As an Office Manager (or in a similar or mixed role) you’ll be aware that there are many areas of responsibility, and I’ve talked about it a few times now in previous blogs.

I like to call it Jack of all and Master of Some because there are simply so many hats you need to wear to effectively manage your office, that you cannot be expected to be the expert in all areas. If we look at a typical role of an Office Manager you’ll likely be in charge of:

– Facilities (at least within your space) e.g. toilets, air-conditioning, showers if you have them
– Security e.g. access control and door passes, CCTV and alarms or keys
– Office products e.g. stationery, teas & coffees, crockery & cutlery, water coolers and so on
– Furniture e.g. task chairs, desks and new requirements such as sit/stand, kitchen stools and break out areas, meeting room set up
– Health and Safety – the list of this can be pretty endless with training, DSEs, fire alarm testing and drills, first aiders and accident reports not to mention the risk assessments and policy updates
– Life safety systems such as maintenance on smoke heads, fire extinguishers, sprinklers and so on
– Insurances, office costs and budget management, lease and rent increases, business rates
– Technology contracts, equipment and support
– HR, payroll, accounts, procurement and finance and so on.

And this probably only covers half of it for most! What it means is you cannot be an expert in how your air-conditioning system works, how it should be cleaned and serviced nor can you be an expert in what sort of chairs are out there and the many functions of them all. You also can’t be expected to be an insurance or rates whizz who knows exactly what the best products are out there for your business.

Jack of all

It’s just not possible… what you can be instead is the “Jack of all” by leaning on the experts. These experts can be your insurance broker, rates advisor, furniture provider, and engineers. Ask your experts to help pull out the information you need to ensure you make the best possible, informed decisions or can channel that information effectively through to your manager in order for them to make a decision.

I think it’s really crucial in a role such as this to scratch someway beyond the surface to get to know why the AC keeps shutting off, or why it needs to have the ducts cleaned every 6 months costing your firm a small fortune. So, in short – ask why, what, how and get to know more about these areas than you perhaps already do… but don’t worry about being the expert because that’s not the job you have been given.

Master of some

The Master of Some comes into play when there are areas you can be more expert in, either because you enjoy learning about these areas or perhaps because they are something you do more often than not, or it’s key to your business for you to become a master.

Take Health & Safety as an example, you may decide that it’s both interesting and cost-effective for your business to train you in this requirement than outsourcing it to an expert – there will, of course, be an upfront cost to get trained but the benefit is that you’ll probably be able to handle 80% of the requirements in-house and only occasionally need an expert at reach.

It’s probably also obvious that some of the responsibilities you have will need a qualification such as HR and employment matters, accounting and maybe even payroll. But you certainly won’t be needing to get on a ladder anytime soon, poking your head above the ceiling tiles to check out the rattling AC unit! Leave that to the experts…