If you have more than six staff you will need an office manager, even if you think you don’t.
The title of office manager can mean different things to different people. While some might view office managers as a company-wide resource, a PA for the whole team so to speak, others see them as the lynchpin of the organisation – someone who keeps calm when everything else feels like it is falling apart. If you’re not yet convinced, here are some reasons why you might need an office manager.
The chances are that at some point you will need someone to sort out some “plumbing” issues. This also applies to the air conditioning. The printer. And the leak in the roof, that’s dripping onto a socket that people are ignoring because they only have five percent battery on their laptop and the need for power trumps any health and safety concerns. While your office manager isn’t likely to whip out their utility belt and start tackling these issues with their own bare hands, you can be sure they will know someone who can solve the problem.
For some companies, high staff turnover is par for the course and having someone who is a central point of contact can provide stability in what might seem like an ever-changing environment. A strong office manager should be able to create a sense of community in an organisation and they can help establish the company culture. Whether it’s organising the social calendar, onboarding new joiners to ensure they feel welcome, sending out office-wide emails to keep everyone in the loop or just generally giving people a little nudge to remember to clean up after themselves, the office manager can set the tone for a collaborative, and harmonious, working environment. Office managers are also good social connectors and can often be the glue holding the office together. A really good office manager, however, takes the time to nurture working relationships across multiple teams to ensure that they will be able to function in their absence.
Keeping the lights on, negotiating service prices with suppliers and, in some cases, taking on payroll duties, can all fall under the remit of an office manager. When an organisation experiences hyper growth, one of the first things to fall behind is general admin and the processes that go with it. You can get away with this for a little while but when people don’t get paid, they get mad. And when they get mad, they get vocal. An office manager can take on the financial admin for your company and even end up saving you money in the long run by negotiating some pretty sweet deals with local vendors.
Health & wellness
Taking an interest in the health and general wellbeing of your employees can actually be a source of competitive advantage for organisations. Employees can find themselves drawn to companies who demonstrate a sense of investment in their work life balance. A blanket offering of wellness programmes might look attractive but isn’t much use if people aren’t taking advantage of it. An office manager can actually take the time to speak with employees to find out what they really want and then roll out a series of wellness initiatives that appeal to their needs.
Relocation, relocation, relocation
Hopefully at some point, when business is booming, office relocation will be on the cards. While it’s an exciting time for any organisation, it is also an outrageously time-consuming job. There is a lot of logistics involved with the actual move and before that can even happen, you need to find a space, negotiate a lease and fit it out to meet your specific business needs. Yes, everyone will probably vote for a pool table but what about all the other things you may need to consider? Like the maximum amount of people you can legally house per square foot and how many people an air conditioning vent can actually cater to before someone passes out? Do you know this? No, of course, you don’t! And why should you? An experienced office manager will be able to take on this role and manage the relocation project so that the only thing you have to worry about is getting staff in the door.
Main image of ‘David Brent’ from the film ‘Life on the Road’, courtesy of Entertainment One.