This week we were interested for the first time in the job of office manager and that’s why we interviewed Jennifer Genestier, Founder & CEO of Gom&GO, an Office Managers recruitment agency.
Presentation of the activity
I have a lot of experience as an office manager, I was freelance and I have created an agency which serves as an interface between freelance missions of office managers and companies. So I have a very transversal visibility of the companies’ market through these missions. Currently, I don’t do a lot of office management anymore but I have done it for a long time and i also developed a recruitment activity, HR helping in office management. That’s why my current vision is less precise and much broader.
Presentation of the job of office manager
1- Step backwards
The job of office manager largely consists in keeping an active watch because the market moves a lot and there is always something new to discover. What enables the office managers to achieve fulfillment and to evolve depends on the setup of the new tools enabling them to get a rid of repetitive missions (we already viewed this subject in one of our articles) and to be led to become Happiness Managers, by working on the corporate culture, the wellness, the organization and the management.
Some years ago, the job of office manager didn’t exist in France. I arrived in this job 7-8 years ago and there were very few people who were working as office manager. However, in France, we have a big background in the tertiary sector, executive assistant, management assistant, secretariat, etc.
When the job appeared, new competences were added. It created various profiles, enabling to cross lots of talents and competencies in only one profile and job which exactly answered to the needs of the growing companies.
2- Office Manager vs Executive Assistant
The job of office manager is still very new. Indeed, when we talk about it, people think that it is a translation for Executive Assistant except that the profile is not the same at all. What is making a real difference is that the office manager is a pilot, he is not here to execute what we ask him to do, he is here to be source of proposals, to bring improvement for the well-being, to watch over the market, the network and the ecosystem of the company. It is here that the office manager acts, it constitutes a real link between each cell of the company, internal or external. This is not an administrative, accounting, or commercial work.
3- An atypical profile
This job was created with specificities and expertise because most professionals were trained in the field. There are people who have a more HR profile, others more financial whereas others will be more commercials. Each person will develop his uniqueness in this way. Finally we realize that it is thanks to all these things that the office managers learned on-the-job that they became real autodidacts. Only recently have formations begun to emerge. Everyone has learned the job on the ground.. Moreover, there is a self-affirmation and empowerment aspect that we don’t find in the assistantship jobs. It is really important for me because the office manager, before having know-hows, he must have the know-how-to-be. This is for me the whole distinction with the professions of the administrative, the office manager is an “in-house project manager”.
It is also important to see everything one is able to do with only the skills of an office managers. They can be CEO of a company because they know how to manage it, how to administer it. The office manager is really multi-skilled and that’s why the manier tools they will have to help save time for the executive part, the more they will gain in well-being and it will enable this job to evolve on its profound meaning which is to pilot, to bring link between tools and humans, to ensure that it corresponds to the corporate culture and to this kind of management. It is from here that they become Happiness Managers.
4- A job which tends to evolve
As soon as I talk about the job of office manager, nobody knows what it is. After Paris, Bordeaux starts slowly to tame this job but for the moment the office manager corresponds to the translation of executive assistant. People are confused and it makes sense. There has been a transition period for 10 years where we moved from “each one at their place” to “each one must know how to do everything”. For the people from our parents’ generation it is very complicated, even more with the arrival of new tools. Slack was a revolution for the office managers, all of a sudden they started to communicate between them, to share things, to bring an added value and well-being to their job. They gradually became Happiness Managers. Today, we use QuickBooks for the billing, Slack, Trello. As soon as we get new needs, new tools appear.
Dunforce, an opportunity for the office managers
Dunforce can be an interesting tool particularly for a freelancer who has a recovery activity before litigation. Now,there are a lot of freelancers who do that and who have several clients. This would save them time, thus improving well-being and productivity. Nobody knows that it is in development but there are lots of them. When I started, I was the only one office manager freelance in Paris and when I met others office managers they realized that it was possible. We are today really numerous!
The job of office manager is still bad-known today, or little used under this name. Indeed it is still associated to the job of executive assistant. However, it is not the same job at all and not the same profile. The office manager is more in the driving, the organization, and the creation of link between the different cells of the company. True autodidacts, they are not here to execute what they are asked. If the job of office manager tends to develop or to extend, the implementation of new tools will further promote its evolution and the well-being of its users becoming real happiness managers by focusing more on corporate culture.