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Office managers oversee all facets of a business operation, and effective ones set a positive tone for employees and guests of the business. A manager must have the flexibility and versatility to balance responsibilities throughout the day. With the variety of tasks and numerous interoffice interactions, the job does have its ups and downs.
Office managers have significant control over their work environments. They set policies for activities such as greeting clients, answering phones and filing documents. They often direct administrative workers, and they schedule conference rooms and meeting spaces. In a sales environment, an office manager may delegate incoming prospects to sales representatives or assign project work to employees at her discretion. In a small business, the office manager has even greater control in managing operations.
Variable Roles Each Day
Each day is different for a typical office manager, which is an advantage if you crave variety. During the course of a single day, you may interact with numerous clients, handle countless phone calls, prepare internal memos, coordinate meetings, direct staff members, order supplies and complete paperwork. The variability may be welcome to those who dislike more routine jobs.
An office manager is literally and figuratively front and center in a business, which can be a stressful role at times. She greets customers as they enter and interacts with employees throughout the day. The manager must balance a pleasant attitude with clients with sometimes direct and firm interaction with staff. Slipups in client interactions, misfiling of documents or gaffes in financial paperwork lead to big problems for a company, so you must be diligent about details. Mistakes are not as easily hidden as they might be by a back office employee.
Workers often scoff at the section on a job description that says, "other duties as assigned." While office managers do have specific duties, much of their role involves completing assignments delegated daily by company owners or executives. While flexible work is often valued, uncertainty of your role and responsibilities is frustrating for some. In a small operation, for example, you may get stuck shoveling snow or running errands.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.