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How to be an office manager

If the thought of overseeing an office intrigues you or you do this now but want to be better at your job, do you know how to be an office manager? Being an office manager often means one has a fair amount of responsibility on their plate. That being said, the rewards can be rather good. So, whether you’re starting out or looking to improve how you go about managing an office, what must you do to get to where you want to be?


What does an office manager do?

Expect to cover a lot of bases

According to, there are more than 75,000 office managers in control of a wide range of offices across the United States. Needless to say, no two business offices are exactly alike. As such, it is important for office managers to be able to handle many responsibilities. It also means one will need to display a variety of skills and also the ability to adapt to their office environment. In being the best office manager, you’ll first want to make sure you can cover the responsibilities needed for such a post.
For some jobs, one is tasked with having a specific responsibility and not much else. Office managers often need a range of skills to cover their responsibilities. Depending on what is asked of you in the office you are managing, such responsibilities can mean:
  • The ability to take control of a situation and not panic.
  • A good sense of handling financial needs such as payroll, health benefits, and more.
  • Overseeing human resources needs, such as vacation time/days off, internal conflict between two employees, promotions and dismissals, and more.
  • Ordering supplies for the office and working with different vendors.
  • Scheduling office meetings.
  • Knowing the daily schedule of upper management.
  • Maintaining key office files.
  • Making sure the office is secure at all times. This includes being properly locked up when no one is in the office.
  • Understanding the different personalities that make up the office. While it is not your job to be a psychologist, you’ll need to be aware of who is approachable and who you may need to be more careful with.

Take time to think before you act

Okay, those are but a few of the areas you will likely need to maneuver when managing an office. It’s important to use common sense when you are in charge of making sure the workplace needs flow smoothly. Even when you feel you have a myriad of skills, commonsense will often rear its head. When it does, make sure you think things through so you come up with the best solution possible.
For example, one employee is coming in late all too often and/or leaving work earlier than they should. So, what do you do? While some office managers may go to the employee’s supervisor, what if they do not have a supervisor in the office? If the big boss, i.e. the owner of the company, is in charge of them, should you go to the former to handle the matter? Chances are, they are quite busy with all they have to do in owning the business. As a result, you may need to handle this matter. The common sense thing to do would be to take the employee aside and discuss the matter calmly.
Let them know that they can’t continue to set their own agenda while others in the company follow the rules. Often, such a discussion will register with an employee and they will correct the matter. If they do not, then it would make sense to go to the top person in charge. Common sense also says that you do not play favorites in the workplace.
Sure, you may have one or more employees you are closer to. Yes, you might even be friends with them outside of work and hang out on occasion. But do not let such relationships become all too obvious when on the job.
Playing favorites when managing an office can set the wrong tone. Like cliques that oftentimes develop in high school, you do not want an office clique forming. Such a thing can be bad for both office production and morale. Always remember to keep things professional in the workplace. Treat each person with respect and care.

Leave the door open to professional and personal growth

You always want to leave the door open to growth when being an office manager. That means you consider taking some online courses or going to school in person. Such coursework can include sessions in business management, human resources, payroll and health benefits, and more.
By leaving the door open to more education, you can get more skills under your belt. Doing this can mean potential salary and responsibility gains at your current employer. It can also mean the chance to go elsewhere and exceed your options and expectations of where you work now.
Finally, take advantage of networking events throughout the year. Whether in person or virtual, these events bring working people together. That is with other office managers from across the country and perhaps globally. Sharing ideas can benefit you and make you an even more appreciated office manager for your boss.
In learning how to be an office manager or to improve your current position, do you have what it takes to manage an office? Make sure to keep these skills in the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be well on your way to being a successful office manager. 

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