3 Tips for Navigating a Career in Office Operations
The traditional administrative and office operations jobs are evolving and with that comes an amazing opportunity to build long, impactful careers in this space. Managed by Q recently published a guide to help companies think about the expanding ‘Office Experience’ team. With new roles like Employee Experience Manager, Office Support Executive, and the broadening scope of responsibilities for Administrative Assistants, the territory for those navigating these career paths is largely uncharted. Thinking about how to progress in office operations in this expanding market can be daunting.
Below are 3 tips to help you gain exposure to some of these expanded areas of office operations, along with ways to think about what career path you may want to explore.
1. Have an office operations growth mindset
‘Growth mindset’ is a term often thrown around without explanation. Simply put, a growth mindset means finding ways to continuously learn and push yourself. When it comes to career development as an office operations professional, I think of it like being a sponge, soaking up new experiences and information everywhere I can. Here are some specific approaches:
Visit offices to see what other companies are doing to create a great employee experience.
Talk to your coworkers and ask what’s important to them and what would help them be their best at work (Extra credit: Don’t ask what “perks” they would want—often they will name whatever cool thing they just heard about versus something that would actually be meaningful to them).
Ask to better understand the budget for office improvements or perks and put together recommendations of new things to try.
2. Raise your hand to help
One of the best ways to expand your skills in office operations and grow your career is to volunteer to help with projects outside of your current role. Once people in the organization know you are interested in working on new challenges, you will be amazed at the number of opportunities that present themselves. Here are some examples of roles that people in the office operations world stretch to work on:
Marketing - help prep for trade shows, research new swag ideas, manage and write the company newsletter
People ops - join the team at a career fair, research new platforms to use for recognition programs
Events - volunteer to help organize a social event or community outreach initiative
Recruiting - act as a host or buddy for candidates or new hires or create materials for new hires to get to know the office during their first week
3. Find a mentor
Many office operations teams are small, so you may feel like you are on an island in your current company. There is, however, a whole network of people who have grown their careers after starting in a position similar to where you are today. I started as an Office Coordinator, moved to an Administrative Assistant for an HR executive team, and from there my HR career took off. Finding a mentor may not be easy, but here are a couple of ways to start building fruitful relationships:
Attend networking groups (also a great place to learn new ideas!) and strike up conversations. Some of the most trusted people in my network came from networking events.
Peruse LinkedIn by searching for job titles you are interested in learning more about companies you admire. Request a connection and include a note—most people will be happy to share their stories.
Ask people in your direct circle at home and at work for introductions to individuals they may know.
First and foremost, always talk to your HR partner and manager as you think about office operations career development. Working on more projects, meeting new people, and getting exposed to new ideas will accelerate your career journey in office operations!