What does it take to be a successful office manager?

Office managers are responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly in the office. They coordinate schedules, handle employee issues, negotiate with suppliers and work hard to ensure everyone gets along within the company culture.

They may be the first person that team members talk to when they arrive at work each day. Office managers are responsible for keeping businesses running smoothly. They oversee many aspects of daily operations, including hiring new staff and ensuring all necessary duties are completed on time and within the office budget. 

Office managers need to know every employee's schedule, or at least, they have access to everyone's schedules. They plan, coordinate, and control the smooth running of a wide range of office activities. Those in an office manager role need to know how to manage processes, procedures, documentation, project management and communications. He or she also needs to understand supervision, training, and administration, and how they can benefit the business.

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Qualities that make a good office manager

Office managers know the ins and outs of the office. They oversee daily operations at the office, are great problem-solvers and are true masters of coordination.

Interpersonal & Communications skills

Communication is essential to being successful with office manager responsibilities. An effective office manager works closely with many people, including new hires, departmental managers, administrative staff, those who provide office supplies and even top executives. They must be able to communicate effectively to resolve conflict and provide clear direction. They may also be required to offer secretarial support to senior stakeholders.

Multi-tasking skills

Office managers would be pulled left, right and center every other day by different people in the office, requesting information and asking for advice, from changing the printer ink, to finding stationery, checking on courier packages and even finding out about the boss's day. They need to juggle different tasks without losing focus and work independently without having to be micro-managed.

Time management skills

A person who doesn't manage their time properly will be overwhelmed by the amount of work that piles up. Office managers should know how to manage their time effectively on a daily basis. They should be able to schedule tasks properly and plan ahead for upcoming deadlines.

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Organizational skills

Good organizational skills allow office managers to take charge of their workload, and ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner.

Administrative skills

Many of the tasks on the job description of office managers may be administrative in nature. For example, answering phones, taking messages, purchasing office equipment, working with relevant software and filing paperwork.

Office managers may also draft documents, help with payroll, keep an organized office environment and communicate via phone, email and fax (yes, some companies are still using fax machines). These skills can help you succeed as an office manager regardless of the relevant business sector.

They are proficient use of all Microsoft tools and have great calendar management experience.

An office manager is responsible for overseeing every aspect of an office. He or she must oversee finances, payroll, and other administrative tasks. The office manager may be required to compile data from other departments like finance to create various reports. If an office manager is looking to upskill, they can consider Basic accounting and finance knowledge to help perform various duties.

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What are the characteristics of a good office manager?

Office managers should be patient, empathetic and high in emotional intelligence. They need to check in with their workers regularly and offer support and encouragement to every office team member. When a manager doesn't have people skills, they won't inspire the team to achieve success.

An office manager needs to be friendly and approachable. Level-headedness is very important when working as an office manager. Managing employees and maintaining a calm demeanor is essential, and will also help when training staff for new responsibilities.

Office managers should always expand their knowledge. There are many ways to achieve this, including reading management literature, attending seminars, company events or conferences, keeping up-to-date with technology and taking courses.

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What does an office manager do?

Duties for office managers vary according to the size of the employing organization, so it could mean organizing, planning and overseeing a large pool of administrative assistants or working with one or two people in a smaller office.

Regardless of the size of the organization, an office manager must be able to motivate and encourage employees to increase both productivity and work quality and to take on extra responsibilities if required.

Duties can include organizing meetings and arranging appointments, dealing with correspondence, ordering stationery and furniture, preparing letters, presentations and reports, supervising and monitoring the work of the team, managing office budgets and, if relevant, working alongside other administrative managers.

Liaising with staff, suppliers and clients will be a regular duty, and there will often be a need to chair meetings and allocate leadership roles among the staff. In larger organizations, there could also be a chance to become involved in special projects.

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What does the career path for an office manager look like?

Office management qualifications are useful for many reasons. You can use them to show off your skills and knowledge and step up from the office administrator role. Some people choose to take office management qualifications on-site, while others prefer distance learning or in-house training. Low-cost training courses are available online.

Office managers should take advantage of certifications to highlight their knowledge and administrative skills. Certificates demonstrate that a person has mastered administrative procedures.

As a general rule, the role of office manager can lead to more senior management positions later in a career, as well as a chance to move from company to company if required.

Read more:
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