Regardless of your industry sector, your company, or even the type of office you work in, somebody must be tasked with overseeing your workplace. And that in a nutshell, is what an office manager does. They support your work by greasing the wheels of your workplace and ensuring that everyone has whatever they need to get their job done.
Office managers are also typically expected to be the face of the office, and so the responsibility of greeting visitors, clients, and potential recruits typically falls to them too. And contrastingly, being an office manager can also mean organising all the behind-the-scenes paperwork so that people get paid on time and that everything is accounted for.
In short, office managers are expected to pay attention to the small details – like knowing if your office printer uses HP 65 ink or HP 67?
As you can see thus far, being an office manager is highly varied work. And we’ve done our best to summarise all of those variations below.
Here are the duties and responsibilities that you can expect from an office manager:
- General office management
- Accounting responsibilities
- Secretarial responsibilities
- Staff management
- Payroll responsibilities
- Customer service
- Policy and procedure
- IT and data management
1. General office management
When you’re managing an office, ensuring equipment and furniture stays in good condition will always be a concern. But the general responsibilities associated with office management also go so much further than just sourcing furniture.
On top of buying new office chairs when any happen to break, some of the other general responsibilities that an office manager can expect to bear every day include coordinating regular office maintenance and cleaning, negotiating vendor contracts, maintaining relationships with office supply vendors, organising bulk deliveries and installations, and paying all office bills and invoices.
2. Accounting responsibilities
If your office doesn’t have a designated bookkeeper, those responsibilities will likely fall to your office manager as well. Some expenses, like cleaning staff and salaries, will be automated and need very little attention, while contractors, client invoices, and petty cash movements will need to be taken down in expense reports, and compiled monthly.
Additionally, following up with payments, and pay adjustments may be necessary too. Your office manager will also be tasked with managing the comms associated with following up on pending payments or pay adjustments.
3. Secretarial responsibilities
The responsibilities of your office secretary will likely be dependent on the size of your office and its staff. But even if the office manager doesn’t directly organise appointments, meetings, travel expenses, and employee calendars, they’ll often have to delegate this work and keep tabs on it.
Beyond that, office managers may have to make announcements, make presentations to employees, and meet with clients. Being the face of an office or business can be busy work, so delegation and planning are the key elements to an office manager’s secretarial and administrative responsibilities.
4. Staff management
If you’re managing staff, chances are you’ll be screening applicants, coordinating their orientations, evaluating their performances, and– if necessary– terminating their employment. Training programs, introduction of intern or apprenticeship programs, and staff mediation and motivation are often lumped in too.
Staff management is often a separate job (or many separate jobs), so office managers will likely only contribute to staff management efforts if your office space and staff roster is on the smaller side.
5. Payroll responsibilities
Recording staff working hours, overtime hours, sick leave usage, and various other intricacies need to be done attentively and spotlessly. If employees aren’t getting the right pay and benefits, you’ll either hear about it from the employees, or from the tax office.
Thankfully, office managers that are tasked with managing payroll usually also have the assistance of an accountant, and various office management systems, so it’s rarely the daunting task that it might seem. Generally, the staff will submit their hours at the end of the fortnight, you’ll give it a look over, sign off on it, and the rest is automated (but again, this will vary by office style and sector).
6. Customer service
Client management and customer service is typically also organised by office managers, if not done by them directly. This can include addressing enquiries and complaints, directing them to specific staff members who may be able to take action on customer feedback, or following up on customer requests to determine whether customer pain points have been adequately addressed.
Any reports, filing and data management regarding clientele and customer feedback may also fall within the purview of an office manager. Once again, this may be dictated by the size of your company.
7. Policy and procedure
Though they may not be independently designing or planning policies, office managers may still be responsible for their uptake and for ensuring that staff are aware of what’s expected of them within the context of company policies and processes. This may require holding and planning meetings, releasing information on behalf of the company’s shareholders, or directly training staff members in accordance with company policies.
As a result, any cases of failure to adhere to company policy or national standards within the company or even by contractors, may actually put office managers at fault as well. For this reason, it’s important that office managers maintain a strong awareness of the policies and procedures of their office.
8. IT and data management
Liasing with the IT department or staff members is necessary to keep up to date with security risks, employee usage, and potential inefficiencies in any business. This may inform the purchasing of equipment, or the presentations and information releases that are developed by office managers.
And naturally, IT estate management and network security strategising must also involve communicating any cybersecurity policies and best practices to both on-site and remote staff. This is typically achieved through the development of training materials, which is once again usually created and conducted by office managers.
That being said, you don’t need expert knowledge of computers to be an office manager. A willingness to learn should be more than enough to tick off this box.
Although there are many more things that an office manager may be expected to do, and many more skills they may be expected to use, the scope of their role is largely dictated by the size and nature of their workplace. Yes, you might see qualities like judgement, accuracy, delegation, staffing, creativity, and empathy on a required skills list, but if you’re the type who can juggle many tasks, and do so with grace, then you’re likely to make an excellent office manager yourself.
Written by HR Future Staff Writer.