Office manager

So you work in an admin or secretarial role and, although you hate to admit it, you're brilliant at your job. The phones never ring twice, meeting rooms are always booked on time, and the whole office runs smoothly. Sounds like you're ready to move up the ladder and become an office manager.



So, what will I actually be doing?

In an office manager job you are the lynchpin of the office, the glue that binds everyone together and the first person workers will approach when there’s a problem, which can range from the serious, to just needing a new stapler. With a range of responsibilities at your feet, you need to be a great all-rounder and an expert multi-tasker.

The role of office manager is demanding and bursting with variety. Future office managers will love the diversity the role offers and your daily tasks may well include:

  • Balancing office budgets
  • Arranging travel, meetings and appointments
  • Ordering stationery and equipment (depending on how often staff nick it, this could be a regular thing)
  • Supervising and monitoring the work staff
  • Discussing problems with staff
  • Reporting to management
  • Reviewing and implementing the company's health and safety policy
  • Arranging training for staff

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The finer details... 

Needless to say, this is an office-based role! And it’s unlikely you’ll work outside of normal office hours so it's easy to achieve a work/life balance. As the office manager plays such a crucial role, these jobs are usually full-time and offer little flexibility in terms of working hours, sorry about that.

The office manager is a senior role and the top of the tree in terms of an admin/secretarial career. Office managers often progress by taking on bigger departments with more responsibility, or you could switch to a career as a human resources manager instead.

Money, money, money

Newcomers to the role can expect to earn at least £17k. Experience counts in this career and office managers with years behind them can expect to earn between £25k and £40k.

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The good points...

“Being responsible for everything, such as equipment, office requirements and updates,” says Sarah Claridge who works as an office manager in TV post-production. “The days are so varied, it’s never tedious.”

...and the bad

“Trying to convince bosses new equipment or policies are required to make the office run smoother – if they don't have a 'hands-on' approach they often deem these things unnecessary.”

Is there study involved?

“I just 'fell' into this role,” says Sarah, “You obviously need some secretarial/PA skills but I think the main thing is to be able to organise effectively and have good interpersonal skills. Knowledge of IT also helps.”

Sarah’s experience of ‘falling into’ an office manager role is not uncommon. However, it’s worth getting some relevant training under your belt to help you compete for popular roles. To get ahead you could take courses in:

  • Equality and diversity
  • Health and safety 
  • IT training in software such as Access and Excel
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Time management

Organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Management Institute run plenty of short courses that will help you with office manager applications.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

If you can answer yes to all of the following questions, you may have found your future career:

  • Do you like to be in control?
  • Are you master multi-tasker?
  • Are you prepared to stand your ground and say ‘no’ when required?
  • Are you the first person your friends come to when they’ve got a problem?
  • Are you the most organised person you know?

Working as an office manager requires the delicate balance of being friendly and approachable and being able to make hard decisions to keep the office functioning.

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