Sometimes, it feels like the holiday break over Christmas and New Year’s was made especially for Office Managers.
The week – or longer for the lucky ones – away from the job gives everyone a chance to rest and re-energise. Between scheduling business travel and managing a barrage of requests throughout the year, it’s easy to feel over-worked and under-appreciated.
2019 should be different. It’s time to break bad habits and start fresh. Here are five resolutions that even the busiest Office Managers will be able to keep in the new year.
1. Make life less stressful
Let’s face it: half the battle of any job is in how you approach it. The deck might seem stacked unfairly for Office Managers and busy Personal Assistants, but it’s all a matter of perspective.
Take the time to make a list of the most stress-inducing tasks, requests and aspects of your daily routine. Many of them will be tasks that deal with uncertainty, change or things simply snowballing out of your control.
One way to get rid of this unnecessary stress is by tackling the reasons behind last-minute jobs. If it’s related to issues popping up for corporate travel plans, it could be a sign that there needs to be simpler workflows and processes.
There’s also all those pesky meetings that can’t be ignored; consider booking time in your schedule specifically to deal with them. If they don’t happen to crop up, then you’ve just earned yourself some free time to tackle tasks you’ve been putting off.
2. Put a procedure in place for every single employee request
There’s only so much time in the day and Office Managers never seem to have enough of it. One reason behind that is the many interruptions they deal with on an hourly basis.
We’re out of A4 envelopes.
We need more ink for the printer.
Can you book the hotel for the trip to our client tomorrow?
Raise your hand if you’ve heard any of these and have had to drag yourself away from your work to deal with it. On the surface they’re simple requests and most of the time, they’re easy to sort out.
When they consistently pop up, though, projects with hard deadlines inch closer to the back burner. That’s when the days get stressful and you can never seem to dig yourself out of a hole.
It’s time to implement specific procedures for all of the most common requests you receive. Everything from office supplies to booking business travel arrangements should have a set workflow that dictates how a person should contact you and what they need to do on their end to make your work easier. Using software or even paper forms can provide the structure that your daily routine is sorely missing.
3. Get the most out of your co-workers
It’s a reality of the job that Office Managers can’t always fall back on the saying, “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.”
You’re there to keep the day-to-day flowing so the business can function like a well-oiled machine, but that doesn’t mean the engine can’t get a little help doing its part. If you’re constantly bogged down by the smallest requests, encourage your colleagues to take on some of those responsibilities on their own.
There’s a fine line to walk here between having them do your job and empowering them with more autonomy. The key to successfully shifting minor responsibilities off your plate is giving co-workers the tools to do so.
Set up a system that allows them to book their own hotels for business or corporate travel. If you’re doing it all manually, using consumer focused booking tools or working directly with hotels yourself could require reviewing how effective your business travel solution actually is.
4. Ensure work-life balance is actually balanced
It’s something we all say to ourselves every new year: this is the year that you’re going to work your 39 hours a week and that’s that.
And this year, you’re actually going to stick to it.
Why? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it surely won’t burn down in one either. Yet roughly 14 percent of Office Managers still work 10 hours per day, according to Snacknation’s 2018 State of the Office Manager report
Prioritise your time-sensitive tasks and recognise that if a request is still there at the end of the day, it can likely wait until tomorrow.
Sticking to this resolution won’t be easy but it’s vital to avoid another stressful year.
5. Cut costs to come in under budget
Balancing the budget.
Three words set to strike fear in the heart of any Office Manager.
But what if you could outdo yourself and actually come in under budget? Wish fulfilment or potential reality?
Start by taking a look at what you’re spending the budget on. Are there any items that are more affordable when bought in bulk across the business? Are you paying a premium price for regularly used services, like business travel, hotels or couriers?
There’s always a more efficient, cost-effective way to approach your work. If you’re locked into contracts you don’t use or are suffocating in hidden fees, it’s time to look elsewhere and save yourself stress – and money.