Office Manager Job Description: Skills and Tools

officemanagerjobdescriptionOffice managers are in demand. As an office manager, you are an integral part of company operations that is responsible for supervising staff and maintaining office systems. Introduction to Management teaches you how to supervise others effectively.

Office managers must carry out numerous administrative tasks. In some companies, you are also responsible for basic IT related tasks.

Depending on the size of the company and corporate structure you work for, you could be a “jack of all trades” or have more specialized duties such as hiring and training new employees or addressing human resource issues within the office environment.

Typical Workload

As a general rule, office managers are responsible for many aspects of a business. Where a secretary or accountant have very specific duties within the organization, you may dabble in all of these tasks as needed by upper management.

As an office manager, you are primarily responsible for:

  • Organizing office operations such as preparing payroll, maintaining filing systems, approving requisition requests, and monitoring clerical functions.  Taking a course in business accounting such as Introduction to Business Accounting is always a good idea.

  • Ensuring office efficiency using various hardware and software tools.

  • Hiring and training new employees in office policies, procedures, and specialized tools or equipment used for daily operations. You are also responsible for evaluating the performance of these employees on a quarterly or semiannual basis to make sure they are still meeting the needs of the company and performing quality work.

  • You may also be responsible for firing employees that no longer meet the company’s standards or who have difficulty adjusting to the work environment.

  • Coordinating team efforts and delegating work as necessary to make sure large projects are completed in a timely manner. Learning to manage projects is an important skill for any office manager.

Remember that these duties are typically expected of most office managers, but each employment opportunity is different. What makes being an office manager so exciting is that you have such a wide variety of tasks to perform on a daily basis. While some jobs may become tedious and boring over time, your work as an office manager is likely to keep you busy and motivated most of the time.

Skills and Tools

As part of management, you are required to have a specific set of skills that allows you to manage other employees and operations effectively.

Being a manager is not always easy as you are often forced to make decisions that may not bode well with other employees (such as hiring/firing and payroll decisions).

It’s important to learn how to effectively manage other people. Communication is another important part of effective management. Learning to communicate effectively will not only help you in your role as an office manager, but it translates very well to your life outside of work as well.

Your responsibility as an office manager means you should be well versed in basic business practices. You may be required to perform basic accounting functions, administrative work, and other tasks that require a keen understanding of how business (in general and yours specifically) operate.

In most modern companies, office operations are run by computer networks. There are quite a few computer-related skills you should master if you are thinking of becoming an office manager.

You may be required to perform basic IT related tasks. Learning the basics of computer networking helps you to manage these tasks effectively.

Report generation is another key component of office management. These reports could be generated using proprietary company software or using more standard office software such as the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Word is used to create written reports. For example, you might use of Microsoft Word to create an employee evaluation or an interoffice memo. Word 2013 should get you on the right track.

Office managers also rely on Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program. These spreadsheets may contain financial data or information about employees that will need to be updated periodically. You can learn how to use Excel for business in Excel Essentials.

PowerPoint is used to create slideshows and presentations. These are especially useful when training new employees. As an office manager, you may be directly responsible for training employees or at the very least, responsible for creating the training material that other employees will use when training new hires. Mastering PowerPoint is a good way to create training materials for new hires as well as current employees in need of remedial training.

Logical thinking is another skill that companies look for when hiring an office manager. You will be expected to “think outside the box” and make existing processes more efficient when possible.

Time management is also important to the office manager. Like any managerial position, you may find that there is simply not enough time in the day to complete all required tasks. Effective time management allows you to maximize the time that you do have and delegate tasks to others that you are unable to finish yourself.

This skill, probably more so than most of the others mentioned, is what sets a successful office manager apart from the crowd.

Until the day when office employees are replaced by robots (hopefully not anytime soon), there will be a need for office managers in corporate America. It is certainly a career path with plentiful opportunities and may even offer advancement opportunities into upper levels of management in the future.

When interviewing for an office management position, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for specific details about the job description as different companies have different expectations for office managers. Once you understand exactly what the position entails, you can brush up on any topics that you may not feel comfortable with and move forward into your new career as a successful office manager.