Given the increased complexity and workload for office managers in the hybrid age, it's surely time to re-evaluate a more appropriate salary?
From choosing the right suppliers to ensuring everything is running smoothly in the office, office managers are experts at multi-tasking and juggle a lot. For the past two years, office managers have been faced with the near-impossible task of planning for a workforce that might very well not be there, whether due to an unexpected COVID-19 surge or simply because they are no longer required by the company to work five days in-office.
Speaking to The New York Times, Zach Dunn, the founder of the workplace management company Robin, compared planning a return to the office to organising a party where everyone R.S.V.P’S maybe. As a result, companies are struggling to find the right balance between office life and work-from-home flexibility. In fragmented workspaces, office managers often find themselves having to be in the office every day while the rest of the team works hybrid. This can prove problematic, as Forbes contributor Dan Pontefract warns that “any organization implementing a hybrid work model should ensure it’s being consistently applied by leaders and team members alike” in order to reduce the risk of work culture issues such as a “us versus them” mentality.
According to Adzuna, the average office manager salary in London is £43,289. Furthermore, office manager salaries have gone down 4.7% year-on-year, compared to a change of 0.1% for all jobs in London. Given that hybrid work has made the role harder it’s surprising to see office managers are now being paid less for doing more. Clearly the new challenges of the hybrid work model have not only impacted the office manager’s job description but also the employer’s ability to work out how much to pay them.
Office managers are essential to every part of the business. As well as assisting C-level and co-workers, the role of office managers in creating an inclusive environment cannot be underestimated. As City Pantry puts it: “Office managers are often keepers of the company culture. From planning the office parties and organising team-building events to helping onboard new starters, they play an integral role in cultivating and maintaining a cohesive culture.” In a post-pandemic reality, this means they can take a stand to prevent bias against remote workers, the newest obstacle to making workplaces more diverse and inclusive.
Despite their integral role in culture, admin, human resources, and more, over 60% of OMs and assistants don’t feel like they get the recognition they deserve. While the Sales and Marketing teams have tools at their disposal to aid them in their day-to-day tasks, there is very little aimed at helping office managers. For example, a City Pantry study reports that 52.2% of office managers think suppliers can add to their work challenges, so finding a place to easily book, manage and pay for workspace services is essential.
Business owners should be conscious of the changes occurring in the office manager’s workload. In 2022, companies are trying to entice workers into coming back to the office by offering perks, with Google even inviting Lizzo to perform at their office. But creating more events and perks for employees means more work for office managers.
Given the increased complexity and workload for office managers in the hybrid age, it's surely time to re-evaluate a more appropriate salary. Companies may also want to consider a bonus if you have a project on the horizon that requires significant work. This can also be applied in case of an office move, party, or a funding round that needs more support. Other perks and benefits—such as healthcare, professional training, and childcare—should also be considered when figuring out the appropriate salary to make sure pay for office managers has adapted to the new normal.