Office managers are crucial to businesses because they are responsible for making sure that operations run smoothly. Essentially, they can be seen as a “jack of all trades” because they help out with a little bit of everything in an office setting. From making sure that all office supplies are well-stocked and ordering new ones when necessary, to making sure that business records are up to date, these professionals must be team players, able to multitask, and work well under stress.
Companies rely on office managers to maintain productivity in an office environment and foster a good quality of life at work. A good office manager will not only have office-related skills, he or she will also have strong leadership abilities and an ample amount of patience.
Source: Wealth Management
To become a successful office manager, there are several things one should have to stay competitive in the changing job market. The five most important assets of an office manager include education and experience, decision-making skills, organizational and time management skills, multi-tasking and leadership skills, and communication skills. Let’s take a moment to break each of these down.
Education & Experience
While it is not mandatory for you to have any degree to become an office manager, it surely helps to add credibility when you are looking for a job. Employers are generally more likely to hire someone who not only has some sort of educational background, but also shows past work experience, even if it is just through a college internship. Getting even an associate’s degree in a business or management major will put you in a better position to get a job with a decent salary. Business, accounting, and management classes can be taken at a vocational school or community college. If you are looking to go above and beyond, then a bachelor’s degree in a related field at a four-year college would be a great choice. In addition to education, you will also want to get some work experience in an office environment that allows you to work in a team and lead others. Previous experience in ordering office supplies, writing up e-mails, overseeing a group of people at work, and working basic office machinery will help you land a job as an office manager.
Being able to make decisions in a time crunch is a great asset to have as an office manager. This is especially true in an office environment that is fast-paced and always busy. Other employees may turn to you for answers about pretty much anything, or for solutions to problems. Your boss may even come up to you on a whim to ask for your opinion on something. A capable office manager will be able to quickly use their resources to supply needed information to other employees, and be able to make decisions fairly quickly when necessary. Some office managers are also responsible for hiring and firing employees. In this case, you would need to have a keen eye for the kind of candidate being interviewed and whether they have the necessary assets to complete the job well.
Organizational & Time Management Skills
If you have always been organized and never had an issue using your time wisely, then you will likely thrive as an office manager. Office managers are expected to keep things organized not only on their own desks, but for the company as well. Being organized means that you will have an easier time locating files when you need them, and that you know when to re-stock office supplies as they run low. Office managers may be responsible for keeping timesheets for all employees in a firm. Having attention to detail here is extremely important to ensure everyone is getting paid for the amount of time they put into work, and on time. Having excellent time management skills will allow you to get your own work done in a timely manner, and encourage other office members to do the same.
Multitasking & Leadership Skills
Fast hands and leadership skills come in really handy when you’re managing an office. The quicker you are able to get things done, the more you’ll be able to help direct others and the company overall stay on top of tasks. Office managers often oversee many tasks at once and need to be able to jump on different projects at random times as needed to finish things based on priority. They may even have to hop on a project someone else had been working on but abandoned, so being able to pick up where things were left off easily is always a great thing. Additionally, office managers are often responsible for leading other office team members and make sure that their work is getting done in a timely manner. Strong attention to detail will also help an office manager succeed. To set a positive influence for other workers, office managers should arrive to work promptly every day and complete scheduled projects on time.
Miscommunication in any company can cause a lot of chaos and unnecessary stress. This is why it is so important for office managers in any setting to have good communication skills. These skills will go far in not only being a leader, but also helping the entire company stay organized and on the same page. Both verbal and written communication skills are essential. Working in an office setting, you will often be expected to draft and write e-mails to other coworkers, clients, your boss, etc. If you are able to deliver instructions quickly and easily, the chances of people understanding them are a lot higher. Being able to keep things short and concise while delivering your point will not only save your time, but others’ time as well. Being able to communicate effectively will allow you to easily close deals with vendors and work with customers when needed. In addition to communicating well, office managers should also be great listeners. They may have to deal with other workers’ complaints and still be fair when asked to make a judgment.
If you have always enjoyed being a leader and possess the above assets, then you will most likely succeed as an office manager in any corporate setting. Many office managers today also go back to school periodically to take classes and update their knowledge and skill sets. This is very important because the job market is constantly changing, and as a result, so are work methods. By staying on top of terminology and other business concepts, employers will have to do less work in training you. The less you have to be trained, the better for the company, and the more likely you will get hired and promoted.
Duties of an office manager will vary from company to company. If you work for a smaller company, you may end up taking on roles outside of the manager role as well just to keep things running smoothly. For example, you may help with packaging and purchasing if your company doesn’t have a warehouse manager or purchasing associate. A great office manager will be willing to take on new challenges as well as help out in other departments that may not exactly always be the most exciting.
Being an office manager can be extremely exhausting, but rewarding for the right person. If you like to stay on top of your toes, lead others, and take on a variety of tasks in the office every day, then you may just fall in love with your job!