easier — from continuing education classes to software specially designed to help manage daily activities. Here are three options that are simplifying and streamlining the role of the office manager to make it more manageable:
Customer relationship management or CRM, is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM solution helps you focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people — including customers, service users, colleagues, or suppliers — throughout your lifecycle with them, including finding new customers, winning their business, and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship.
Asset and inventory tracking is becoming more prevalent in all office environments. Companies need to know what assets they own, where they are and the condition they are in. Today’s asset tracking technology goes beyond check in/check out to provide anytime/anywhere access to the real-time information office managers and employees need about their assets. Platforms such as Asset Panda use free mobile apps which are synced with the cloud in tandem with a built-in mobile scanner that can be used on employees’ own smartphones and tablets. Asset Panda allows an unlimited number of users to have direct access to the entire lifecycle of an asset 24/7.
Users can access notes and records of repairs, upcoming maintenance, and prior problems. View asset location(s) with GPS tracking. Take photos and videos or set alerts for specific assets. With better information, you can work smarter and avoid things like asset duplications or unnecessary replacements – which in the end saves your company both time and money.
Social Media Management
Social media is becoming a standard activity for many businesses. Companies are looking to increase their online presence and have found that social media is definitely a way to increase awareness and keep customers and employees engaged. But many companies don’t have the finances to hire an in-house social media manager, so that role is often falling to the office manager.
There are classes and online learning outlets that can aid the office manager in the basics of social media. Many times questions/comments come through social media that require immediate answers or some sort of customer service function, and the office manager can handle those queries or route them to the right department or person. Organizing paid advertising campaigns and reporting analytics to show the effectiveness of campaigns is also becoming more common for the office manager to handle.
So if you didn’t realize it before, maybe now you do … the office manager truly is indeed, a rock star! With so many items on their plate, finding the right combination of tools to make their job easier is key. Technology platforms like Asset Panda, continuing education classes and a general understanding of what the job really entails will help your office manager create a positive and thriving environment for everyone.
If you’re interested in learning more about how asset and inventory tracking can assist your office manager and save your company time and money, visit www.assetpanda.com and sign up for a free 14-day trial.
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