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A front office manager is a key position in many office-reliant businesses. In charge of the day-to-day running of the office, this individual may also hold authority over non-management office workers and serve as the department representative. Good office managers have a wide variety of skills that help both run the office and manage employee issues efficiently.
Someone who wants to become a front office manager will need both office and people skills. Basic office requirements, such as computer literacy, familiarity with office machines, and phone skills are important, since this employee often shares in the duties of all office workers. In order to make the office run smoothly, however, he or she must be able to manage employees under his or her authority fairly and effectively. This may be difficult in some cases, as office managers may have casual relationships with co-workers or even be promoted from within the ranks of regular office workers. Maintaining a professional workplace while still being friendly and fair with office workers is a skill that can take a long time to learn.
An office manager must in some ways be a visionary for his or her department. While some requirements may be handed down by supervisors or upper management, it is important for a manager to constantly ask and prioritize how the office could improve. Updating old file systems, implementing more efficient work requirements, and listening carefully to employee ideas about improvement can all lead to a happier, more productive working environment.
Working with other departments is a major part of many front office managers' jobs. Some departments that the front office may work closely with include public relations, sales and marketing, or production departments. Since the office will generally be the center of customer to company interaction, the manager has an important and valuable perspective to bring to meetings with other departments. It may be important to become a warrior for the front office, not allowing the needs of the department to get pushed aside if they sound mundane. A front office is a company's face to the world, and it is important that it should be efficient and effectively run.
There may be no specific educational requirements for this job, and often, companies are looking for someone with industry experience and a proven track record as a junior manager or even entry-level office worker. Confidence, industry savvy, and a plan to improve efficiency can go a long way toward getting this position.