You get to the office early to get a head start on your tasks, with every intention of smashing your to-do list and crushing the day. But you haven’t even made it through the door by the time the CEO has asked you to run a ‘quick’ errand, your coworker has informed you the coffee machine isn’t working (and apparently it’s your job to fix it) and you have been asked to book a last minute conference room. Before you know it, you’ve missed lunch and you haven’t even started tackling that to-do list you were planning on ‘crushing’ at the start of the day.
If this sounds familiar, then you are probably the office hero, otherwise known as the office manager. Office managers are often tasked with all sorts of jobs, from administration to event planning, to onboarding, to orchestrating an office move.
The list goes on and on and so it’s not surprising that time is in short supply for office managers. To show our appreciation for the unsung office heroes, we have created a list of some time-saving tips, productivity hacks and some useful tools to help you better manage your time and workload (we’ve even broken down these tips into categories, to help save you time).
Being organised is one of the biggest factors when it comes to success in this role. Here are some of our best organisation tips:
Task management tools
Task management software, like Monday and Trello are extremely helpful when organising group projects. Monday is our personal favourite at Hubble. You can assign other people tasks to do, you can keep track of their progress, prioritise tasks and set deadlines.
Plan a week in advance
Every Friday, designate some time to plan out the following week. This makes it easier to plan your working week in a more holistic way and you can block out some time in your calendar for yourself, to give you a chance to return your emails and get going on your own projects. We advise using the holy grail of calendars, Google calendar, to track who’s coming in and out of the office and schedule important events and meetings, with the handy ability to set reminders so that even the most forgetful of people are given ample time.
When writing your to-do list, make sure to prioritise your tasks. Wunderlist is a great, easy-to-use tool for making and prioritising to-dos. Wunderlist instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer so you can access your to-dos from anywhere.
Organise your workspace
Your surroundings can have a big impact on your productivity. It is important to take some time to declutter your space and the wider working environment. You can achieve this by doing regular desk clear ups, sorting out piles of miscellaneous paperwork and old snacks. If you are looking to change and improve your working environment, check out this blog and discover tips on how you can change the design of your space to maximise productivity.
Looking for a space to get productive in? Explore what’s available in London.
It’s the office manager’s responsibility to unify a workplace, which means establishing straightforward and open communication between the members of the team. Here are some of our top communication tips and tools to use (because most problems can be solved with better communication).
Use an internal communication tool
Long gone are the days of using emails to communicate with your colleagues. Slack is an amazing tool that allows you to send instant messages to any of your colleagues and brings all your company communication into one place. Team conversations are organised into channels, and you can create channels for departments, projects, office locations etc. You can also share documents, spreadsheets, photos (and GIFs) making collaboration more efficient and transparent. So, no matter whether your team sits in one office or is spread across the world, you can communicate effectively – and let’s be honest, we all love sharing GIFs, don’t we? Alternatively, if you get too distracted by GIFs and messages popping up on your screen, you could try Twist, a distraction-free teamwork app.
Almost every task comes with a tool that will help carry the load and make it easier to manage. Check out this list of 9 office management tools that you can employ to make your life easier.
Just say no
It might be tempting to be a ‘yes’ man/woman, but saying no to requests that don’t contribute to critical goals is necessary and it can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing time.
It’s hard to hand over responsibility when you know (or think) that it might just be quicker for you to do it. But it may well be a waste of your time and if you don’t get out of the habit of taking on too much, you’ll burn yourself out.
Select the right person
Ensure that the person has the time to take on the responsibility. Assess the skills and capabilities of your staff and assign the task to the most appropriate person. Make sure the person has the training and resources to succeed.
Communicate expectations clearly and completely
Be specific, clear, and complete in clarifying the tasks, the goals, resources, constraints, what good performance looks like, and when and how the results will be shared with you.
Company-wide events can be a real challenge to organise, and office managers nearly always land the job. Here are some tips on how to lessen that load:
Create an events committee
Avoid the bottleneck and keep your plans moving by electing an events committee. At Hubble, every quarter we have an Away Day full of presentations and activities, and this day is organised by a different group of colleagues each time.
Sharing the planning takes the pressure off the person in charge of organising the event and it is a great way to get different colleagues working together.
Use a cloud-based organisational tool
Chasing a paper trail of bookings and permissions is a logistical nightmare when it comes to organising an event. It helps to collate all your event information into an online, cloud-based program like G-Suite. This tool has a variety of useful components including email, document creation, an interactive calendar and a file drive. Having all information in one secure place makes it easy to communicate across teams and assign tasks.
We hope these productivity hacks help to break the mould, get on top of the workload, and pare back the number of hours you spend at the office. You deserve a life outside of work, and you deserve to feel happy and on top of things in the office too!
If you are tasked with the job of finding a new home for your team, and your not sure where to start, you can speak to one of our Tenant Advisors who can talk you through the office search process.