We recently changed the way in which The Office Management Portal (the OMP) works and how we provide access to our Members – the great news is that it is now free* for anyone to access and use as they need to, on an unlimited basis. But how should our Members make the most of their access to the OMP and how can they benefit from it?

Who is it for?

Firstly, it’s helpful to know that the OMP is aimed at supporting individuals who run or manage an office or multiple offices as part of their role. It may suit for example, a start-up company where the owner or COO is currently managing all aspects of the office from the lease / tenancy agreement and insurance right through to the ordering of pads and pens. More specifically, it will suit a first-time or newly experienced office manager, PA/EA or receptionist who has been given responsibility of over-seeing the management and day to day running of the office; giving them some vital starting points and contacts to support this and enhance the skills and information needed for their role.

It also benefits those who are more experienced in the running of their office, as we’ve learnt from existing members. They have benefitted in various ways from access to resources such as the Forum, the Partner Directory and the Events and Training Calendar. One of the key points from our initial survey in June 2017 was that 88% of office managers who wanted access to a platform such as the OMP were more experienced (70% of those were in management positions or had been in office management roles for over 5 years), than those with less experience in more junior positions.

Another highlight from the survey was that there is a lack of office manager training available that is specific to the role. By creating this resource, we aimed and continue to close the gap on this area and help provide office management training, advice and support.

What is it?

The OMP is essentially a one-stop-tool bringing various contacts, resources and key dates for the diary into one online hub. We refer to it as “The Go To Resource for Office Management” and think this is pretty relevant as often in such roles, people are seen as the “go to person”.

Some elements within the OMP act as an office management training guide and in fact, within our Templates section there is an in-depth introduction to office management which shares detail on various aspects of managing a workplace. The aim with this style within the OMP is to provide additional skills to and develop office managers and PAs benefitting both them and their business.

Within the Tips & Advice section, which can be described as a blog / newsfeed and tailored advice to office managers, you’ll find an array of support and updates on legislative items such as HR and Health & Safety; this simply doesn’t exist anywhere else centrally. The Forum is a virtual network, meaning Members of the OMP can connect with other professionals in similar roles – something we found out from the research is lacking, but very much desired. And a handy Jargon Buster which some have referred to as “the Google for Office Managers!”

How should I use it?

Now you know a little more about it, how can you use it? Most of our Members tend to log in around once a week on average – when they do they’ll see notifications showing which Tips and Templates have been added or updated for ease. Most Members will browse these using the notification prompts to view them if they are of interest. They will also see notifications about topics and / or replies to topics they have created in the Forum.

The Forum is one of the more popular sections in the OMP, and it’s not surprising given over a third of office management professionals in our survey stated they wanted to network with others in a similar role.

My advice when you first get access as a Member would be to spend time browsing the OMP and going into each section; in particular the Tips & Advice. Depending on the experience in your role and what you may be looking for support with, this area alone can be invaluable – you can run a search for key words such as ‘Health & Safety’ or ‘procurement’ and go from there, or you can scroll through the list until you see a topic that catches your eye.

If you do have a paid Membership, I recommend going into the Templates section and going through all the categories and then subsequently all templates when you have an opportunity to do so, by spending perhaps 15 minutes or so a week doing this when you are new, as some may be templates you didn’t even know you needed or could help support you. Of course, at any time you can log-in when you know you need a particular template and download it within a few clicks and if one is not there, you can request for it to be added as a number of Members have already done.

Additionally, browsing the Events & Training calendar is going to be really helpful and, if you are keen to network and attend events for Office Managers and PAs there are plenty to be found in London, in particular. Finally, as and when you do need more support in the form of other Members, our office management experts or our Partner Providers you can access the Forum and Partner Service and Supply directory.

The directory is easy to use, and we have more than 50 providers in there from stationery and printers, to massage and yoga! So, whenever you are benchmarking, tendering or on the hunt for a brand-new service or supply no need to Google or rely on the cold-calls coming through, you can turn to the OMP for trusted recommendations.

Finally, if you are on a paid Membership attending the Webinars will be of added value – these are scheduled approximately once a month and range from regular topics to include Perfecting Procurement, Health & Safety Gap Analysis and The Office Move to ad-hoc and one-off sessions. It’s a little extra support which ensures our Members can effectively use the templates and have the opportunity to ask questions about them and the topic at hand.

And the rest?

The only other area left to cover would be our OMP Events. We’ve now held four in the space of a year and are planning to head up North soon to Manchester and launch regular meet and greet opportunities there for office management professionals. If you’ve not been to one yet and are keen to attend, do join our mailing list for event invites.

It’s my mission to provide office managers with support and resources to help enhance their skills and learning, and connect them with each other. The OMP is still very new, and its journey so far has been an exciting one. If you’d like to find out more or register to join, click here and welcome to The Office Management Portal!

Hana Gray, Founder of the OMP

*With the exception of downloadable templates