The Daily Grind features blogs that concentrate on issues affecting offices across the country. The goal is to enlighten, amuse, and interact with our followers.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Every Day Should Be Office Manager Appreciation Day

Did you know that Office Manager’s Day is the second Wednesday in June? This year, that’s June 10, 2015. It’s definitely not as popular as Administrative Assistant Day, but the Office Manager is often the “beating heart” of the office. If they don’t have the solution to a problem, then you are probably out of luck.

A day in the life of an Office Manager is never boring, as they are typically responsible for a variety of functions that ensure the office runs as smoothly as possible on a day-to-day basis. Depending on the size of the office, a manager’s responsibilities may range from bookkeeping, payroll, human resources, travel coordinator, event planner, executive assistant, and more. The list of possibilities is endless.

As a company experiences growth, employees can expect growing pains along the way. More employees means the potential for more functions that fall under the Office Manager’s oversized umbrella of responsibilities. Some are more pleasant than others, but Office Managers take the good with the bad.

As you strive to be an excellent employee, also try to make the Office Manager’s job a little easier. Below are some suggestions:  
  • Follow signs posted throughout the office. For example, please be quiet because sales is on the phone, keep doors closed or lights on, or do not put food down the drain because there’s no disposal.
  • It’s not necessary to hoard office supplies at your desk. One of the Office Manager’s jobs is to make sure there are enough basics (pens, staples, paper clips, etc.) for everyone.
  • Communication is key. Let the Office Manager know when you’ve used the last of something to avoid emergency trips to the store.
  • Follow protocol when requesting time off so it’s properly recorded and your paycheck doesn’t get docked.
  • When traveling for work, be responsible with the company’s credit card and treat it as if it’s your own money being spent.
  • Keep track of spending so reimbursements can be made in a timely fashion.
  • Clean up after yourself in the kitchen/break room. For example, wash your dirty dishes, clean up spills, and cover your food when heating in the microwave to avoid splatters. Reference the kitchen etiquette blog for more information.
  • Keep your office keys or key fob in a convenient location so you don’t lose them or forget them when you leave.
  • Don’t print documents or emails, unless absolutely necessary, to help conserve paper and printer ink. Consider it your way of helping the environment.
  • If you have a desk furniture request, contact the Office Manager first.
  • Most importantly, read all the emails from the Office Manager. The message is important enough to be sent to the whole company…ignorance is not bliss.

As you can imagine, being the Office Manager requires a great deal of patience and some serious problem-solving skills. Perhaps now you have a better understanding of what they might deal with on a daily basis. Hopefully the next time you use the last roll of paper towels or need to request some time off, you’ll remember this blog.

Check out another blog, Office Etiquette for Every Employee, for some helpful tips to remember while working in close quarters.

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list that might help make an Office Manager’s job easier? Are you an Office Manager? Share your thoughts on how employees can help you help them. Do you plan on celebrating Office Manager’s Day? Tell us how.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Before, During, and After a Seminar: What You Need to Know

You finally registered for that seminar, training class, or workshop you've been wanting to take but never had time. The day of the event finally arrives and you wonder what brilliant nuggets of information you will walk away with today. A good rule of thumb to use when judging how well a seminar was is that if you leave having learned one thing, it was a success.

In the morning, get up earlier than you normally would so you have to check some emails before leaving for the day. Be sure to leave yourself enough travel time. Eat a healthy breakfast if one is not being served by the host. If a breakfast is being served to the attendees, go! You can use this time to network – make some new friends that you can meet up with again at lunch or during group exercises. Don’t forget your business cards and jacket in case you get cold. Most event hosts provide a notepad and pen, but bring a backup just in case.

When you get to the event, register or sign in, grab some coffee and water, then find a seat close to the front. If you don’t know anyone at this point, start some small talk with the people around you. Once the speaker begins, silence you cell phone and get your pen and paper ready. If there’s a slide show to accompany the message being delivered, don’t get too stressed about writing every tidbit of information down. Make meaningful notes that can accompany the slides later, once you get a copy of them.

If there are breakout sessions or group activities, take advantage. This is your chance to get outsiders perspective and new ideas on a particular issue you are tackling or problem you are trying to overcome. Use the lunch hour to rejoin some new friends and bounce ideas off of them. If there’s time scheduled for some Q&A with the presenter, be sure to jot down a few questions to ask.

So the seminar is over and it was one of the best you’ve attended in quite some time. It got you all jazzed up and now, you can’t wait to get back to the office to start making some serious changes. Unfortunately, that’s not really feasible. It’s best to take it one step at a time.

Step one is to complete the post seminar survey. Companies like Ragan Training give an incentive to complete their survey – do it and receive the slides from the presentation. Be sure to give an honest review of the event and the presenter. Step two is to go through your notes again, and the slides, and add any secondary notes that came to you while mulling over the seminar.

Step three is to get on LinkedIn to connect with the people you met at the event, along with the presenters, and join any corresponding groups. Start meaningful conversations with the new connections and build a rapport with them. Step four is to sign up for emails or newsletters from the presenter. For example, after attending a Content Marketing Institute workshop, I signed up for their weekly emails and now get great tips, white papers, event reminders, etc. emailed to me.

And the most important step, step five, is to create a plan of action – start with the easiest things to change first, or pick the one thing that resonated with you most and start there. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once. “Change takes time. Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears,” Barbara Johnson

What seminar, training class, or workshop have you attended lately? Share your “need to know” tips with us!