The Office Manger – The Tru Unsung Hero in Every Marketplace

Preserving and promoting a strong company culture employees can identify with and feel a part of is one of the most important ways employers can retain top talent and grow their business.

As the workplace and workforce continue to evolve, and changes such as remote working become more prevalent, employees are now more than ever look- ing for a way to stay connected within their work communities.

In a recent Grand & Toy survey conducted between May and July of this year, owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses were asked about what actions they had taken to prepare for anticipated changes to their workplace. The study revealed that while a quarter of those responding have done nothing to prepare for a changing work environment, 43 per cent had taken action to address job expectations and descriptions; 34 per cent had addressed flex time and commuting; 30 per cent had revamped a performance management process; and 29 per cent had hired more part time and contract workers.

In spite of those initiatives, though, only five per cent of the businesses surveyedwere well on their way to adapting to the changing work environment.

Another area of the study focused on  business operations, seeking to identify if the participating company had an individual — or perhaps a few individuals — on staff who could foresee the needs of their colleagues and go beyond their job description: both deemed to be excellent ways to positively impact a company culture and people around it.

The study found that a large majority (82 per cent) of respondents said they did, with 32 per cent having a dedicated person and 50 per cent composed of a team effort. With seemingly endless enthusiasm and the gift of foresight, these “office heroes” seem to always be in the position to help the colleague who has run out of staples or paper; the person endlessly missing pens; and the onewho never has enough coloured stickies for a brainstorm meeting.

So who are these office heroes? These special people are constantly anticipating needs, coming through in a pinch, keeping the office stocked, or doing many of the less savoury office tasks.

It’s also often someone who doesn’t get enough credit or kudos for all the work they do for their fellow employees: That hero was found to be none other than the office manager!

A true champion in the workplace and the backbone of the organization, keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly, the study found that the office manager often has a job description in place (71 per cent), but is often (60 per cent) required to step outside of their regular weekly duties and do the unexpected. And, it’s safe to say, some of these unexpected tasks stretch the boundaries of appropriateness, as well.

In an open response query, Grand & Toy asked office managers about the unassigned tasks they deal with every day and the results were revealing. They included: “breaking a window of a car to save a dog;” “cancelling a rogue credit card after a boss’ separation;” and “writing a speech for someone for their wedding.” Not surprisingly, the list goes on to include some less than glamorous tasks like cleaning kitty litter; re- moving wallpaper; and folding laundry.

Despite that, almost 90 per cent of office managers surveyed admitted they enjoyed being given the chance to work beyond their job description, agreeing at a rate of 84 per cent with the statement: “I am there for, and have the backs of my work colleagues.”

In the office, it is this selfless and committed approach to the job that makes them indispensable in the ever-changing workplace.

Grand & Toy often conducts research on market segments to gain insights and understanding of their marketplace and has defined office managers as one of their primary clients and partners. As workplaces continue to evolve, the need for and role of an office manager will grow, transforming alongside the workspace. Grand & Toy believes that office managers will become a community base for the office — sharing information, extending resources, and connecting all parties together.

This Article was originally published in the Spring 2017 Issue of Office Today Magazine