Workplace managers are the beating hearts of the office, making sure everyone else is supplied with what they need. But what do you need? And what’s the secret for keeping the office running seamlessly? We asked some managers, directors and VPs for their takes.
1. Embrace digitization.
If your workforce is partially remote, consider scanning documents as a more convenient way for those employees to receive their mail, rather than asking them to come in-office. “Scanning is a big thing right now,” one director agrees, since it’s better for the planet, makes sending information faster and instantly makes that information searchable and indexable. If scanning becomes too much of a hassle, consider a digital mailroom assistant to do the work for you.
2. Share the knowledge.
“There’s no manual for what office managers do. It’s all in our heads, and we really have to share that experience with each person who joins the team,” another director explains. “If I’ve learned something, I try to tell someone so they can make the best use of that experience.” Pass on that knowledge, whether that’s how to fix the finicky espresso machine or how to easily rate-shop major shipping carriers before sending a package.
3. Include off-site teammates.
Keeping in-office employees and visitors happy is naturally a priority, but pro-level operations managers remember remote team members, too. If budget allows, try shipping little care items to remote employees periodically—crafts, office supplies, snacks, anything that makes them happy. “People love to receive something, and I get to put a smile on their face,” one director says. Make sure to have a robust shipping solution in place to make things easier when shipping volumes get high.
4. Reframe the situation.
Say the audiovisual system your office wants is backordered for eight months. “It’s about setting expectations,” one manager says. “You can let people know ‘We’re really excited because eight months from now we’ll have a whole new way of streaming a meeting!’” Even if a situation isn’t ideal, using good communication and framing issues positively can help.
5. Get good at delegating.
Be sure to care for yourself when pressure starts to build. “Learn how to do box breathing,” one manager advises. “That’s all you can do sometimes. If you can delegate, do it as much as you can. Prioritize, and have grace and patience with yourself.” Remember, you can’t do it all by yourself. Think through ways for others to lessen the load, like using a self-serve booking tool to automate conference room reservations or a cloud-based shipping solution so employees can manage their own packages.
6. Empower others.
It’s a common scenario. “A lot of people show up at the office and think they can get IT help now,” one manager explains. “But we’ve already got a queue of people who have submitted their requests and are waiting their turn—you can’t jump the line.” Try giving periodic reminders about self-help tools for easy issues, like password resets. It can help empower employees to problem solve, plus free up time for IT personnel to focus on bigger issues.
7. Find proven solutions.
Exploring new office tools and solutions can help you discover efficiencies (big and small) that make it easier to run the workplace like a well-oiled machine. For instance, if manual data entry for office deliveries has become overwhelming, a comprehensive package tracking tool with barcode scanning can eliminate that chore. Or if your front desk is overrun with packages waiting to be picked up, a smart locker system could free up room and allow remote employees self-service access. Changes like these can create a huge positive impact.
Need help figuring out the right solution for your office? Check out our workplace manager hub for options and inspiration.