There was a time when professionals who handled all administrative and support duties in a business or organization were simply known as secretaries. A majority of secretaries including the most experienced were exempted from leadership roles. A lot has changed since then.
Office managers are now charged with the important role of handling everything necessary to keep the organization or business going. Their job description varies with each employer and organization but common duties include training staff, conducting hiring interviews, terminating employees, handling payrolls, ensuring there’s an efficient document management system in place, and balancing the organization’s budget.
The Office Manager Then and Now
Office administration has come a long way since the early days of secretaries and is still evolving. As the corporate world evolves, so do the roles and duties of the office manager. A few decades ago, all the support and administrative duties were relegated to a pool of secretaries. Most secretaries had years of experience and proven track records but hardly advanced to leadership positions. They were instead tasked with other personal assistant chores such as preparing coffee, arranging meetings, or even taking the boss’ clothes to the dry cleaner.
In comparison to the old days, office management has changed a lot. An office manager today is a committed professional with expertise and skill set that put him or her on an almost equal stand with the upper management. The office administrator is focused on improving efficiency at the office to generate higher revenue. The office manager today is one of the most visible and respected employees in the organization or company. His or her ideas, skills, and efforts often determine the success of the company’s operations.
Today’s office manager is the go-to person for both professional and personal matters. It’s quite common for the office manager to handle a diverse range of duties from counselor, mentor, and supervisor all rolled into one.
Office Administrators by Any Other Title
As job descriptions and duties of office managers evolve, so have their titles and positions. The title given to an office administrator varies depending on the organization. Office administrative professionals today go with more respectable titles such as office managers, administrative services managers, administration specialists, and even vice president of operations. Their tasks and job descriptions vary too depending on the organization. In fact, we can safely assume that the title office manager is not uniform in all companies.
More than Just a Secretary
Gone are the days when an office administrative assistant was simply known as a secretary. Today’s office manager is an administrative professional who does more than make coffee and take dictation. He or she is an important member of the workforce and does more complicated tasks such as handling presentations, dealing with vendors, and helping plan the company’s budget for day to day operations.
The office manager is also tasked with ensuring the company’s paperwork is completed efficiently and on time. It’s often said that a job is not yet done until the paperwork is done. To make things easier, unlike the old days of the secretary typing pool, today’s office manager is well-trained for document management. The office manager collaborates with the company’s IT team to ensure the company’s information is securely stored in a cloud document management system for easy and well-controlled retrieval such as Folderit.
Keeping the company’s financial and accounting records safe is another important task of the office manager today. He or she is charged with the responsibility of setting up decentralized cloud accounts to keep the company’s financial and business information in a more secure repository than physical records which can be destroyed by fire, floods, or vandalism. Safety of the company’s records, although most often ignored, is one of the most critical functions in a company or organization. It is important to ensure that the company’s records are stored in a user-friendly cloud DMS such as Folderit.
The role of the office manager has changed a lot in the last three or four decades. Office administrative professionals are no longer the secretaries who did almost everything in the office including coffee. The office manager today is a support and administration expert who plays a key organizational role in the success of the company.