A successful office manager can make or break an organization. Your role as a manager is to lead team members to success, but management is a juggling act. In addition to completing your own tasks, you must manage the office and its respective team members. With this much responsibility, you will inevitably face challenges. To help you prepare for and overcome common problems, we will discuss the top five problems of an office manager.
A significant problem faced by most office managers, especially today, is space management. How do you manage an office space to comfortably fit all team members, in addition to desks and equipment, on top of social distancing? This is a challenging task and a significant one. For your team members to work, they need the space and equipment to do so. Even beyond getting everything to "fit" within the office, the space needs to be cohesive, cultivating a positive space for individuals to reside in. Fortunately, we have a solution for this: desk booking. Hot desking is the concept of employees booking their desk or workspace each day. With a desk booking solution, management can upload their office layout to the software, enabling employees to access the layout and book the desk of their choice. This allows individuals to choose the space they need and want, so they can now come into the office relaxed, knowing that their workstation is already reserved.
You may wonder if this solution brings other issues to light, such as reserved spaces going unused or double-bookings. Once a desk is booked, it is no longer available to other individuals searching for a space, eliminating the risk of double-booking conflicts. Additionally, management has complete control over the desk booking solution, so they can override certain bookings should an unavailable area be booked. To avoid other issues, before implementing your desk booking solution, management should communicate with team members about the protocol surrounding it. This will ensure that employees know the implications of misusing the software or reserving spaces without using them. Overall, this solution is excellent in allowing office managers to delegate the space management aspect of their role.
Decreased Performance Levels
Another prominent challenge office managers face is handling decreased performance levels. It can be challenging to motivate team members, especially when you can only control their office environment. Fortunately, studies show that an individual's environment can significantly impact their productivity, so there are some things you can do. First and foremost, it's essential to understand that everyone has a preferred work style, and you should be aware that they will differ from one another. To cater to these work-styles, we have two solutions.
One option is to implement a hybrid work week. Today, most of the workforce is already participating in hybrid work – a mixture of in-office and remote work, to satisfy social distancing and health protocols. As vaccinations become available, more and more professionals are being allowed back into the office. For many, this is great as they feel more productive in the physical office. Alternatively, others may have discovered that they feel more productive working from home. Whatever an individual's preference may be, the hybrid work week offers it. This concept allows team members to choose how many days of the week, if any, they want to work in-office and remote. This flexibility allows for team members to cater their environment to their own standards of productivity and adjust it based on specific days and activities.
Another solution is creating an activity-based workplace. As mentioned, everyone feels more motivated and productive based upon different factors. Implementing an activity-based workspace offers team members various spaces, rooms, and desks that they can choose to reside in based upon a specific activity. This allows individuals to choose the space that makes them feel most productive based on their current projects. If a project requires high focus and concentration, quiet and secluded areas can be used. Alternatively, if a task involves brainstorming and collaboration, team members can choose to work in an open and social environment. In allowing employees to choose their own workspace, not only is this responsibility relieved from the office manager, but it also is instrumental in boosting productivity.
As an office manager, you have a lot on your plate. Beyond having critical tasks of your own to complete, you are also responsible for overseeing team members and communicating with other department heads. With side tasks constantly popping up, it can be challenging to prioritize your time and accomplish what you need to. One helpful way to prioritize your own work responsibilities is scheduling time throughout the day for specific work. Let your team know the times you are available and the times you will be focusing on your own work. Regularly update your calendar and share it with team members so that you can prioritize your time and projects before adding more to your plate.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
The hiring process is a time-consuming one. Your organization is only as good as its employees, so an office manager must be able to attract talentthat can help your organization grow. When pursuing a new candidate, it can be helpful to have them complete a sample work test to determine if they are the best fit for your team. Once talent has been acquired, and you have a strong team within your organization, you still need to retain these professionals. Skills are growing more and more specialized today, and if you have invested in training an employee, you should do your utmost to keep them. Employees that are the most likely to stay at an organization are those who feel valued and supported.
Maintaining employee engagement and company culture is a significant contributor to retaining team members. Additionally, offering learning opportunities and showing that you appreciate your team members can go a long way. Regular rewards and recognition are excellent tools in addition to fair pay and benefits. Remember, if you want your team members to value you, you must value them.
Managing Paperwork and Organization
As any manager would agree, the role requires a lot of time devoted to paperwork and spreadsheets. Managing an office is a lot of work, especially on top of other projects you may be assigned. A significant aspect of performing this role well is keeping things organized. Utilizing office management tools is instrumental in staying organized, ensuring that paperwork is in order and easy to access, in addition to managing schedules and more. Workplace technology such as cloud storage is largely beneficial in organizing “paperwork,” as it stores files and information in a secure database. Not only does this eliminate the need to manually sort through files in a cabinet, but it also simplifies finding, sharing, and accessing information. In addition to this, countless other tools can be accessed from your computer's browser. Google offers numerous tools such as calendars, shared spreadsheets, chatrooms, and more to make managing your office more straightforward than ever.