What is an Office Manager?

Office manager versus secretary

In which aspects does an office manager differ from a secretary or executive assistant? And what does they have in common? I will troffice managery to answer these questions for you in this post.

Jungle of job titles

In the world of management support or clerical work, there are many job titles for the one who supports the management of a company. Responsibilities as well as  the size and kind of a company may play a role in which title your job description bears. However, it’s not rare to see more job titles for the same position.
Eventually, the job description counts, as this determines for a great deal whether you like a position or not.

What does an office manager do?

The office manager takes care that the office runs smoothly. In many aspects he or she has  the same clerical content as a secretary, but is more autonomous.
Responsibilities like organizing, planning and controlling the clerical aspects is the part which the office manager has in common with the secretary. Depending on the job description, an office manager and (executive) secretary take care of marketing and personnel issues as well. The difference is that an office manager might manage a team of secretaries or other management supporters.
The tasks which are mostly specific for the office manager are: management as well as responsibility of facilities (telephone, Internet, computers, printing, the building, etc.) and purchasing (office supply, inventory, fittings).
Depending on the kind of business, he or she takes care of risk management and book keeping as well.
Having said this, it happens that a secretary, management assistant or executive assistant also takes care of one or more of the responsibilities mentioned above. This differs per company, ant that makes it so difficult to exactly describe the position of office manager.


A good office manager is multi talented. The most important competencies are the ability to keep overview and good communication skills (as you will have to deal with colleagues, suppliers, customers, authorities etc.). Furthermore he or she is autonomous, is able to take initiative and decisions,  is good at planning and organizing, is a real problem solver and has a large degree of adaptability as well as integrity.

Will this position suit you?

A lot of office managers work in small companies. For those it’s important to feel comfortable in doing so many things at different levels: at one moment you sign a contract for the maintenance of the building, the next moment you check the toilet and replenish the toilet rolls.
Please, let me know how you experience your task as an office manager. Sharing your experience, can help others in finding their dream job!

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