As office managers, you’re constantly juggling a seemingly endless variety of tasks. On a typical day, you may find yourself doing anything from scheduling meetings to creating invoices, booking travel, planning events, bookkeeping, and managing inventory and expenses.
Keeping on top of all this is what separates a skilled office manager from an amateur one. However, while a lot comes down to experience, having the right software can be a huge help. With the right solutions, you can minimize stress and greatly increase your day-to-day efficiency.
Below, we’re going to cover five of the best software solutions for office managers. While all of them may not be useful to you, hopefully, you’ll find aa few that suit your responsibilities.
You’ve probably heard of it by this point. Communication is key for any office manager, and Microsoft Teams is an incredibly efficient way to do so. You can quickly reach out to employees through many communication channels, from message to video call, or voice call. You can also use Teams to sit in on meetings, collaborate in real-time, and view and schedule meetings.
That said, in some ways, the most powerful feature of Teams is its wide array of integrations. Office managers and staff can install and access hundreds of popular apps from its interface, some of which we’ll be covering in a bit.
Microsoft Planner is a project manager’s bread and butter. It helps office managers organize in an intuitive, visual way. Much like Trello, you can create buckets (cards) with different tasks and assign milestones with priority levels, checklists, and more. You can then easily attach documents from your local PC, Onedrive, or SharePoint
Crucially, the charts section gives a visual overview of the status of all of the tasks and how many tasks each member has taken on. This helps office managers quickly determine whether things are on track and who is free. The schedule view, meanwhile, provides a familiar calendar view with a quick oversight of when each task is due.
The best part is that both are accessible straight from Microsoft Teams, with close integrations with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite to make your life easier.
Much of the work of office managers require a human touch, but some of it is simple and repetitious. Nowadays, such tasks can be fully or partially automated, alleviating part of the workload on office managers. Microsoft Flow has hundreds of connectors that enable integration with most popular software. By utilizing its simple flow-chart-based interface, practically anyone can automate parts of their day.
You can, for example, automatically send travel requests from anyone in the organization for approval. Or, you can track Microsoft Forms responses in Excel Online and then send an email to respondents when they’ve completed the survey.
However, perhaps the best part about Flow is its ability to tie together solutions that aren’t traditionally integrated. Maybe you want to automatically send an Outlook email when a signature request is created in Hello Sign, or create a task in Asana via a message in Microsoft Teams. Flow lets you do that. It’s all about cutting out the less enjoyable parts of your workday so you can focus on what really matters.
If expense reporting falls under your responsibilities, you’ll know it can be a headache. Expensify automates the entire process by providing one-click receipt scanning, multi-level approval workflows, and accounting, HR, and travel integrations. It will further detect duplicate receipts, false exchange rates, and invalid transactions.
Included in the Expensify suite of products is its Trip planner, which further enables easy booking of flights, hotels, and cars. Automatic re-booking features reduce micromanagement, while reporting tools provide full visibility when it comes to trip costs.
The key to running a successful office is knowing the employees in it and their needs. Though tools such as SurveyMonkey and Typeform are excellent, Microsoft Forms is included in your Microsoft 365 subscription and does an admirable job at competing.
With it, you can quickly create surveys from a selection of templates. Questions about snack selection may seem small, but they can be the difference between employees leaving for coffee or staying at work. The Likert Scale field gives the option of more nuance, allowing you to ask broad questions and get answers that range from “Very unlikely” to “Very likely”, for example. By tying in Microsoft Translate, it’s able to automatically offer this functionality in over 75 languages.
During or after a survey is complete, forms will provide you the number of responses and the average time to complete. Once you’re finished, you can open the results straight in Excel for processing.
Honorable Mentions for Office Managers
These are just a few of the tools that can help to streamline the workflow. With the broad range of responsibilities an office manager has, there’s a good chance you’ll need more yet to reach your full potential. You may, for example, want a dedicated accounting software like Wave, a digital signing solution like DocuSign, or HR software like Dynamics 365.
While the sum of all these tools can end up costly, solutions like Microsoft 365 allow enterprises to access most of the software an office managers need business-wide essentials like Word, Excel, Exchange, and SharePoint.
If you’d like help implementing Microsoft 365 and other solutions in your business, reach out to us today. We can take the hassle out of deployment and leave you free to focus on what matters most.