Office manager

An office manager


Office managers oversee the administrative work that clerical workers are commissioned to perform in various types of organisations or associations. They perform micromanagement and maintain a close view of administrative processes such as such as controlling correspondence, designing filing systems, reviewing and approving supply requisitions, assigning and monitoring clerical functions. They report to managers within the same department or to general managers in companies, depending on their size.

The duties of an office manager typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing the work of all office employees to ensure they work productively and meet deadlines and company standards
  • Counseling any employees struggling in their roles
  • Answering telephone calls and emails from customers and clients and directing them to relevant staff
  • Creating an office budget and ensuring all employees follow it
  • Monitoring office supplies and ordering new stationery, furniture, appliances and electronics as required
  • Interviewing and training new office employees and organizing their employment paperwork
  • Organizing maintenance companies to keep the office clean and safe and ensure its appliances are in good working order
  • Reporting office progress to senior management and working with them to improve office operations and procedures

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to office manager:

administrative supervisor
administrative manager
office coordinator
general office administrator
office supervisor
administrative services manager

Working conditions

Office managers are employed across the board in the public, private, and charity sectors. In short, you can be employed by any organisation that runs an office, from small businesses to public bodies and multinational corporations.

Minimum qualifications

It is possible to become an office manager with any degree subject or a high school diploma, but the following subjects may be beneficial:

  • business administration/business management
  • computing and information technology
  • human resource management
  • management
  • public administration.

Entry without a degree or high school diploma is also possible with relevant office experience and skills. Many office managers enter at office administrator level and work their way up through experience. Some employers will ask for a management qualification at office manager level.

As office managers are responsible for the way offices operate, they should have experience working in an office environment, typically as an administrative or office assistant. Most office professionals work in these entry-level roles, such as receptionist or office assistant, for three to five years before transitioning to a more senior position like office manager.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Office manager is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Office manager career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to office manager.

education administrator
executive assistant
ICT help desk manager
case administrator
contact centre supervisor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of office manager. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of office manager with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

court administrator
public finance accountant
nursery school head teacher
civil service administrative officer
defence administration officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of office manager.

  • Cost management: The process of planning, monitoring and adjusting the expenses and revenues of a business in order to achieve cost efficiency and capability.
  • Office software: The characteristics and functioning of software programs for office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, email and database.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of office manager.

  • Give instructions to staff: Give instructions to subordinates by employing various communication techniques. Adjust communication style to the target audience in order to convey instructions as intended.
  • Manage needs for stationery items: Watch, analyse, and provide sufficient and required stationery items for business facilities to run operations smoothly.
  • Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Manage office facility systems: Keep management and service ability of the various office systems needed for the smooth and daily operation of the office facilities such as internal communication systems, softwares of common use inside the company, and office networks.
  • Use office systems: Make appropriate and timely use of office systems used in business facilities depending on the aim, whether for the collection of messages, client information storage, or agenda scheduling. It includes administration of systems such as customer relationship management, vendor management, storage, and voicemail systems.
  • Manage administrative systems: Ensure administrative systems, processes and databases are efficient and well managed and give the sound basis to work together with the administrative officer/staff/professional.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Create a work atmosphere of continuous improvement: Work with management practices such as continuous improvement, preventive maintenance. Pay attention to problem solving and teamwork principles.
  • Perform clerical duties: Perform administrative tasks such as filing, typing up reports and maintaining mail correspondence.
  • Delegate activities: Delegate activities and tasks to others according to the ability, level of preparation, competence and legal scope of practice. Make sure that people understand what they should do and when they should do it.
  • Make improvements to work activities: Make recommendations for improvements to work activities
  • Manage office appliance requirements: Watch, analyse, and provide the appliances required in offices and business facilities for a smooth running of the operations. Prepare appliances such as communication devices, computers, faxes, and photocopiers.
  • Analyse staff capacity: Evaluate and identify staffing gaps in quantity, skills, performance revenue and surpluses.
  • Implement corporate governance: Apply a set of principles and mechanisms by which an organisation is managed and directed, set procedures of information, control flow and decision making, distribute rights and responsibilities among departments and individuals, set corporate objectives and monitor and evaluate actions and results.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of office manager. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Labour legislation: Legislation, on a national or international level, that governs labour conditions in various fields between labour parties such as the government, employees, employers, and trade unions.
  • Trade union regulations: The compilation of legal agreements and practices for operations of trade unions. Legal scope of trade unions in their quest to protect the rights and minimum working standards of workers.
  • Contract law: The field of legal principles that govern written agreements between parties concerning the exchange of goods or services, including contractual obligations and termination.
  • Project management: Understand project management and the activities which comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
  • Financial capability: Financial operations such as calculations, cost estimations, budget management taking relevant commercial and statistical data into account such as data for materials, supplies and manpower.
  • Accounting techniques: The techniques of recording and summarising business and financial transactions and analysing, verifying, and reporting the results.
  • Tax legislation: Tax legislation applicable to a specific area of specialisation, such as import tax, government tax, etc.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of office manager. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Manage budgets: Plan, monitor and report on the budget.
  • Assess employees’ capability levels: Evaluate the capabilities of employees by creating criteria and systematic testing methods for measuring expertise of individuals within an organisation.
  • Recruit employees: Hire new employees by scoping the job role, advertising, performing interviews and selecting staff in line with company policy and legislation.
  • Develop classification systems: Organise archive or business records; develop classification systems to facilitate access to all information.
  • Prepare financial statements: Collect, entry, and prepare the set of financial records disclosing the financial position of a company at the end of a certain period or accounting year. The financial statements consisting of five parts which are the statement of financial position, the statement of comprehensive income, the statement of changes in equity (SOCE), the statement of cash flows and notes.
  • Plan shifts of employees: Plans shifts of employees to ensure completion of all customer orders and satisfactory completion of the production plan.
  • Use customer relationship management software: Use specialised software to manage company’s interactions with current and future customers. Organise, automate and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support, to increase targeted sales.
  • Maintain contract administration: Keep contracts up to date and organise them according to a classification system for future consultation.
  • Manage accounts: Manage the accounts and financial activities of an organisation, supervising that all the documents are correctly maintained, that all the information and calculations are correct, and that proper decisions are being made.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
  • Revise drafts made by managers: Revise drafts made by managers in order to check completeness, accuracy, and formatting.

ISCO group and title

3341 – Office supervisors

  1. Office manager – ESCO
  2. Office Manager Job Description |
  3. Office manager job profile |
  4. Featured image: Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash
Last updated on March 24, 2023

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