Office learning

When to Hire An Office Manager: Everything You Need to Know

Not sure whether it’s time to hire your first office manager? Keep reading to find out if your office is overdue for helping hand.

Ana Gotter

Scaling your business is exciting, but it can come with growing pains. Should you raise pricing? Should you offer more services or products? Do you need more employees, which would mean a bigger office building?

As your company grows, one of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself is if it’s time to hire an office manager, or if hiring an office manager is even the right choice for your business.

There is no cut and dry answer to “when is the right time to hire an office manager” because this will depend heavily on your specific business and how it’s structured. That being said, there are still some general guidelines that are a good place to start for when you should consider adding the asset of an office manager to your team. 

What Exactly Does an Office Manager Do? 

Office managers can have diverse job descriptions, depending on where they work and the needs of your business. The biggest part of their job will be administrative work that requires a great deal of organization and keeps your office running smoothly. This may include ordering office supplies (including amazing office snacks!), managing schedules, organizing travel, setting up employee schedules, and more.

In many cases, office managers are going take the tasks off of your hands and the hands of other team members who need to be focusing on other things, freeing up everyone to do more without letting anything fall between the cracks. They’re paid an average of $46,000 per year, and they’re worth every penny. 

When Should I Hire an Office Manager? 

As we mentioned earlier, there’s no threshold of annual profit, number of employees, or anything else that automatically indicates the need for an office manager. While it will be different for each business, there are four sign to watch for that may indicate that it’s time to start looking for the right candidate. If you have one or more, consider getting that job listing together soon. 

1. You’ve Got Executives or Key Players Drowning in Administrative Tasks 

Executives or other high-performing, specialized key players need to be focusing on critical tasks in the business. All of their energy and productivity needs to be going towards the work that keeps the business afloat, whether that’s decision making, sales, or anything else. 

Administrative tasks can drown everyone down, even if it’s just twenty minutes of work a day. And sometimes, there will be administrative tasks that are important enough you don’t want to hand them off to a secretary who might not be trained, but that are taking up an enormous amount of time to handle yourself. Creating an employee schedule, for example, or even organizing the details of important business trips.

If this is happening, it’s almost certainly time to hire an office manager. This is particularly true if tasks are overlapping or resulting in wasted resources (including time!) in any way. As a rule of thumb, no one should be spending more than 10% of their time on admin work ever unless it’s the main focus of their job. 

2. You’re Bringing On A Batch of New Employees 

The bigger the business grows, the more chaos ensues. This is true even for an office that’s essentially a well-oiled machine with the most reliable employees of all time.

Dividing up work between a few key players can work at first, but the more employees, clients, and work that you have, the more that’s at stake.

Scaling in size is typically a sign that it may be time for an office manager. The next time you’re considering hiring a new batch of employees (even if it’s just two or more), this may be the time to bring on the office manager. They can help you keep it all straight. 

3. There’s Internal Disorganization 

There will be a point where your business scales so much that key admin tasks are starting to slip if they’re not relegated to a single person. Sometimes this happens because people aren’t sure exactly who should be doing that work, or they’re so swamped that the work is being done inconsistently. 

Internal disorganization can sink a ship faster than you might think, so if this is something you’re running into, you need to bring someone on ASAP to fix it, because it’s definitely a full time job at that point. 

4.You Can Afford One

This is an important criteria - if you can afford to hire an office manager, that’s a decent sign you may be ready for one.

Remember that office managers aren’t just going to be costing you an extra salary for administration work, but that they’ll be making the rest of your office more productive, too. Their presence will help your money-making team generate more revenue, but because their position won’t directly lead to an increase in profit otherwise, having the extra room in the budget for around $35,000-50,000 per year (plus benefits) is important. 

Traits to Look for In a Great Office Manager

Whenever you do decide that you’re ready for an office manager, it’s essential to make sure that you hire the right person for the job. This is a specialized job in its own right, so you’ll need to hire someone who has certain qualities. 

These are the traits we recommend looking for when hiring an office manager:

  • Naturally organized with strong attention to detail. Whether they’re managing subscriptions to office supplies or an employee’s business trip, they need to have an innate sense of organization so that every detail is addressed.
  • Flexible. The office manager is taking on the million tasks that no one else in the office has the bandwidth to handle, so it can be a little chaotic. Someone who can be flexible as they’re handling all this will be a better fit than someone who insists on sticking to a strict routine.
  • Good with people. Office managers are solving a lot of problems for a lot of people, so they need to be good with people and genuinely like interacting with others.
  • Strong communication skills. There’s so much for office managers to handle that communicating what they need and being able to get to the bottom of what everyone else needs is important.  

When you’re making your hiring choice, always make sure that they have the personality and inherent traits to do the job well; experience alone isn’t always a good reason to hire someone. 

Conclusion

Office managers are going to significantly increase the productivity of your company by making everyone else’s job easier. More gets done, and nothing is slipping between the cracks. This is all excellent news for any corporation, and can lead to a direct increase in revenue. 

Not every business necessarily needs an office manager, particularly if they’re still getting started. Once you need one, though, you’ll know-- and these four signs will be a good reminder. 

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