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The Trials And Tribulations Of Managing An Office

The Trials And Tribulations Of Managing An Office

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I’ve spent a great deal of time in an office and running a freelance business from home. It would be nice if you could just focus on the tasks at hand but if you were to only do that, things would quickly get out of control. If there isn’t someone to manage the office, operations will come to a halt.

I want to share a few of the trials and tribulations you’ll experience when you’re put in the managerial position at work. Here are some issues that will require your attention when managing an office:

Keeping Stocked With Office Supplies

Consider widely used office machines, like fax machines or printers. These two items alone will quickly run out of their supplies if you have a team constantly printing. Popular brands for the office, like Xerox, have introduced a lot of paperless options but it still means you need to keep stock of Xerox ink for your device. Now imagine if you have one on each desk for each employee!

Then you have things like stationary, office furniture that’s been broken, monitors, cables, and the like.

A grasp on inventory management is a skill you’ll quickly learn when managing the office. It’s crucial that you’re able to keep a count on what comes in and what goes out. This includes the items used as part of the daily work routine. It’ll be a challenge keeping up with these items but you’ll want to, especially considering the amount of funds you’re dumping into the business.

Team Collaboration

If you’re lucky enough to be in an environment which gives employees creative control then you can relax (a bit), since they’re self-managed. However, the chance of undertaking this role is quite slim. For that reason, you need to be a leader and have the ability to delegate and manage team collaboration on projects.

Managing the team may include:

  • Choosing the right tools and resources for team projects
  • The ability to handle conflict when it arises
  • Developing the right set of tasks and milestones to keep it moving forward
  • Understanding the strengths/weaknesses of the team members to find their appropriate roles

This is one of the reasons why team building was such an integral part of school. An office environment requires your ability to act like a team or, if you’re on the opposite position, to at least have some kind of control over its members.

The skills required for team collaboration and management will come to you in due time. Stay focused on the objectives and you will naturally learn what’s needed as you progress in your leadership role.

Time (Read: Employee) Management

Who called in today? Who’s taking their place? Did they make sure to clock out?

These questions will run through your head every day when you’re managing the office. It’s hard enough keeping track of your time let along a group of others. You’ll hear the whole gamut of time management obstacles, whether it’s that they don’t have enough time or one of the systems wasn’t working.

Again, you must step up and lead these individuals. You can’t expect them to remember every small detail of their work routine let alone the fact that some may have it out for you and want to disrupt your work flow.

Systems are what keep the machine running, such as:

  • Keeping an up-to-date spreadsheet of payroll (or using automated tools)
  • Creating schedules that are fair for each individual (which fits their availability)
  • Scheduling the appropriate days (far into the future) for those wanting time off
  • Creating a fallback plan in the event an employee is a no show

Yes, this does mean you may need to step out of your position to fill the role. It’s something you’ve taken upon yourself when accepting the position. However, if you strive to develop concrete systems for managing time then you will effectively gain this control over the employees.

What challenges (and triumphs) have you experienced while in the managerial role?


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Amanda Green

Amanda is a freelance writer who most often writes about personal finance, business, and career. You can read more finance writing by Amanda at paidtwice.com