The future of the "Office Manager" job

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Hi! I work in human resources and I’ve seen a number of office managers in the last few months really concerned about their jobs if their company moves to a remote setup. If there is no “office”, what will the “office manager” do?

Many are trying to pivot their roles to more employee experience type work or culture building, but I’m curious to know if anyone has any other ideas. Have you seen anyone make this type of shift before? Or if you’re a remote-first company, do you have a role similar to an office manager?

Here's what our users had to say:

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "That’s a great question Nancy! I haven’t explored or read much about the specific role but have often seen it merge in other functions (e.g. HR, Facilities etc.), both in-office & remote. But from what I have read, there are ‘remote office manager’ roles which concern with tasks/ responsibilities relevant to a remote setting. For e.g. organising company events or conferences gets converted to organising virtual events or conferences. This is a job listing I had come across some time back. But my knowledge is limited to reading in this case and I would love to hear if you or others in the community have first-hand experience."

  • Nancy said "The switch to virtual events and conferences makes sense. I’ve haven’t really had any first-hand experience, but I’ve seen some people in my extended network making changes. At least one pivoted into a customer success role at their company, which seemed like a bigger pivot than I would have expected."

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "That’s true, moving to a customer success role does seem a very tangential pivot and may not be feasible for most. However, as Darren says, the switch to an executive BA or a scribe makes total sense and a conscious change many could aim for!"

  • Karthik Sridharan said "Thanks for asking this question Nancy - never thought of this! Let me see if I can ask some experts and get back to you :)"

  • Karthik Sridharan said "Hey @nancy, So I do have an update for you :). I reached out to Darren, Head of Remote at Gitlab. He’s probably one of the most knowledgeable individuals around the various aspect of remote working. So these are his exact words: “GitLab’s People Experience Associate is the closest similar thing. Her instinct on the pivot makes sense. In a remote team, there’s a lot more of a need for help in terms of finding things, finding people, ordering things, maintaining culture, etc., all of which are fairly natural extensions for most dedicated office managers. I would also suggest becoming a company documentarian or executive business assistant. Remote teams need much more documentation, so pivoting to being a scribe/EA is a possibility.” I think he makes some really strong points. Hope this was useful :)"

  • Nancy said "This is such great information. Thanks for reaching out to him, @karthik! I hadn’t thought about the documentarian/scribe needs of a remote team, but it makes a ton of sense."

  • Karthik Sridharan said "That’s great Nancy - I’m glad you found it useful :)"

  • Hanadi said "this is a great question nancy and one that many in various other roles should start asking themselves. Of course in progressive organizations which consider talent as their biggest asset, their people strategy will include reskilling employees, helping them pivot, learn new skills, redeploying their existing skills to other parts of the organization or to a different role where these skills are needed. But like I mentioned, this happens in organizations that are very ahead in their thinking. And they are very few. Back to your question - I'd add to all what's been shared so far... think project management or coordination - with remote work and asynchronus scattered teams a project coordinator will help keep projects and their teams intact. Another role woud be a community coordinator. Both examples would require picking up new skills including learning to use vertain tech tools"

  • Alberto said "Hi! I'm Alberto and I'm running a startup company called hopp.team - I deal on a daily basis with companies whose office managers have turned "remote office manager" or "global office manager" as we support companies in embracing a hybrid work set up by giving their employees access to a widespread network of on-demand flexible workspaces. I can thus give you many examples of such companies, and in general I do think that an office-free company definitely needs an "office manager" even more than an old-fashioned company :)"