An office manager is a role that is important across a huge number of industries from manufacturing to finance, health, and education. The position involves organising the day-to-day running of an office and can encompass everything from admin and payroll to designing filing systems or approving supply requests.
Without office managers, businesses would quickly run into difficulties because they deal with all the administrative tasks which make it possible for a business to function.
The ideal candidate
Although the role varies greatly across industries, an office manager will have responsibility for ensuring the smooth running of the office. The ideal candidate, therefore, needs to be highly organised, a good communicator, efficient, and reliable.
A degree is useful, particularly for more senior office positions, though not essential and it is a career open to graduates of all disciplines. You will need experience of working in an office, clerical, secretarial, or commercial environment. What experience and how much will depend on the individual job you apply for though some companies will ask for two years or more.
Qualifications in business administration/management, computing and IT, or public administration are particularly useful.
What the role involves
Typically, an office manager role involves looking after an office for an organisation. If you work for a small company you might perform most of the tasks yourself; if you work within a larger organisation you might have a team of people working under you dealing with all aspects of administration involved in running a business. There are many things you might be responsible for including, but not limited to:
- Booking meetings
- Managing office budgets
- Ensuring supplies of office stationery and furniture are ordered and kept up-to-date
- Inducting new employees
- Designing office procedures and processes
- Creating filing systems
- Dealing with correspondence and secretarial work
- Preparing reports
- Ensuring health and safety compliance
- Implementing and maintaining administrative systems
- Carrying out staff appraisals and performance reviews
- Overseeing staff recruitment
- Planning staff development and training
- Management of social media in certain organisations.
Types of work and working hours
The type of work will vary depending on the organisation you work for as different organisations have different requirements. For example, the administration of a hospital, for example, will be very different to that of a media firm, which will also be very different to that of a law firm. You will need to know about different areas, policies, and news that influences your particular organisation to be able to get the most out of your job.
Your work, however, will be mainly office-based and generally covers normal office hours: 9-5pm. In busy periods you may be expected to work outside of those hours. The majority of roles are full-time, though opportunities for part-time or job sharing do arise.
Your salary will vary depending on the employer, your position and your experience. Private employers might pay more than public organisations but you may find better benefits and increased job security in the public sector.
Starting salaries typically range from £18,000 to £30,000 though with experience these can increase to £50,000.
As an office manager, you will probably already have a lot of experience in more junior roles. Once you have established yourself as an officer manager there are opportunities to move into more senior roles. In a larger company, you could become manager of an entire department or a specific section, or you could move into more general senior management.
As you move up the ladder, the roles become more scarce and therefore there is more competition. So you may wish to consider specialising in a particular area such as finance or human resources.
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