Why would you need an office manager? (Virtual or not?)

Perhaps because it’s one of those jobs that is often seen as ‘somebody else’s problem’ – or, perhaps, not a problem at all.

But if, say, you’re working in a busy and fast-growing construction company where people are in and out of the office all the time, it can create costly issues that no one is aware of. At least, until something goes wrong.

Just as an example…

Consider something that anyone with a partner (or teenage children) is probably familiar with. Let’s call it ‘the kitchen scenario’. It goes something like this…

Him: ‘Where’s the grater?’

Her: ‘Well, it should be next to the cutting board.’

Him (irritated): ‘Well, it’s not!’

Her (innocently): ‘Didn’t you empty the dishwasher this morning?’

Him (hesitantly): ‘Yes…’

Her (triumphantly): ‘Then it’s wherever you left it…’

And that – on a larger scale – is exactly what can happen in a busy office. Especially when people aren’t too sure where things are supposed to go.

The version trap

Take, for example, the business of updating and approving documents – when more than one person is involved.

Simon uses a stadard template to draft a contract with a new client.

Alicia signs off a contract with a new client – but makes a few suggestions and one important addition.

Meanwhile Terry has seen the original version on his email feed after logging in remotely, and made some suggestions of his own.

Mark comes in late after a meeting and doesn’t know anyone else has seen the contract. He has a major problem with one paragraph and wants to put it on hold until he can discuss it with the team.

But in the meantime Linda has searched for the document – which is on her urgent ‘to do’ list –  and found Alicia’s version. Since Alicia has already signed it off, Linda sends it to the client.

Ructions follow – but it’s not any one person’s fault. It’s only happened because there’s no functional system for version control. Something a good office manager could sort out in a few minutes.

The software trap

Sometimes a series of decisions, each sensible in itself, can lead to a serious waste of resources. Take backup software, for instance.

Most sensible business people are well aware they need to back up their data. The multiple threats from malware, ransomware attacks, software issues and simple hardware failure are far too significant to ignore.

The problem arises when different people take decisions about backup without consulting anyone else. Linda has set up a Dropbox account where she stores all her critical files. Terry is backing up to the cloud using a different cloud-based backup system with a hefty annual subscription. And Mark, very sensibly, has noticed that the company is effectively paying for a significant amount of storage on OneDrive as part of its licence fee for Office 365. The result is multiple redundancy on backup. That’s not a bad thing in itself – what’s bad about it is that none of those backups is complete, and money is being wasted on subscriptions that aren’t needed. More importantly, there isn’t an overarching strategy – so if something does go wrong, it will take a good deal of careful work to recover and reload all the missing data.

A good office manager could take all of that in hand, ensuring all the company’s data was backed up cost-effectively and safely – with everyone in and out of the office using the same system.

The outsourcing trap

It makes perfect sense to outsource specialist work to a specialist – no one wants to do the annual accounts unless they have an accountancy qualification, after all.

But that doesn’t mean your accountant should be doing the bookkeeping, for example. That’s a bit like asking a rock star if they’d like a gig at your children’s party. It’s entirely possible that someone in house can do the basic bookkeeping. Or you could outsource the bookkeeping separately to someone who will do an excellent job and charge a lot less than your rock star accountant.

A good office manager might well take on that task – or know someone who can.

So if you want an office manager…

Here’s the really good news – your office manager needn’t be a full-time staff member! It’s a job you can easily outsource, meaning that you only pay for the time they spend with your company. And a good one will simply help set up the internal systems you need – the bit that takes the time – and then run them remotely. Which won’t take much time, and won’t cost you very much.

So don’t get trapped into wasting time, energy and resources just because you’re too busy and it’s ‘somebody else’s problem’. Make it our problem instead! We’d love to help, and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs – no charge for that first meeting, of course.

Like to know more? Then why not give us a call on 01638 741079?