If you missed our first Office Manager blog, an Office Manager facilitates the efficient functioning of a workplace through a range of admin, clerical, financial and managerial tasks. The scope of this role has widened in recent years to include creating inspiring and creative workplaces.
To do so, Office Managers are tasked with brainstorming ideas for staff days/nights out, organising office perks, maintaining a positive environment and much more. We recently had the chance to engage Susan Small, the Office Manager at Cullen Communications.
Cullen Communications are a Dublin-based PR firm who have been in business for over 30 years. They operate in automotive, sports, travel and food sectors among many others. They pride themselves on being their clients’ ‘’eyes and ears in this fast-moving, ever-changing world.’’
Susan joined Cullen Communications back in 2014. Before joining the PR firm, Susan worked for ESB, having joined them straight from secondary school. She gained experience in a wide variety of roles including Clerical Officer, Typist, Personal Assistant, IT Trainer, Service Desk Manager, Operations Analyst and IT Project Manager.
How does working for Cullen Communications differ from previous workplaces?
‘’I moved from ESB, a semi-state organisation with over 10,000 employees, to a tight knit team of 14 staff. Everyone in Cullen Communications is key to the success of the company, no passengers and nowhere to hide!’’
What is your understanding of the role of Office Manager?
In the front of house role, I’m the ‘Director of First Impressions’ while in the back office I’m the ‘Paper Clip Counter’! I see myself as the ‘lubrication’ that keeps everything moving and the ‘glue’ that holds everything together. No job is too small for an Office Manager.
What led you to become an Office Manager or to take on the role of Office Manager?
A bit of pot luck was involved and I was also head hunted. When I decided to make a career change, from ESB and IT, my CV ended up in some (as yet) unknown person’s hands who knew Cullen Communications were on the lookout for a ‘Director of First Impressions’ (eh I mean Office Manager). They thought I’d be a good fit and the rest is history.
What do you think are the key strengths or attributes that an Office Manager needs?
A level head, the ability to connect with people and a general can-do attitude. A good sense of humour also helps!
Which of your duties do you enjoy most and which do you enjoy the least?
I have to say I enjoy organising client events. There’s a great sense of team spirit and achievement when it goes well and of course it always does! However, we’re usually all emotionally and physically drained afterwards. Least enjoyable – well, filing is a chore. There’s just so much paper in today’s paperless office!
What does an average workday look like for you?
I get in early, usually around 8:30. I take in the newspapers then remind myself of the upcoming schedule of client visits and meetings. There’s the usual chit-chat with the team as they arrive. Regardless of what’s planned, a spanner can land in the works at any time and I get diverted to some unexpected task. There’s the post, answering calls from clients and suppliers, attending to account queries, and all of this in between taking regular deliveries of fresh fruit from our most reliable and prestigious Purveyor of Fresh Fruit (maybe they need some PR!)
Are there any initiatives that you or your company have to help keep morale high?
There’s the Summer BBQs and regular chicken sandwich picnics in the backyard. We did a bicycle trip around the Phoenix Park recently as part of International Wellness Day and have previously visited the Dáil too. We always have a themed Christmas Party – karaoke, crystal maze etc, something to bring people out of themselves. Even PR people need a lift from time to time!
Have you implemented any initiatives or ideas that might be considered out of the ordinary/unusual but that you have found effective?
My two-seater sports car has featured in various promo campaigns at no extra charge! It’s one of those fun things I treated myself to for a laugh a few years ago. It also enhances my role as ‘Director of First Impressions’!
Do you have any tips/processes/apps/websites you think would help other Office Managers in any function of their day-to-day tasks?
Take the work seriously but don’t take yourself seriously. People deal with people on a human level. Don’t lose that!
Have deliveries from The Fruit People improved productivity/wellness in your workplace?
Of course, we’d be out of business otherwise!Speaking to Susan was a great insight into how an Office or Operations Manager works in a PR firm. We would love to hear from others in similar roles so if this is you, send us a message on Facebook or LinkedIn!
If you would like quick and easy access to fruit, why not try our fresh-fruit delivery service? You can even claim a free trial by clicking right HERE.