Do you want to know how to be a better office manager? While there are plenty of skills needed to do the job effectively, learning how to be a good office manager calls for you to have a handle on two skills, specifically: the ability to manage how others spend their time and the ability to manage your own time.
To help you improve your management abilities, we’ve collected 13 office management tips you can begin to use in your business immediately.
Learning How to Manage an Office Effectively
Knowing how to be a good office manager isn’t something that you’re born with—it’s a collection of learned proficiencies that can be honed and improved.
Learning how to be a great office manager involves keeping an office running at it’s highest level of efficiency. Accomplishing this goal requires each member of the team working in positions that take advantage of their skills. The best office managers and bosses free their employees to do the work they do best by assigning them with tasks that fall directly into their skillset. Beyond assisting their teams, successful managers delegate pieces of their to-do-list to other members of the office in an effort to free themselves up to be more productive in other areas of need.
Delegating is a wonderful management tactic that can save you hundreds of hours a year, but many office managers have difficulty letting go of tasks in which they’ve handled for quite some time—especially if they’ve mastered a specific process.
The only way for your office to grow, however, is to make sure you and your team aren’t bogged down by work that can be moved to another team member or even outsourced. Another upside delegation provides to your employees is the chance to gain prioritization and leadership skills that will only help you in improving your bottom line.
Define Goals Clearly
Goals drive business and help identify any actions necessary to help you reach your objectives. The best goals are ones that can be measured tangibly and clearly explained. Ask yourself the following to assess how clearly you’ve communicated office goals to your team:
- When you give your employees an assignment, do they understand why their work and contributions will be valuable?
- Are they able to share, in their own words, exactly what you’re aiming for?
If you, as the office manager, have clearly defined the goals of the company for a specific project, quarter or campaign, your employees can do the same without having to think twice.
Establish Priorities and Reassess Regularly
Just because you’ve defined your goals once doesn’t mean they’re over and done with. In fact, we think that your goals need even more attention once they’ve been established than perhaps at any other time.
For example, if your business is measuring itself against a competitor in Q1 but by Q3 that competitor has been acquired or absorbed into a larger company, it may not make sense to continue assessing your business the way you had been. The needs of a business change rapidly, which require your strategies and tactics to adapt, too.
Keep a Regular Meeting Schedule With Your Team
As much as they may fight it, people like routine. Installing a regular meeting schedule, be it daily, weekly, monthly or some combination of the three, helps to set expectations for your employees. By having regular times for discussion and evaluation, both you and your team can address business needs, goals or pain points that may be felt across the organization.
Introduce Meeting Requirements
The running joke with many meetings is that they can often be summed up like this: “That could’ve been an email.” Random meetings and gatherings can derail an entire day if they’re not kept in check. As long as it can be prevented, eliminating any surprises or disruptions to your team’s workflow is best for keeping efficiency high and stress low.
One of the best ways to keep meetings from becoming an unruly beast is to create a set of requirements each problem or conversation must meet to be eligible for a physical get together. This list of requirements could include things as basic as a few questions, such as, “Has there already been an email thread about this topic?” or “Will this information lead to more questions that are better addressed all at once for everyone to hear, thus saving time?” Each organization’s requirements will be different, but office manager ideas like this give you a better example of what to set up.
Stick to a Project Management Process
There are a variety of project management methods, tools and approaches that can be used to keep your office on track. Of course, you’ll need to reevaluate the efficiency of how you plan, execute and monitor regularly, but it can’t be so often that it impedes actual work from being done. Regardless of which method you choose, the most important thing is to remain consistent.
Actively Encourage Your Team to Take Breaks
Learning how to manage an office effectively is about getting the best work of your team. Sometimes the best ways to maintain high-quality work is to make sure your employees are taking time away from their assignments and projects. It may seem counterintuitive, but once you think about it, it will make plenty of sense.
Often, the easiest way to solve a problem or bring an idea to life is to let it rest. Think of how many times you’ve been inspired by a brilliant thought or figured out how to handle a complicated challenge while cutting the grass, walking the dog or brushing your teeth. Breaks in the action give you and your team a moment to take everything in and finish strong.
Great management involves working with a lot of people and balancing many needs. To guarantee that office management is done appropriately, you need to start by listening to the requests and feedback you’re getting from those around you. By listening, you’ll become aware of all the things happening around you that you may not have known otherwise, putting you in a better position to offer solutions to problems impacting office productivity.
Learning How to Better Manage Your Own Office Time
In any leadership role, you have a lot on your plate. Figuring out which systems work best for keeping it all straight matters when you’re responsible for so much. By thinking ahead and having a plan in place to maximize your efficiencies, you’ll be that much better for your team.
Stop Overextending Yourself
You may think that juggling 17 different projects at once is a good thing, but in reality, it’s nothing but a plan for disaster.
As the leader of the office, your team is counting on your input when the time comes for making major decisions. This means that you’ll always be managing or keeping tabs on multiple projects at once, but you need to be present each step of the way.
Batch Your To-Do List
Think about your own day’s productivity levels for a moment. How often are you checking email or entering data into a spreadsheet? There are probably entire hours in which you do the same task three or more times. All of those activities add up to a significant chunk of your day without you even realizing it. It’s better to segment your day into manageable pieces through a process known as batching.
By clearly delineating your schedule and responsibilities (and encouraging your employees to do the same), you’ll be able to get more done and feel more accomplished. Beginning to batch your work will certainly take some time to get used to, but the benefits will pay off in time.
Set Personal Deadlines
Understanding how to be the best office manager comes with learning how to manage your time first. Even if you don’t need a specific project to be completed by a certain date, it’s much easier to keep your momentum going forward if you set a deadline. Putting a time frame on a task forces you to consider necessary things vs. the things that may simply be a nice-to-have. In addition, setting a personal deadline makes you power through obstacles and accountable to your team.
Get Away From Your Desk
As the office manager, your team is spread out across an entire office, warehouse or even multiple locations. To make sure that everyone is working efficiently and has everything they need to succeed, it’s going to require you to be on the move quite a bit. Knowing that you’ll be away from your desk for hours, if not days, at a time, it’s important for you to develop the ability to be productive while you’re not in an optimal working environment. Investing in a quality laptop would be a good idea if you don’t already have one as a means of increasing your productivity when you’re on the road, at home or simply working alongside one of your employee’s at their desk.
With the amount of social media notifications, texts, emails, phone calls and other unclassified disruptions, life at work is noisier than ever. Aside from keeping you away from your job, distractions can completely interrupt your workflow and destroy any momentum you may have had prior.
Just as we learned with batching, one of the easiest ways to minimize distractions would be to mute your phone and use “do not disturb” mode to your advantage. Establish specific times in your day where you will actively check your messages, emails or return personal calls. This strategy could even present you with great office management solutions that you can use across the entire organization.
How Office Management Tips Improve Your Business
There are always ways you can better your office management approach. Finding the right ones for your business come down to how you manage an office, how you approach people, products, services and how your unique office dynamic needs to be handled.
Learning how to be the best office manager doesn’t need to be a difficult process—in fact, we think it can be a great deal of fun. If you think we’ve missed any great office management tips, let us know on Facebook in the comments.