Office administrators perform a variety of management and administrative tasks in offices, including assigning work, setting deadlines for work, ordering supplies for the office and training employees. Administrators also maintain office equipment, set schedules, formulate and implement policies for employees and evaluate employee work performance. The role of the office administrator is to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the office.
An ideal candidate for an office administrator position has strong decision-making skills and the ability to multi-task. The candidate should also have excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills. Essentially, the office administrator manages the office, so management skills are essential.
An office manager serves as the primary administrator of workplace policies and procedures, keeping a record of all official policy documents and making them available to any employee who requests them. Some office managers may enforce general office policies, such as dress codes, tardiness policies or codes of conduct, reporting or reprimanding employees in violation of the policies. The office administrator handles the organization of all company documents, including local copies of legal papers, business plans and client records as well as any incoming and outgoing mail.
The office administrator may need to pay monthly rent for office space, pay utility bills and manage the ordering of office supplies, such as paper, pens or food for the break room. It is common for office administrators to work with other departments on tasks, such as disseminating pay stubs from the payroll department or updating employees on new state work regulations with the human resources department. Some jobs may require the office administrator to answer phones and greet incoming guests.
Most companies that hire office administrators look for candidates with associate or bachelor’s degrees with an emphasis in office management and business administration. Coursework in business law, business correspondence, bookkeeping and records management prepares the candidate for work as an office administrator. Other courses such as computer applications, career planning and professional development may also give candidates an edge.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the need for office administrators and other related occupations in office and administrative support fields to grow by 12 percent by 2022. The median annual salary for an office administrator is $49,330, as of 2012.