Office managers are known for their ability to remain calm under pressure and their friendly accessibility to everyone in the company. When employees have concerns, the office manager is often the first person they turn to, but who do office managers turn to when they need advice themselves?
The best resource is their peers: other people working in office, administration, and operations management roles. Since many companies only have one person in this role, it’s essential to connect with other companies’ office teams through community groups and networking events.
Networking is beneficial for any professionals who want to expand their job opportunities and obtain valuable career advice. But office managers can also use networking to talk to peers who are solving similar issues, share best practices, seek recommendations for vendors and tools to assist with their work, or simply find a sympathetic ear when they need to air their frustrations. It’s also an opportunity to give back. If you’re a more experienced office manager, you can mentor those who are just beginning their careers, as well as seek your own mentorship from colleagues with more experience.
Whether you’re looking to advance your career in your current role or switch to a different department, networking can help you find the right career path. Office managers often move into roles in HR, community, operations, recruiting, and marketing. Joining a networking group can help make that transition happen smoother and faster. Thanks to email listservs and Slack groups, networking is no longer limited to local happy hours and traveling to conferences. If you’re an office manager looking to expand your community, here are some great resources so you can start connecting and sharing information:
OrgOrg is one of the most popular community groups for people who describe themselves as “Organization Organizers”—the office managers, facility managers, administrative assistants, HR staff, and executive assistants. The group was started in 2010 by three office managers who wanted to stop feeling like they were doing their job alone, so they launched a place to exchange ideas. Now OrgOrg has over 2,000 members around the globe communicating through their Google Group and sharing helpful content on their blog and via webinars. They also host occasional in-person events such as happy hours and teaching workshops. Most events are in San Francisco, but they also have meetups in NYC and Austin.
OfficeNinjas is a community of office managers, admins, and assistants. The group sends a weekly newsletter, maintains a Facebook group, and publishes articles on admin-friendly topics like communications, event planning, and productivity hacks. OfficeNinjas also host in-person meetups and workshops in New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, and Seattle, with Washington D.C. and Boston meetups coming soon.
Culture Summit is a large annual conference devoted to helping companies and their employees build great company culture. It gives office managers and other employees in operational roles the chance to hear specific culture development strategies and ideas implemented by leading companies. Attendees also learn office culture trends, techniques, and tools that they can walk away with and use in their own workplaces. The 2016 conference was held in San Francisco, with speakers and attendees from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Glassdoor, Salesforce, and more. The 2017 conference will be held in August, with more details to be announced soon.
Listed below are more networking opportunities for office managers and admin professionals:
- International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
- Office Heroes League (Chapters in NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.)
- New York Office Professionals Meetup
- The Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (AEAP)
In addition, Managed by Q hosts a quarterly event series that focuses on providing actionable career advice on a range of topics that affect office operations teams. So far these in-person events have taken place in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Topics have included career growth, tips for handling daily tasks, and workplace design advice.
While many of the networking resources we highlighted involve spending time outside the office, what you gain and learn from in-person events can enrich your everyday work life. Exchanging advice and recommendations with other office managers will provide you with the tools to make your workplace operate more smoothly. While these improvements will benefit the entire company, they will also create more time for you to focus on advancing your career.
If you’re in a city without many networking groups or events, join one of the online communities to get started, and don’t hesitate to create your own. Leverage the skills you have for launching internal programs and organizing events to help office professionals in your area connect.