How to become an office manager: our advice on this new profession

@ Deskare
November 29, 2023
Published by

Every year, Lia Bazin and her Office Managers Club organize the now famous Office Manager Summit. In 2023, this unique professional festival created by and for Office Managers, took place on Tuesday, February 28th. Deskare was once again invited to lead a workshop!

As the job title suggests, theOffice Manager looks after the office. In recent years, the practice of hybrid work has become more and more common. For Office Managers, this is a completely new form of work organization. For others, it is the globalization of work that needs to be mastered.

This model requires Office Managers to develop different skills than those required for traditional face-to-face work.

So, what has hybrid work changed for Office Managers? How can they work on their employability to adapt to hybrid work and the new expectations of companies?

This is the question that Marie Guillot Salomon, Office Manager ofOVRSEA and Julie Legalché Office & Team Care Manager Senior of Pretto answered during our round table, also moderated by our co-founder Vianney Goater. Discover the key points and best practices discussed.

The consequences of hybrid work in the daily life of Office Managers

Office managers play a crucial role in developing a pleasant work environment. This is especially true in a hybrid work environment, where new ways of bringing the corporate culture to life and uniting teams are needed. Concrete actions were discussed during the workshop:

  • Focus on a comfortable and practical layout for on-site workers
  • Be creative to maintain strong team cohesion despite the distance
  • Get away from the virtual by organizing all office events to encourage the creation of social links and promote quality exchanges between colleagues.

Don't make these events mandatory, but rather make employees want to participate:

"As an Office Manager, our challenge is to make sure that no employee leaves the office after Covid" - Julie

But how do you meet this challenge, in addition to the traditional functions of office management? Marie, who discovered the job during the health crisis, explains:

"The remote work can make life easier for Office Managers: there are fewer people in the office, so fewer purely operational demands. With hybrid schedules, our daily routine is energized, we see new people every day."

Making the office more attractive and encouraging social ties are responses to the challenges of new work methods. At the same time, ask your teams and think about possible layouts. Flex office management tools help you identify spaces to optimize in relation to office use!

The keys to adapting to the new ways of working

Essential soft skills

"Any person with the right soft skills can become an Office Manager" - Marie

Soft skills are human qualities, to be distinguished from purely technical skills (accounting, payroll, etc.). This professional knowledge is part of your personality. Two soft skills essential to the Office Manager's job stood out during the round table:

  • Adaptability: a great capacity to adapt is necessary to deal with the various daily contacts and to manage hybrid schedules. Supporting the teams means ensuring that they can work efficiently in the right spaces.
  • Sociability: all employees are in contact with the Office Manager, which places the function at the heart of office life, hence the need to have a good contact and enjoy talking to the teams to better meet their needs.
"With hybrid work, companies need ultra-adaptable Office Managers who are even more sociable than before. The Team Care part is becoming more and more important." - Julie

Recurring events

Covid reaffirmed the need to develop moments of cohesion, which are more essential than ever. At OVRSEA, a budget has been released to organize face-to-face events:

"Seeing each other in physics is considered a must! But at OVRSEA, these times are never mandatory. To ensure a good turnout and find the best date, I talk a lot with the teams. The key is to schedule recurring events. So I put together a full agenda at the beginning of the year to allow the hybrid workers to get organized." - Marie

At Pretto, recurrence is also the order of the day, to give visibility even to full remotes who rarely come. Every first Thursday of the month marks the monthly meeting, systematically followed by an event.

Supporting tools

"Strengthening the Office Managers' toolbox" as Julie explains, is an important strategy to better organize the office in hybrid mode and keep the culture alive. With the right tools, Office Managers can focus on the essentials and work on the appeal of the office. Marie reflected on her experience with Deskare:

"OVRSEA works in a flex office. Deskare takes a huge thorn out of our daily lives, gives us access to real-time statistics and eliminates the need for Excel spreadsheets. It's a very practical solution when dealing with moving issues."

‣ To go further, find out how Pretto switched to the flex office through Julie's testimony.

remote work for Office Managers

The participants of our round table are formal: Office Managers can telework! Hybrid work is therefore applicable to the job. According to our two panelists, it is essential to plan times during the week to work on strategic issues without interruptions.

"The trick is to adapt to other people's hybrid practices. With a day at remote work, I gain a lot in productivity. But you have to keep in mind that an Office Manager likes to come into the office - it's actually in the job title!" - Julie

So remote work can (and should!) be adapted to office management, particularly for project management tasks.

Applying for an Office Manager position

64% of Office Managers and equivalent will want to change jobs in 2023 according to Walters People's 2023 compensation study. But this requires a careful application to show your abilities to your potential new employer:

"There is no such thing as an Office Manager diploma, but there are qualities to emphasize in a CV: soft skills before hard skills. Show that rigor, stress management and adaptability are your assets. That's why I really appreciate profiles that come from the event industry: soft skills that can be found in this sector!" - Marie

Another important point about the recruitment process was raised during the workshop: pay attention to the job description. If it doesn't mention offices, it's because "the company in question hasn't understood the meaning of the job," Marie continues, "after all, it's in the title. When reading an Office Manager job description, Julie and Marie advise you to check certain points:

  • The hours: you must have clearly defined working hours, and the possibility to disconnect (like any other employee!)
  • Missions: the job is at the service of the office and not of the person, not to be confused with a personal assistant
  • Values: perhaps more than for other positions, being an Office Manager requires being 100% aligned with the company's DNA to make it live up to its best.
  • Service providers: it is very important to know how to surround yourself with partners who respond to the problems of your employees. This ability is acquired over time, so think of the recommendations of your peers!

If we had to sum up this workshop in one word, it would beadaptability, which today is all the more crucial with some teams working remotely. Be careful to determine your own criteria and limits when studying a job description, because, according to Marie and Julie themselves, the job can quickly become "tedious and even thankless" if it isn't properly framed. Finally, if you were wondering: yes, the Office Manager can (and should!) do remote work to get on with his or her core tasks, but above all he or she must love the office!

Thanks to Lia for the organization, as well as to Julie and Marie for their participation in this great event!

‣ Were you interested in the cases of OVRSEA and Pretto, both Deskare clients? Discover how Deskare supports Office Managers in the organization of hybrid work!