If you’re not sure of where to start in order to manage an office, it can be hard. Good job management isn’t always given the credit it deserves because people only remember what did were a part of. The job comes with so many responsibilities that are pivotal to a company’s success. Here are some tips on how to manage an office.
Here are four of the simplest and most effective:
- Understand the work process
- Learn what people do
- Be flexible
- Maintain organization
- Choose Kindness
Understand the Office Work Process
We all have that one time when we are in the office and we know it is going to be a busy week. And then sometimes it is not so busy and you have that feeling of “I don’t know what to do with myself.” Working in any industry, you will find yourself in both scenarios.
Our ability to understand depends on the type of company and their culture. As an office manager, understanding the timeline and cycle of your office and industry can help you anticipate your colleagues’ needs, combat low morale, and prepare yourself for success.
For example, if you work for an accounting or tax industry company, you wouldn’t plan a two-week vacation at the beginning of April. You’d know that it’s tax season and your colleagues and their clients will need you.
When you understand how your office industry works, then you can learn how to keep the office running smoothly regardless of the circumstances.
Understand What People Do
Zooming in on the individuals, the importance of understanding what people do every day can really make a difference.
We often think that we know what people want or need, but in reality, we don’t. Office managers know the perspective of office managers, no one else. Taking the time to understand that you don’t know what you don’t know will help you be a better admin.
To keep with our example, if Tonya is a head tax accountant and it’s April 13, you should understand why she is stressed and exhausted.
But, even outside of the accounting office example, becoming familiar with your colleagues’ work habits and routines can make your job easier. When you know what to look for and when, it’s easier to spot when something is wrong.
To be clear, I’m not saying you are their therapist, or need to know their life details, but trying to keep aware of those elements that could affect the office morale, efficiency, or productivity.
Flexibility is a key trait of an office manager, because we need to understand the work process and what people do.
There are some practices in office administration that cannot are no-brainers. For example, we have to pay invoices.
But there are some things that it would be in your best interest to consider. The first of which is peoples’ preferences or ideas. If you are anything like me, once you have an idea what something should be like, it rarely occurs to me that another option is available or might even be better.
It’s been an ongoing challenge for me to incorporate people’s preferences into the decisions I’ve already made. But I try to remember to consider what is most important. If a colleague wants something that differs from what I assumed, instead of instantly rejecting the idea, I think about if it:
- changes outcome for worse or better
- is possible
- sacrifices your efficiency or productivity
Sometimes you can foster better working relationships if you try to be empathetic and generous with your thoughts. Getting angry, simply because you don’t want to look at another option, is pointless, especially if the idea could be better. It’s important to consider other perspectives and take a step back and see the bigger picture.
Organization is the key to our profession. In order to keep everything running smoothly, it’s important to keep things in order.
Being organized will help you manage your time better. You can set up a schedule for yourself and your team to make sure that everyone is on track with their tasks and projects.
When you are working in a team, it’s important to know what everyone is up to. If you work alone and wear multiple hats, organization is arguably more because you have fewer eyes to catch any mistakes.
When people share office space, it’s important to be kind and understanding because you want people to feel comfortable coming to you with questions or for help.
You don’t lose money or anything from being kind, and because our industry deals primarily in relationships and building bridges, it is always in our best interest to do so.
I’m not saying you have to smile or not defend yourself from people who intentionally harm you. I simply recommend that being kink towards others is very much worth your while.
When you’re kind, you’ll get a lot of positive results, like forming great relationships, having a good reputation in your organization, and never getting called out for being unprofessional.
If you follow these 5 suggestions, you’ll find it’s much easier to manage and office. The environment we work in contributes to much of our experience. Doing your best to make sure it’s a healthy work environment is in your best interest.
While other people (colleagues and clients) may benefit from these suggestions, I am only saying them to benefit the administrative professionals.
Taking the time to focus on these five things will give you a leg up.
- Understand the work process.
- Learn what people do on a day-to-day basis.
- Be flexible
- Maintain organization
- Choose Kindness
People get hired for their hard skills, but fired for their soft skills. Take the time to learn how to deal with people by doing these things will be your greatest asset when you manage and office.