Since office managers are often considered the “spark plugs” who drive and support their company’s growth, office manager productivity is particularly important. It comes as no surprise that some office managers are more productive and successful than others, so let’s take a look at what it takes to be in the upper echelon.
Doing it yourself isn’t always the best way
The No. 1 complaint we hear from office managers is they know they don’t delegate enough and too often try to do everything themselves. Realizing they may be limiting the value they could offer the company, more and more of them are outsourcing some or all tasks such as payroll, reporting, workers’ comp claims, HR compliance, benefits selection/administration, corrective actions, job descriptions and employee record collection/management.
Some office managers selectively outsource tasks to several vendors, such as payroll services, accountants and attorneys, but an increasing number of them are moving toward the “all in one” resource offered by professional employer organizations (PEOs). The outcome they report is they are able to spend more time on priority tasks such as supervision, training, coaching, recruitment, accounting and marketing. And often to their surprise, a PEO can save the company money based on more efficient use of reduced internal staff resourcing, lower workers’ comp rates, elimination of fines caused by late payroll reporting and/or lower costs associated with multiple vendors.
It may not take a village, but it sure takes good people
One reason office managers may hesitate to delegate is that they may not have enough skilled staff to whom they can hand over the HR responsibilities. Working with a PEO such as FrankCrum eliminates this concern by providing them access to assigned team members who are expert in payroll, benefits, workers’ comp and HR management. And, if they choose to hire new staff, they can receive assistance with hiring, job descriptions, coaching and corrective actions.
It’s not how much time, but how smart the time is spent
Most office managers say there just aren’t enough hours in the day to complete their work. In addition to being demoralizing, this can become counterproductive. Overburdened managers work longer and longer hours, affecting their work/life balance and sometimes creating pressure that leads to mistakes.
Carving out and outsourcing time-consuming tasks such as timesheets, payroll creation, employee document management, benefits research/administration and creating/sending payroll reports frees up many hours that can be spent on more impactful, productive and profitable tasks.
Plan the work and work the plan
Every office manager lives with interruptions and ultimately views them as a necessary evil. But take heart, because some interruptions and disruptions can be managed. For example, the most productive office managers don’t always answer every phone call or email immediately. Stopping in the middle of a priority task or employee coaching session hampers or delays a successful conclusion, and could be eliminated by just allowing calls to go to voicemail and setting periodic times during the day to read and respond to emails.
Similarly, some successful managers schedule times during the day for employees to speak with them. Barring an emergency, this can smooth the flow of the day and result in a more productive office manager. Two other productivity tips stand out: First is not to let “leftover” priorities bog you down each morning. Handling priorities first each day frees the manager to tackle lower priorities as well as new emergencies. The second is getting a head start each year with a first-quarter plan, updated and then followed by subsequent quarterly plans. Sure, new challenges will always pop up, but the roadmap is there to follow.
Many talented office managers don’t realize how their daily workload is lowering their productivity until they see the value of prioritizing and outsourcing. The upshot is often a more profitable business and a more productive—but also satisfied and empowered—office manager.