Embrace Changing Office Manager Duties to Fuel Your Career

The role of the administrative professional is always evolving. Get tips on how to keep up.

Office manager duties always seem to be expanding. Although stocking supplies, arranging schedules and doing administrative work are still typically the tasks most associated with this job, the reality is that office managers often do much more. One recent Staples poll found that office managers often take on additional, large-scale projects that have big impacts on the business.

This can be a challenge — after all, simply keeping the office running smoothly often fills all the hours of the day. But embracing these expanding roles in your company can elevate your status and develop your career in exciting ways.

Here's a look at how office managers surveyed by Staples say their roles and duties have changed:

Tech Purchasing

Nearly 30 percent of office managers who responded to the Staples poll said their duties now include purchasing technology. Whether you're tasked with selecting new laptops or negotiating the best mobile contract for your company, your involvement in technology purchasing is an important opportunity to influence operations.

Business Insider reports that devices collectively cost businesses about $654 billion a year and that device spending in 2017 increased by about 4 percent compared to the year prior. When you're able to suggest technology resources that perform better than current equipment or offer the same level of performance at a lower cost, you make important contributions to the company's bottom line — which won't go unnoticed.

Design and Furniture Decisions

Close to 30 percent of office managers who responded to the Staples poll said they purchase office furniture; 18 percent are involved in the redesign of office spaces. That represents a chance to make a real impact on employee comfort and productivity.

Creating an environment where each employee can do their best work — whether it's collaboration with coworkers or deep focus on specific projects — can be a huge help to the company overall. It takes a lot of skill to design a space that supports people's best work, especially with limitations on room and equipment. And buying furniture often involves knowing the ergonomic best practices that can help your coworkers avoid productivity-killing aches and pains.

Educating yourself about good design and ergonomics can help you make expert decisions. Start by asking your furniture vendors for design and ergonomics advice, and whether they have any resources to help you make the best decisions for your workplace.

Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns, branding efforts and conferences are intended to drive new business and develop the brand's identity. Nearly half of the office managers polled by Staples said their role now includes planning a major event or conference; 18 percent say their office manager duties include marketing work.

Seeking out further education on marketing principles and techniques can elevate your contributions. Advanced education opportunities are everywhere — especially in online courses — and can help you bring new ideas to your company. Furthering your knowledge of topics like promotions and marketing can help you refine your methods as you tackle these projects.

Office manager duties are constantly expanding, often including projects that require sophisticated work and additional education. These challenges can help you take your career to the next level, so watch for new opportunities that can grow your skills.