Written by Sean Li • July 1, 2021
The office has a rich cultural history - from a famous 15th century painting “Saint Augustine in His Study” to the antics of Dwight Schrute in the “The Office.” And where there’s offices, there’s office managers and executive assistants. This position is sometimes unheralded, but it has a significant impact on office culture. Great office managers and executive assistants keep teams organized and make work easier, whether in-office or remotely.
New and experienced office managers alike will learn something from this list of 11 must-have office manager resources and ideas.
Office managers and executive assistants are often tasked with handling travel accommodations. You’ll need to be a pro with booking rideshares and flights. Fortunately it’s easier to manage the process through Uber and Lyft business accounts. Office managers can establish Lyft and Uber corporate accounts and then oversee all the rides taken and scheduled. This helps with expense record keeping and event planning as well.
For air travel, there are two top outlets for finding the most affordable deals. Google Flights aggregates available flight info from most of the major providers. However, they don’t catch everything. For instance, flights operated by Southwest Airlines usually don’t have pricing info. Use another flight finder, Kayak.com, to make sure you’re finding the best deals for airfare.
For many, office snacks are life. And this immense responsibility falls on the office manager. Whether you’re covering up for a lackluster company culture or adding to a superb one, snacks matter. Services like FreshDirect offer a wide range of doorstep-delivery grocery items. This catalog of options, along with deals for frequent deliveries and weekly sales, allow office managers to keep a rotating roster of breakroom snacks. You can get creative and allow employees to vote on the top options, or allow employees to pick their favorites as a top performance perk.
The only thing more important than snacks? Meals. Securing catered meals for office events or the occasional Friday is a big task when there’s a large group of employees counting on you. CaterCow allows office managers to order from vetted, local restaurants. You can choose individually wrapped meals or buffet style. All the images on restaurant pages are verified so you know what you’re getting and can order with confidence. Speaking of employee involvement, you can also use group order polls to let employees choose what they want to eat. CaterCow is the go-to option for high quality and reliable catered meals for employees. It’s an office manager's best friend!
A near universal responsibility for office managers is ordering office supplies and managing the equipment inventory. The most convenient resource here is Amazon. There are thousands of affordable supplies available for two-day delivery via Amazon Prime.
However it’s always worthwhile to look elsewhere for the best deals, especially on specific and specialized items. Staples, Office Depot, Target, and Best Buy offer reward programs and occasional deals. Additionally, there are local liquidation stores in every major city, along with dollar stores for bulk items such as paper.
Some office managers have access to the company budgeting or expenses software. But if this isn’t the case, sharpen up your spreadsheet skills on Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. A few quick and easy formulas allow you to input new expenses and automatically calculate totals. Especially as a new office manager, these skills will help you pick up accounting software faster. It can also sell managers on the need to purchase software tools and make the job more efficient.
Many office managers in modern workplaces have replaced the traditional office receptionist. Answering and redirecting calls can be an unpredictable task. Investing in a wireless headset for hands-free operating can make it less stressful. These headsets can connect to office phones (or any mobile device) via Bluetooth. They’re available as one-ear side pieces or over-ear headphones.
An overlooked aspect of the office manager role is the amount of online training and educational courses available. Hoppier has a list of 20 office manager training courses that range from free to a few hundred dollars. These classes teach skills such as payroll, diversity and inclusion, business writing, and project management. They can boost the effectiveness of a resume or LinkedIn profile.
With that said, you don’t have to limit yourself to office manager courses. Any sort of business education and professional development studies helps office managers stand out from the crowd during interviews and the application process.
Another responsibility the office manager has taken over from the traditional receptionist is scheduling meetings. You’ll need to know the ins and outs of Google’s and Microsoft’s features if necessary. But some other scheduling tools include services such as Calendly and YouCanBook.me, these tools allow employees to send a link for self-serve scheduling. These are popular with new startups without an established calendar provider or when dealing with external partners. They're another great resource for event or webinar planning.
Speaking of event planning, it’s a cumbersome endeavor and many office managers are expected to help. Create a checklist to help with the planning processes. This includes banners, promotional booths, scheduling, calendars with important dates, books or software tools. Being multi-faceted as an office manager is an effective way to build your career or find new opportunities.
Office managers usually have goals based around improving employee engagement. Develop ideas for team building, team outings, or just ways to foster a positive work environment. One way to do so is to be plugged into the local scene. “Things to do'' websites, local newspapers, and weekly magazines provide inspiration for events. You can also use these resources to inform coworkers about fun things to do.