Office Manager  What They Do

Insider Info

dotThe primary goals of office managers are to ensure staff and customers are happy, office equipment works effectively and production is at its utmost.

dotPaperwork and personalities are what office managers deal with most. Virtually every industry employs these administrators to ensure the smooth running of their offices and the effectiveness of their staff. Many companies also contract out these services to external firms or consultants.

dotThe duties of office managers can be as diverse as the kinds of industries that employ them. Responsibilities often depend on the size of the firm. In large firms, managers are considered part of middle management.

They oversee clerical supervisors, establish work priorities and coordinate office services, such as equipment and supplies. They develop plans to increase productivity and improve supportive services. They are often included in the hiring and firing process of the administrative staff.

dotIn smaller firms, office managers' responsibilities often include secretarial and administrative duties, payroll preparation, information processing, correspondence and the delegation of duties to clerical staff.

dotOffice managers generally work a standard 40-hour week in comfortable, modern offices. However, they are sometimes required to work overtime, without compensation, to resolve problems.

dotThese managers are experts in office procedures and have a good understanding of word processing, communications, data processing, inventory and record keeping.

dotVirtually every industry employs office managers -- government, the private sector in wholesale and retail trade, communications firms, insurance, real estate and lawyer's offices, financial institutions and all other service industries.

dotThis is not a job that requires a high degree of physical fitness. It does, however, require an ability to work under stress and deal effectively with people.

"You have to be a people person to be a good office manager," says Larry Baranow. He is an office manager at a large food services company. "You're in the middle with people below you and people above you, and you've got to answer to all of them."

dotIf you have great organizational and problem-solving skills, if you are analytical and decisive and have no objection to paperwork, this may be a job for you.

At a Glance

Help run the place

  • Office managers generally work a standard 40-hour week
  • These managers are experts in office procedures
  • Consider a degree in business management, business administration or finance


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First-Line Supervisors, Administrative Support