As an office manager at a fast-paced creative agency like Hero Digital, no day is ever the same (except for running the dishwasher and unloading it!). My days are filled with a variety of tasks, from rearranging furniture and ordering lunch for client meetings to organizing our next volunteer or team-building event. I have gotten to assist with marketing events, onboarding new hires, the set-up of VIP client meetings, and helping design and move all of our employees into our 15,000 square foot office space in San Francisco. There is no place for a regular routine in this type of role.
However, juggling tasks is something that I really love about my job. In my year and a half as SF’s office manager, I’ve been allowed to wear many hats, granting me visibility into many different departments within the company.
Prior to being an agency office manager, I worked in account management at digital advertising companies. Each day was pretty routine — I created slide decks and chatted through them with clients. We covered current ad campaign performance, areas for improvement, and platform optimizations that could be made to help drive the results they were looking for. I worked on brand ad campaigns of all sizes – ranging from small, local companies to massive retailers.
As an account manager, I learned that what motivates me most is interacting with people, so in my career transition I knew that I wanted to utilize my communication skills but pivot from external client relationships to internal, cross-functional relationship building. Ultimately, the role of office manager means being a cultural leader within the agency and contributing significantly to the office experience – whether this be greeting clients, saying “good morning” to employees in the morning, giving new hires our “grand office tour,” or planning our next happy hour or offsite event.
In my experience, the skills you need to be a successful agency office manager are the abilities to connect with others, adapt to change, and be patient:
The ability to connect – Hero Digital is comprised of individuals with all different experience levels, backgrounds, ages, you name it. As an office manager, it is important to be able to connect with others on both a professional level (ie. working on a project together) and personal level (ie. remembering what a colleague had planned for the weekend and asking how it was). Your job is to make them comfortable and excited to come to work each day by showing everyone that you care about them!
The ability to adapt – Changes happen often and usually when least expected. These changes can be small (it’s 10:29 and a group of people need a conference room at 10:30 for a client call but no rooms are available) to much larger-scale (planning a bicoastal company-wide meeting in less than 15 minutes with the perfect AV set-up). Agency life – whether you’re client-facing or not – means predicting needs before they arise.
The ability to be patient – This was probably the toughest transition coming from my background in client services. I’m asked a lot of questions as an office manager that I wasn’t used to: “What is the bathroom code?” “Do we have any gum?” “Where are the band-aids?” I also had to get used to tasks that I wasn’t used to, like ordering and setting up food for the whole company and for smaller scale meetings, emptying the dishwasher, making sure the bathrooms are tidy, etc. Patience with others and in various situations is a key skill for office managers.
Overall, if you’re looking for an office manager role at an agency like Hero Digital, it is important to have a can-do attitude, to take pride in the office, and to hone strong communication skills. Yes, the job description of an agency office manager is about making the office run smoothly so that everyone can deliver amazing work to clients. But it’s also about creating a positive, collaborative, and fun experience that keeps them walking into the office with their best faces forward for years to come.