As an office or operations manager, you are the interface between two of your company’s most important and expensive assets: your office space and your employees. While your team depends on you to ensure the office is a comfortable and productive space to do their work, it's important for you to empower your colleagues to have a stake in how the office is run. In providing a channel for your team to voice their ideas and concerns, you want to be sure you collect their feedback in an organized manner so you can address requests effectively, streamline your work, and create an environment your team loves.
While every office is unique, we identified the three most common employee requests based on data from our Task Management tool, which collects and organizes team needs for office managers.
1. Broken office equipment or fixtures
“Employees are the eyes and ears of the office,” explains Layna Germino, the Office Manager at Managed by Q. “While we try, office managers can’t always see everything, so it’s really helpful when employees tell us if something is amiss, whether it’s a broken toaster or a squeaking door.”
“Don’t assume your office manager knows everything,” says Germino, “For example, I had no way of knowing the sink in the men’s bathroom was leaking until an employee told me.”
To empower her colleagues to report facilities issues and keep her work organized, Germino uses Task Management to collect requests and ensure tasks don’t fall by the wayside when an urgent issue or project comes up.
2. Adjusting the office temperature
Germino has found that regulating the office temperature is one of her biggest challenges, especially because the temperature at which everyone feels comfortable can vary. “It’s hard to get the temperature right,” she says, “but if I can adjust it I will always let employees know and check back in an hour to see if it has changed and if they feel more comfortable.”
Seeing which employees are asking for temperature adjustments can help determine if certain areas of your office are getting too much or too little air, and potentially uncover issues with your HVAC vents or zones. If your office is consistently over heated or too cold, or if your heating and cooling systems malfunction frequently, be sure to schedule a check up with your HVAC service provider.
3. Providing event support
The third most common employee request is support for events, whether that’s a team presentation or a meet-up for clients. Event support includes reserving space, requesting and setting up IT, and ordering catering.
To help streamline the event request process, create an events playbook you can share with your colleagues. Include instructions on how they can book space on a shared calendar, a link to submit IT requests to your tech team, and a list of preferred catering vendors so they can tell you what refreshments they want to order or can order it themselves.
An organized approach to requests
To ensure addressing employee requests doesn't take over your entire workday, Germino advises office managers block off time on their calendars to work on them. “To stay effective, set an ideal response time for yourself,” she advises, “For example, you may decide that your goal is to respond to every request you receive within two hours during the work day.”
Managing employee expectations is just as important as addressing the actual requests. You want to create an environment where your team feels comfortable to ask for what they need, but not entitled to receive everything they want.
To keep expectations realistic, Germino recommends being open and honest with employees about whether or not a request is feasible and how long it will take to complete it. If you can’t fulfill an employee request, let them know why. For example, when a colleague requested a brand of granola bars that were too expensive for the weekly snack budget, she explained this but promised to order them occasionally as a special treat.
Taking employee requests seriously and collecting and addressing them systematically ensures employees feel invested in helping their office manager create a great place to work. For those looking to simplify their employee request process, Task Management is a free software tool designed specifically for office managers.