“As all office managers can tell you, there is no typical day. It is such a unique role. There are always random fires that you have to put out. Maybe one minute the sprinkler is dripping and the next, a big client is onsite and a circuit breaker just tripped. No two days are the same, but that’s a good thing.” Sydney Ng, Office Manager at Movable Ink.
An office is more than just a place to work. As Americans spend more time at work—an average of 47 hours a week as of last year—their expectations for their office have grown accordingly. Employees now expect a myriad of comforts in the office, from egg steamers to cold brew on tap. Companies have responded accordingly, creating bottomless snack walls, offering team lunches, and designing spaces for different working styles—from standing desks for engineers to a quiet library-like space for designers. And, in a tight talent market, office amenities can play a critical role in recruiting and retaining talent.
As office operations grow in complexity, office managers play a critical role in ensuring that everything continues to run smoothly and these amenity-filled spaces fulfill their purpose of keeping employees productive, happy, and connected to one another.
For Administrative Professionals’ Day, we’re highlighting a few of the people who play a crucial role in ensuring that their office is a great place to work for their team and shining a light on their day-today responsibilities.
Ensuring workplace productivity
Office managers are the eyes and ears of an office. They are often the first ones to arrive in the morning to check that the office was properly cleaned the night before, set up conference rooms, and check the status of the snack shelf. They keep track of office supplies to make sure the printer never runs out of paper, especially before the quarterly board meeting, and are first to respond when the wifi goes out or a faucet starts to leak.
While an office manager’s day-to-day can look like a to-do list full of small tasks, sweating the details is what enables them to be successful at their job. For Tara Seney, Office Manager at Brandwatch, no task is too small when it comes to ensuring that her colleagues have what they need to get through their busy days. “I think people overlook the little things, but when there are so many little tasks that you provide, they can add up to a bigger picture,” she said. For example, Tara keeps the kitchen at Brandwatch fully stocked so that on hectic days her colleagues don’t have to worry about leaving the office to grab lunch, which helps keep their productivity high.
Cultivating office hospitality
Offices are taking cues from the hospitality industry to become amenity-loaded spaces that are designed to ensure team members and guests feel comfortable. It is now the responsibility of the office manager to make sure there is a friendly face to greet and orient visitors, and to source and manage vendors to provide everything from office snacks to plant care. The role of the office manager has grown from managing the office’s core facilities services to creating a great employee experience and staying ahead of workplace design trends.
“As an office manager, you can see the results of your work and focus on making a positive experience for everybody in the office, whether it’s a colleague, guest, or vendor,” explained Amber Nagel, Project and Facilities Manager at Whistle Labs.
Building team culture
As companies place a greater emphasis on creating a positive employee experience, office managers serve as the cultural glue that holds the office together. Office managers get to know their team members’ preferences and interests, which allows them make the office feel personal and welcoming. More formally, they plan events, whether those are weekly happy hours or annual offsite retreats, where team members can build relationships and truly feel like they are part of the same team.
Connecting with and supporting their team on a human level is a motivating factor for many office managers. “I love the people part,” explained Carissa Spencer, Office Manager at Concord Worldwide, “I love getting to know the different personalities that are in the office, because that makes me a better office manager.”
Office managers have the unique role of interacting with and impacting every employee at their company. As their job evolves to meet the expectations of the modern workplace, so do their responsibilities.
To celebrate Administrative Professionals’ Day, we’ve made it easy to thank your office manager, or whoever it is who ensures that the space that supports your business continues to run seamlessly.