Summary: The expectation of office management is to keep the working environment moving forward and operating smoothly. But, be it the role of an Office Manager, Receptionist, or Administrator, managing multiple office responsibilities is time-consuming and at times overwhelming. To combat this, Office Managers are equipped with tools, which, although provide some assistance, can exacerbate their situation. Instead, Office Managers should request a tool that encompasses each task into one easily-manageable solution; Facilities Management Software.
Office management is often an overwhelming, time-consuming, and frustrating process. Duties include booking meetings, welcoming visitors, training staff, safeguarding assets, replenishing and purchasing supplies, planning floor space, and keeping occupants happy in the work environment.
What’s more, these are typically the responsibilities of just one person; the Office Manager.
The saying ‘wear many hats’ is more related to the role of an office manager than it is to most other roles. “On reception and [being] the Office Manager, I literally cover everything”, explains Sharron Newland, Office Manager at The Home Office.
There’s also the issue of what tools – digital and physical – are needed to control an Office Manager’s workload. Quite often, they’ll be given access to an excessive number of tools that include:
- Excel spreadsheets
- Email inboxes
- Microsoft Office
- Google Docs
There is one solution, however, that encompasses all aforementioned tools into a single system and addresses the needs of an Office Manager; computer-aided facilities management software – or CAFM for short.
What makes CAFM tools stand out is that they’re prominent in the building management process too. Making it a one-stop tool for all those involved with the running of a real-estate facility.
This article details the CAFM features that have been designed to target the challenges of an Office Manager while simultaneously improving the facility and office management process as a whole.
Two Everyday Challenges In Office Management
The list of duties that accompany an office management role can appear never-ending, each coming with there own set of unique challenges. But, there are two challenges that most Office Managers can agree on;
- An excessive workload
- A lack of communication
1. An Office Manager’s Workload
An Office Manager can take on multiple roles; a front-of-desk receptionist, an admin specialist, a human resources agent, and an asset manager. These roles then incorporate multiple responsibilities, such as:
- Staff hiring & training
- Form design & control
- Safety compliance
Although some thrive in an environment of mounting responsibilities, the Journal of Experimental Psychology found multitasking to be damaging to an employee’s output. With more time needed to shift mental gears when switching between tasks, multitasking is proven to be less efficient.
In a 2014 Unison Survey with school office administrators, 93% of respondents expressed concern about their workload. One participant explained, “the biggest concern is the increase in workload but no increase in office hours…the assumption is that I will manage anything and everything.”
2. Lack of Organised Communication
Office Managers excel in the skill of communication and are expected to communicate with visitors, colleagues, and senior figures. However, an apparent lack of communication often arises in situations such as managing a hybrid workforce or following up with employee concerns.
In a State of the Office Manager report, 26% listed a lack of communication among their top three challenges in the role. While ‘A lack of interdepartmental communications’ was one of the biggest causes of stress for UK employees in 2020.
Productive communication is needed for booking meetings, planning room layouts, delegating work, scheduling Hard and Soft FM maintenance, and replacing office equipment.
Overcoming Challenges By Leveraging CAFM In the Office
For Office Managers to have more control over their workload and communication, their existing processes must be revitalised. In this scenario, the process is making sure they’re using the right office management software and tools.
In 2018, “implementing new processes to make my job easier/more streamlined” and “creating a more organised workplace” were two of the three top priorities that Office Managers wanted to achieve in the next 12 months.
Source: www.snacknation.com, State of the Office Manager Report 2018
Implementing the right software for office managers will generally improve workflow, which, in turn, reduces workplace stress, streamlines tasks, and brings a more organised structure to the office management role. This is where Facilities Management Software comes in.
What Is Facilities Management Software Used For?
Facilities Management Software is typically used by landlords, property owners, and Facility Managers. It is a solution that allows users to store, access, edit, and communicate facility data from a single dashboard – effectively making the facility management process easier than ever before.
It helps to improve management activities in a built environment which include building maintenance, landscaping, catering, security, and parking – to name a few. But it’s also used by tenants, Space Managers, technicians, and Office Managers; not just senior figures.
The multiple capabilities of CAFM Software allow it to be utilised in all areas of a building. For instance, outsourced engineers can view work orders, catering staff can order kitchen supplies, and office employees can raise maintenance requests.
CAFM Features Designed for Office Managers
To highlight just how many office management capabilities are possible with the use of a facilities management solution, we have created the table below.
This shows the varying amount of tools needed for each of an Office Manager’s duties, compared to if that duty can be completed with the use of CAFM Software.
|Duty||Tool Needed||Included in CAFM Software?|
|Purchase planning for equipment/supplies||Microsoft Excel/Google Docs||✓|
|Creating forms||Microsoft Word/Google Docs||✓|
|Cost Management/Financial planning||Microsoft Word/Google Docs||✓|
|Communicating with employees||Email/Slack/Skype||✓|
|Visitor management||Sign-in book||✓|
|Staff training||Microsoft Word/Google Docs/Email||✓|
Alternative Tools Used By Office managers
Of course, there are alternative tools besides the use of Facilities Management Software. Sharron, Office Manager at The Home Office, alluded to using four key tools to manage the office workload, “Google docs, Outlook, Microsoft Excel, and an in-house portal for members”.
Common tools that Office managers will use include:
- Notepads & whiteboards: A pen-and-paper approach that has worked for several years but is susceptible to missing and misplaced information.
- Spreadsheets: A cheap solution for collecting data but is prone to errors and a lack of functionality.
- Microsoft Office: A suite of programs used to make notes and record information that requires purchases for each user.
- Google Docs: An online and free-to-use system of applications for curating and annotating forms and documents.
- Outlook email: A personnel inbox used to reach out to staff and to search for previous communication threads.
- Dropbox: A downloadable app to store and share documents, files, and images with other Dropbox users.
- Skype or Slack: Each is an instant messaging platform used to communicate between people in your network.
Of course, each tool listed above will get the job done. You may even find that you use most of the tools on this list. But, will these tools help to achieve the goals of reducing workload and working in a more streamlined and efficient manner?
Essentially, there is just one solution for achieving this; CAFM Software.