In large companies there is a department for everything. There is a purchasing department to order office supplies, a maintenance department to make sure the building is clean and in good shape and an HR department to plan company outings and celebrations.
Small businesses don’t have the luxury of having all those departments, but all of those functions still have to get done. As the business owner, you can try to do it yourself, but let’s face it, shopping for office supplies is not necessarily the best use of your time. You need to have someone to delegate to, even if it is only a few hours a week.
Thinking about bringing on someone to help you? Start by dividing the tasks into groups: those which only you can do and those which someone else can be trained to do. Then sort the list by importance (i.e. revenue producing). The revenue producing tasks which only you can do is where you should be spending your time. Hiring someone else to run to the post office, buy a birthday cake and enter contacts into your database will give you more time to do just that.
Most companies call this person the office manager. As the business grows from perhaps a one person start up to a small business more and more tasks will be piled on her (or his) desk. The office manager keeps things running smoothly, but an office mom will keep your culture running smoothly.
At Roundpeg, our office mom is Rebecca. In addition to her regular duties as a book keeper and office administrator, she is the best listener, full of advice, resources and instructions on how to do everything. She knows where we keep the tools and the wasp spray, how to use the fax machine and when to change the filter on the furnace.
Rebecca makes sure we have a steady supply of water, diet coke and our favorite pens. She remembers everyone’s birthday and even bakes an occasional batch of cookies. She knits hats for the cats, reminds us to go for our annual flu shot and plans our annual holiday party. Most of all, she makes life at the ‘Peg feel a lot more like home. We would still get our jobs done if she wasn’t here, but it would be a lot less fun.
What is life like in your office? How do you hold your culture together, make people feel welcome and ready to do their jobs?