The 5 Office Managers You’ve Probably Met Before

Office manager

The office manager is a multitasking maven holding everything (and everyone) together.

Every office has one, but do we really know who they are and what they do for us? A professional Swiss Army knife, they juggle tasks and spin plates far beyond the demands of their official job descriptions.

Their role is as diverse as it is demanding.

People approach the office manager life in different ways, bringing a variety of talents and styles. 

In this article, we try to find some order in their chaotic world. It should help you recognise who you’re dealing with and appreciate what they’re doing for you - perhaps without you even noticing

“I’m a friend first and a boss second, probably an entertainer third.”

Do you recognise any of the below?

The Diplomat

The UN Peace Envoy of HR. 

Everyone’s best friend, therapist, confidante and advocate. 

This person is out there all day, every day, putting out fires before anyone even smells smoke. They’re always ready to lend a sympathetic ear or give sage advice when needed.

A diverse workforce is a healthy, productive and profitable one. 

A mix of personalities, opinions and perspectives is essential for a modern business to thrive. But this comes with its challenges.

Office managers often find themselves playing the role of mediator, trying to find common ground among people from different backgrounds and demographics, perhaps with different opinions, preferences and approaches.

From helping to resolve personal issues with discretion and compassion, to navigating the choppy waters of office politics, The Diplomat helps broker and keep the peace while keeping everyone’s mental health intact.

The Cheerleader

When the going gets tough, The Cheerleader is there to boost morale. 

Often also the office DJ (you can bet they’ll be blasting the Rocky theme while brushing their teeth on Monday mornings), this person can read the room and knows exactly what people need to get going. Whether it’s a throwback Thursday dance party to give you a much-needed end-of-week energy boost, or a pep talk in the bathroom before a big meeting, this breed of office manager is always fighting your corner and reminding the whole team that they’re valued and appreciated. 

What a gem.

You can thank (or curse) them for those team away days and blockbuster Christmas parties. They are experts at bringing people together as a team and getting the best out of everyone, and want everyone to enjoy their work as much as possible. 

Their enthusiasm is annoyingly infectious.

The Office Mum/Dad

They’re the first to pull you up on it when you’re not pulling your weight, but they clap the loudest when you succeed. 

They share their lunch when you’ve forgotten yours, they always have an umbrella, and they make the best cup of tea (and always exactly when you need it). They’ll slip you a Nurofen when you rock up hungover the day after your birthday, and it was them who made sure everyone signed your card. But they’ll also give you what for when you do it again the following week. 

And you can bet they’ll sniff out the stapler thief in a matter of minutes – don’t try to sneak anything past them.

Whether through words of wisdom or a well-intentioned reprimand, the Office Mum/Dad wants the best for you – because they care. They show it in different ways, but the thing these guys have in common is a desire to look after their coworkers and help them thrive.

The Fixer

Lightbulbs need changing? Printer playing up? Passwords need changing? Your office manager has already rolled their sleeves up to get stuck in. 

If things feel like they’re always smooth sailing in your office and nothing ever goes wrong, it’s likely that you have a Fixer. Like a graceful swan seemingly gliding through the water, you can bet their feet are paddling away like crazy under the surface.

These guys often believe that going unnoticed means they’re doing their job well – so if you suspect you have a Fixer in your office, try to catch them in the act and let them know you see and appreciate them. It doesn’t need to be a thankless job.

The Efficiency Guru

This person is on it. Waste is a dirty word. 

They have a love/hate relationship with email – they love being looped into everything but can't switch off. They’re obsessed with spreadsheets (you’re shared on six of them). They haven’t used a pen and paper since 2005. You’d have a better chance of cracking an MI5 agent than trying to talk to them while their Pomodoro timer is still going. 

Time. Is. Money.

The Efficiency Guru is a great person to have in your office, and bosses (rightly) love them – but you might have to remind them to take a week off once in a while! 

They won’t be so efficient if they burn out, and if they go down, half the office could go down with them.

The Virtual Maestro

Time and space have no meaning for this digital hero, and the virtual office could not function without them. They could live on the moon for all it would impact their commitment and execution of their office manager role. Armed with just a laptop, internet connection and a webcam, they effortlessly weave together people, tasks, apps and solutions across countries and time zones, like a maestro conducting an orchestra.

Their workday looks like a constantly refreshing newsfeed punctuated by a chorus of notifications. From Zoom meetings to virtual team-building activities, they’re always finding new and innovative ways to forge connections and build camaraderie from a distance, ensuring everyone is included. 

The Virtual Manager is a digital native so immersed in your office metaverse that they may as well be an avatar. Come to think of it; you’re not entirely sure they actually exist…

One task in common

One task that all office managers have to deal with is leave management, making sure work stays strong every time someone wants a long weekend.

A blessing and a curse – everyone loves a day or week off, but keeping track of all the requests is a pain.

Some are thankfully open to bribes, while others prefer a more transparent approach, using leave management software to do the hard work for them.

Leave Management Software for all management styles

All hail the office manager

Let's take a moment to appreciate our office managers.

Whether we have a Diplomat, a Cheerleader, a Mum/Dad, a Fixer, Efficiency Guru, or a Virtual Maestro, we'd be utterly lost without them. And if it's you who's tasked with keeping the wheels on the bus, and you need a leave management system to keep just one of those wheels turning without you – well, you know where to look. 

We salute you all – now back to work!

Abi Angus Leave Dates


Abi is a freelance writer based in Brighton & Hove, UK, writing for businesses about work, life and everything in between.