Office managers, by the nature of their role, wear many hats, and that is especially true in small businesses. Since 99.7% of businesses in the United States qualify as small businesses according to the Small Business Administration, the role of office manager has profound significance in the American business landscape, and many of the people in this role suffer from professional burnout. That’s because in small businesses, resources and staff usually are limited, leaving the office manager living at the point where the “rubber meets the road” on a daily basis.
Here are some ways office managers can lighten your workload so you feel happier in your role.
Iron out good processes and set expectations
The kiss of death for smooth office operations is a reactive environment, devoid of efficient processes. If many situations lead to reactionary responses, the office manager will spend a lot of time putting out fires. Identify office functions that are repeated, and then identify whether there is an efficient process for handling that work without the risk of things falling through the cracks. If you do have a process in place, determine whether it is effective. And if there’s no process in place, map one out.
The best way to overcome objections about the time it takes for the process to complete is to set realistic expectations with those who need the process output. Even though they may want something today, if you explain that the process is “in by Tuesday and out by Friday,” for example, the reliability of the deliverable will outweigh the time it takes to complete. You’ll feel happier about your, or your organization’s, ability to deliver things on time, and so will the people who rely on you.
Invest time to seek out tools and resources
When it comes to professional burnout, time is in very short supply. That makes it difficult to allocate time to seek out tools and resources that can aid in improving processes. But an ounce of research in finding more effective tools and resources can pay off in big time savings, so it’s worth spending the time. You may be surprised at what you find.
PEOs, for example, provide support, tools and resources for many functions that are common in every business: timekeeping, payroll administration, benefits administration, recruiting, time-off requests and reporting (such as W-2s and ACA reporting). By offering an expansive team, technology platforms and solid processes, PEOs can eliminate many of the time-consuming tasks that are essential to smooth office operations. You’ll still have a vibrant office to manage, but your PEO team in the background will be helping all along the way.
Be a hero, not a martyr
It’s easy to get stuck at the busy crossroad of a heavy workload and the desire to avoid professional burnout. After all, change is hard to achieve and sometimes even harder to sell within the company. But the saying, “It’s better to work smart than hard” certainly applies here. To avoid professional burnout, you must muster up the confidence to advocate for a better way. The organization will benefit and you will, too.
So if you’re spread too thin and in danger of professional burnout as an office manager, look for tools and resources like a PEO to lighten your load and you’ll feel happier in your role.