Basics of office management

Last updated: 2024-03-05

What is office management, definition

Behind every successful business or organization is an perfect office management. The goal of office management is to create and support a positive, effective working environment within company offices and other workspaces. Office management takes responsibility for the work environment, ensuring that the right policies, tools, and systems are in place so that all employees can do their jobs efficiently and safely. Ensures operations run smoothly and efficiently.

  • office management improve and maintain efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of work environment together with people and connects HR, facility and IT management.
  • office management goes across or even overlap with other areas such as facility, human resources, finance, marketing or IT management
  • office manager in SMBs do the work of other departments, such as human resources (HR & staffing), finance, and even marketing
  • can include staff training, arranging travel, and managing other facility staff 

What does effective office management involve?

The scope depends on the size of the company. In general office management in small and medium companies overlaps with HR, IT or facility management since there is usually one person covering o lot of this back-office topics. Medium to large companies have dedicated office management to its offices only and specialized departments do the rest. In general, the office management covers:  

  • perfecting work environment to achieve business goals
  • guiding and coordinating the activities of all people an departments in the company to achieve business goals
  • performs general administrative tasks
  • participating on employee hiring, onboarding, training and offboarding
  • outfitting employees with the right work equipment, gadgets and all other work necessities
  • preparing and submitting various reports for company management
  • coordinates communication between departments

What are the key functions of office management?

No matter what the size of your business is, if you are going to run smooth business operations you must have a wide range of topics and processes covered thanks to office management. 

Workspace management, work equipment and furniture

  • the most traditional responsibility associated with office management is optimizing the office space, workplace a work environment
  • this includes establishing a work environment conducive to high employee performance, workplace security, safety
  • this also include purchase equipment and furniture or replacing broken, used-up, or obsolete equipment.

Organizing resources & equipment management

  • office management is responsible for ensuring that materials, equipment, personnel, and finances are all being applied effectively towards achieving company goals
  • these resources include materials, personnel, and financial backing.
  • optimizing resource usage means keeping a detailed and accurate inventory of available resources
  • organizing resources walks hand in hand toward achieving company goals with planning

Managing suppliers & supplies

  • establishing relationships with external supplies
  • this includes many support services such as events, travel, insurance, or various IT or legal services
  • this includes also communication with maintenance workers, custodial staff, or delivery drivers.
  • communicating with the landlord or property manager

Travel coordination

  • Office managers may also handle employee travel arrangements.

Onboarding, offboarding, staffing, employee training and other HR agendas 

  • in small and growing companies, there may be no HR team at all, and the entirety of these responsibilities can fall to the office manager
  • in many other companies office managers help HR with the rest of the staff, especially working with HR on recruitment, hiring, onboarding or offboarding
  • usually office management supports hiring, onboarding, offboarding
  • it should contain also management of company policies, guidelines for employees and its behaviour
  • updating employees on company changes, such as branding, hirings, and departmental updates

Employee benefit programs 

  • managing perks and wellbeing programs
  • managing parking arrangements

Employee travel

  • managing a travel budget for employees.
  • dealing with flights, transport to and from airports, and accommodation.
  • handling emergencies, such as cancelled or missed flights.

IT coordination, working with IT

  • although IT is usually a department all its own, office management is often responsible for working with IT to ensure that the office environment has access to the right functioning technology to operate effectively
  • This includes coordinating with IT on software and equipment usage and optimizing support technology (such as Wi-Fi, network access, video conferencing, etc.) in the office space
  • work with the IT department to ensure that all meeting rooms are running smoothly, and should be trained on all video conferencing technology and Wifi connection for employees and guests

Reporting, general administrative & company wide collaboration

  • communication is a central part of running a small business and typically the office manager resides at the core.
  • typical communication in a busy office includes emails, posted notices, and staff meetings
  • performs general administrative tasks
  • preparing and submitting various reports for company management

Event management

  • event planning management
  • planning and organizing holiday celebrations at the office
  • managing off-site trips, like workshops, team-building events, retreat, and so on
  • dealing with venues, vendors, booths, and itineraries

Workplace and employee safety and security

  • ensure safe working environment and that the correct steps have been taken to protect the employees and the company from external threats
  • this includes establishing and regulating office safety policies and working with IT to establish proper data security procedures
  • the working conditions for employees must be safe, and the company should also be secure from potential external threats
  • organizing and undertaking drills, e.g. for fires or active shooters
  • it includes also physical security of offices and other company properties 
  • distributing and tracking keys, entrance cards or passes for employees and guests
  • ensuring access to proper safety gear

Using the right tools to support office management processes

Digital tools have expanded the capabilities of modern offices

  • Video conferencing tools for remote work
  • Travel & Expense management software
  • Event planning tools
  • Office management and general organization
  • Bookkeeping and account management tools
  • Project management
  • Document management tools to store and collaborate on documentation with team members, vendors, and stakeholders
  • Collaboration tools to communicate and collaborate on ideas, solutions, and other types of work in real-time
  • Reporting and analytics to measure performance, forecast office needs, and identify patterns
  • Resource allocation to assign staff, budgets, and equipment to tasks and projects
  • Inventory management to keep track of assets, orders, and maintenance records
  • Budget management to track expenses, invoices, and payments