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Office Manager Job Description

Office Manager

OFFICE MANAGER FAST STATS

  

Salary

 $40,000 - $100,000

Education

high school, bachelor’s preferred

Experience

5 years

admin/management

Upward Mobility

Average; high turnover, high reward

Certification

none needed

Job Outlook

10% growth (2016-2026)

Office Manager: Understanding the job

What is an office manager?

Any office manager job description can be summarized pretty simply, it is to be the head or director of an entire office. They make sure an office runs efficiently and properly by managing its administrative tasks, its financial responsibilities, the procedures its personnel must follow, and its general upkeep. The office manager job description is all about providing support for everyone in the office, from supervising general staff and delegating daily tasks to coordinating communications and initiatives among executives.

They manage things like:

  • Budgeting for all office departments
  • Paying all invoices, bills and rent on office space
  • Contracting the best vendors of office supplies and services for the lowest price
  • Maintenance of all office equipment and infrastructure
  • Coordinating conferences and larger office-wide events
  • Smooth provision of services provided to employees, from customizing filing systems to supervising procedural operations to curating calendars
  • Finding and hiring general staff
  • Executive reports and analyses on current projects

Office managers tend to know what’s going on at every level of an organization. They keep tabs on all executive level and general level functioning simultaneously. It’s an almost herculean task that requires excellent managerial skills supported by many soft skills such as:

| flexibility | adaptability | organization | problem solving | independent leadership | teamwork | negotiation | interpersonal skills | communication |

Top office manager skills

What office managers do

Office managers do whatever is necessary to maintain the smooth functioning of an office and support executives and senior-level managers so they can run their departments and complete their projects efficiently. They manage all the things that executives’ and senior-level managers’ projects and initiatives don’t leave them time to do. Office manager job requirements also demand supervision and coordination general office staff who serve in a support capacity to senior managers, executives, and their teams.

On top of all of that, office managers make sure that computers are updated, copy machines are functioning, invoices and bills are paid, travel expenses are reimbursed, and office procedures are being followed by everyone at all times. Office manager jobs are always demanding as office managers are asked to juggle lots of tasks at the same time, all the time.

''They manage all the things that executives’ and senior-level managers’ projects and initiatives don’t leave them time to do.''

They delegate authority to junior and general staff one minute and attend meetings with top executives and senior managers to analyse progress on current projects and plan for future projects the next. Office managers rightfully carry significant weight and are highly respected and relied upon in any office, and a good one is worth her weight in gold to any organization.

What great office managers do

1. Great office managers understand every department.

In a pinch, great office managers could temporarily fill in for any senior manager at any time.

2. Great office managers know how an organization’s systems function.

What they may lack in content knowledge and professional experience they more than make up for in their mastery of systems function within their office’s organizational structure.

3. Great office managers keep up with projects.

In attending senior-level meetings to keep apprised of current projects and produce reports that show project progress and efficacy, office managers are more intimately aware of the details of all current projects and initiatives than possibly anyone else in their organizations.

Typical day as an office manager

Office manager job requirements are legion, mainly because they are charged with keeping their eye on so many aspects of an office.

So... when a few people leave the office and move on to other jobs the office manager recruits new candidates, interviews them, and decides which ones to hire. When employees need training for new initiatives, projects or just for professional development, the office manager hunts down, books and arranges the right workshops or seminars for the team. When the organization decides to collaborate with other organizations to share expertise,the office manager arranges the space, time, equipment and other logistics like transportation, lodging and lunch for everyone attending.

When competing budgeting requests come in from different departments, the office manager assesses them and makes final budgeting decisions, allocating funds accordingly to each department over the course of the fiscal year. When employees request sick leave or reimbursement for travel expenses, the office manager evaluates requests and grants or denies them based on office procedures. When executive and senior managers announce new initiatives and projects, the office manager attends those senior-level meetings, assesses what new work assignments will be coming down the pipe, and delegates those responsibilities to appropriate junior staff or other team members.

When tech equipment needs repair or updating, the office manager coordinates with the IT department for repairs. When new computers or projectors or furniture is needed, the office manager searches out the best outside vendors and negotiates contracts for the best equipment or service possible within budget. When executive and senior managers need status updates and future outlook for ongoing projects and expenses, the office manager produces reports and multimedia presentations for them.

Office manager basic duties

Any list of office manager job requirements demands performing a range of basic duties that require many different skills. If you’re looking to work your way up to being an office manager, you can give yourself a real boost with a little training.

Office managers are required to do many administrative-level tasks that require sound administration skills. Things like: organizing calendars, scheduling meetings, developing filing systems, coordinating guest visits, maintaining office procedures, and generally being responsible for all shipping, invoicing, billing, repairs, and daily tasks.

Office managers are also required to perform many managerial-level tasks that require managerial skills. Things like: delegating clerical and administrative tasks to subordinates; coming up with and supervising office-wide policies; developing record-keeping procedures and ensuring all employees follow it; guiding, advising, and disciplining office staff; training staff and evaluating their performance.

Becoming an office manager

Office manager job requirements

Education

A bachelor's degree in any discipline is required to compete for available office manager jobs; however, experience is really what employers are looking for.

Experience

Typically office manager jobs are competitive and difficult to attain without 5+ years experience in management or administration. Open office manager positions are often given to employees already within organizations who have shown aptitude for understanding that organization’s systems, processes and procedures. Answers to office manager interview questions and information in office manager cover letters should concentrate on an applicant’s previous experience in management or administration, at any level.

Skills

There are many soft skills that compliment managerial and administrative experience. These skills include being flexible and adaptable, well-organized, a good problem solver, an independent and strong leader, a detail-oriented team player, a confident negotiator, personable and good at maintaining relationships and being an effective communicator.

Ideal office manager resume

Previous experience as a manager or an administrator or even an administrative assistant in an office goes a long way when competing for office manager jobs and should be considered heavily in any office manager cover letter and resume. Proficiency in MS Office and Google Drive is also attractive to employers because, of course, they are used every day but also because it shows an aptitude to learn any related software an office may use.

''...BLS reports an upbeat job outlook for office managers; their employment is expected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026.''

Any experience that shows an applicant is very well-organized, manages time well, is accustomed to handling multiple tasks simultaneously, and has strong interpersonal skills will help move that office manager resume to the top of the pile. Answering office manager interview questions with a focus on interpersonal skills and adaptability is a great supplement to any office manager cover letter accompanying an office manager resume.

 Office manager salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the medianadministrative services manager salary was $94,020 in 2017 and a median hourly rate of $45.20 per hour. The average office manager salary can be approximated from the administrative services manager average salary but varies greatly depending on field and level of experience.

Administrative services managers include a wide range of managerial positions, from traditional office manager to specialized office management positions like medical and health services manager, facilities managers and records and information managers. The more specialized the administrative managerial position, the higher the salary tends to be as they are usually in larger organizations that hire quite competitively.

An office manager salary at a smaller organization typically starts at around $40,000 per year, a considerably lower salary than the median stated by BLS. The BLS reports an upbeat job outlook for office managers; their employment is expected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026.

Is office manager the right job for me?

The Princeton Review collected data from office managers about the details of their position. You can read some comments from actual office managers about how they see their job on an everyday basis. Office managers tend to report that their position requires them to analyze situations and make firm decisions that may be unpopular with superiors and subordinates. It takes a lot of confidence and integrity to truthfully report on project success and employee evaluation.

''...experience that shows an applicant is very well-organized, manages time well, is accustomed to handling multiple tasks simultaneously, and has strong interpersonal skills will help move that office manager resume to the top of the pile''

Meeting those standards tends to build strong skills over time and provide opportunity for upward mobility. It can also result in high turnover caused by lay-offs or disagreements with executive and senior management, something to be considered before accepting a position as an office manager or when coming up with your own questions to counter any office manager interview questions you may be asked.

Though, to be sure, as one climbs the administrative management ladder, much more competitive salaries and much stronger job security follow. You just may have to be prepared to move around a bit until you find the right organization for you.

Top office manager skills

Well-organized

Office managers are always handling multiple projects and tasks at the same time. Likewise, they often supervise and manage other employees’ different projects while doing so. While doing all of that, office managers also have to be able to prioritize unforeseen tasks that require their immediate attention while not dropping the ball on the rest.

Because office managers both delegate tasks and have tasks delegated to them, they constantly need to organize around the importance of what they are assigned and finding the right employees to carry out assignments. That includes managing resources, budgeting, effective hiring, analyzing project progress and effectiveness.

Leadership and management

Office managers manage the office, which is to say that they make sure existing systems run smoothly and procedures are followed. This requires strong organizational skills and understanding of administrative systems. Office managers also often lead the office in taking on new initiatives that require employees to work together to learn new procedures, systems and skills that may require training. This requires great interpersonal skills, an ability to delegate responsibility, and an ability to inspire confidence among the team.

Communication and negotiation

Office managers must communicate with subordinates, executives and senior managers, outside vendors, visiting clients, and others, all of whom require a unique communication approach to establish working relationship, gain trust and, maximize efficacy. In almost all of those relationships, office managers are trying to come to an understanding and agree on terms of work, assignment, or exchange of goods and services that are mutually beneficial and productive. In short, they have to be good negotiators.

Budgeting

Making sure that departments and projects are funded, salaries are paid, inventory is purchased, and expenses are reimbursed are responsibilities that lie squarely on the shoulders of the office manager. They need strong budgeting skills to account for spending by and responsibly distribute funding to all sections of the office.

Problem solving and adaptability

Unpredictable problem - like replacing employees, vendors not delivering, equipment failure, lack of internal expertise - pop-up all the time in an office, and office managers are always the go to person to solve them. This means office managers need to be 1) flexible in how they approach incoming requests and 2) prepared to change their routines in order to solve unprecedented problems. In short, they need to be adaptable to any administrative request or challenge that comes their way.

Similar or related job titles

  • Administrative services manager
  • Facilities office manager
  • Records and information manager
  • Executive assistant
  • Business office manager
  • Financial manager
  • Medical and health services manager
Last updated: 12 Dec 2018

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