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Office Manager vs. Office Administrator: Differences Explained
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What is the Difference Between an Office Manager and Office Administrator?

March 19, 2019
office manager vs. administrator

Office Manager and Office Administrator sound like very similar titles. What’s the difference? While they may seem comparable, Office Managers and Office Administrators have distinct jobs, responsibilities, and skills. If you’re wondering which role may be the best fit for you, keep reading and see these differences in action.

Who is an Office Manager and what does an Office Manager do?

An Office Manager focuses on the people in an office. The role of an Office Manager is to ensure that employees have everything at their disposal to do the best work possible. This can range from physical tools and resources to policies and initiatives. An Office Manager aims to support employees so that they remain happy, motivated, and productive.

Some of an Office Manager’s daily responsibilities may include:

  • Handling inventory and ordering office supplies
  • Maintaining and troubleshooting office equipment
  • Managing payroll
  • Training and orienting new employees
  • Assisting with employee onboarding
  • Managing the office budget
  • Planning meetings and events
  • Coordinating schedules for conference rooms
  • Handling invoices, contracts, and reports
  • Assisting office visitors

What is an Office Manager’s day like?

An Office Manager’s day is often filled with requests from employees. Since the Office Manager is the liaison between an employee and the rest of the office, it is his or her job to answer any questions employees might have about their workplace. Their goal is to help and support employees throughout their workday, whatever that might entail.

As an Office Manager, here are some questions you can expect to hear from the people you work with in an average day at the office:

  • My interview or client arrived early. Can you keep him or her company?
  • Can you give this person a tour of the office?
  • What was the invoice number for this vendor’s September payment?
  • Does our office lease say anything about hanging things on the walls?
  • Can we adjust the air conditioning?
  • Was I reimbursed for those folders?
  • Can I book the conference room for this Monday at ten?
  • How can I get to my company voicemail?
  • Can I order food for my meeting? How?
  • How do I reset my computer password?

Office Manager Skills

If you want to be an Office Manager, you should consider your personal strengths. A good Office Manager is:

  • Organized
  • Flexible
  • Good at problem-solving
  • A “people person”
  • Empathetic
  • A great communicator
  • A great delegator
  • Good at working on different types of tasks at the same time
  • Excellent at managing his or her time
  • Capable of working independently

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Who is an Office Administrator and what does an Office Administrator do?

An Office Administrator focuses on the processes in an office. The role of an Office Administrator is to ensure that office logistics always run smoothly. If something isn’t working to the advantage of the people in an office, it is the Office Administrator’s job to figure out why and improve the process. An Office Administrator aims to support the entire office by maintaining technology, schedules, and overall workflow.

Some of an Office Administrator’s daily responsibilities may include:

  • Handling expenses
  • Responding to company emails, phone calls, and written correspondence
  • Organizing shared office spaces
  • Handling itineraries and bookings for employees who are traveling
  • Ordering and maintaining office supplies, services, and IT resources
  • Processing invoices and reimbursement requests
  • Contacting employees when new services or procedures are put in place
  • Creating proposals, presentations, and briefs
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Recruiting and hiring new employees

What is an Office Administrator’s day like?

An Office Administrator’s day is also filled with requests, but they often receive questions that can’t immediately be solved. While an Office Manager can sometimes provide a quick answer or make a quick fix somewhere, an Office Administrator’s requests typically involve planning and communication between people in the office.

As an Office Administrator, here are some questions you can expect to hear from the people you work with in an average day at the office:

  • How do I make collated, double-sided copies of this?
  • Can you clear my schedule for next Wednesday morning?
  • Do we have an office dress code?
  • Did I get a package today?
  • When will the printer ink order be delivered?
  • How do I work the projector in order to give my presentation?
  • Do you think that person enjoyed my presentation?
  • I think one of the sinks in the bathroom is leaking... Can you fix it?
  • Does tomorrow’s breakfast include any vegan options?
  • Can you tell everyone about the new Casual Fridays policy?

Office Administrator Skills

If you want to be an Office Administrator, you should consider your personal strengths. A good Office Administrator is:

  • Hyper-organized
  • Methodical
  • Strategic
  • Detail-oriented
  • Able to make decisions on his or her own
  • Great at finding ways to make things more efficient
  • Capable of taking the initiative
  • Good with numbers such as finances, dates, and times
  • Well-spoken and a great written communicator
  • Capable of working with others to complete a task

By now, the administrator vs. manager distinction should be clear. Administration and office management are both crucial to keeping an office running efficiently. Neither position is inherently better or more necessary than the other; ideally, an office would have both jobs filled. The difference between an Office Manager and an Office Administrator ultimately lies in the person who is best suited for the job.

Written by:

Ashley Davis
Associate Editor at Kisi
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