Tips & Tricks: Operations Across Three Offices
Sarah Schraer, Former Office Manager
Staying plugged in across three offices can be tough but I’ve found a few tools that have really helped me out.
At Viget, we have three offices and one office manager (me!). I work out of our headquarters in the DC Metro area, but I’m also responsible for many of the operations tasks in our two smaller offices in Durham and Boulder. Staying plugged in across three offices can be tough but I’ve found a few tools that have really helped me out.
Emoji Polls and Announcements on Slack
We’ve been very into emoji polls on Slack as of late. They’re fun, but they’re also a great way to get a pulse on how people are feeling about the office or even what they’d like for Free Lunch Friday.
This summer we’ve been using polls to keep tabs on the AC at HQ.
I also use Slack to ask questions...
And just engage with the other offices.
Office Ops Channels
While I’m the only office manager, we do have people in each office who are willing to help out with office operations that can’t be done remotely. Each office has a private “office-ops” channel in Slack where I can connect with our go-to people in each office. In these channels we communicate about everything from leaky pipes to Amazon deliveries and paint colors.
Basecamp To-Do Lists
Our two smaller offices, Durham and Boulder each have access to a Basecamp to-do list where they can assign me tasks. Since the lists are accessible to the whole office, it helps take the operations burden off the billable folks and shift it to me. People can put in inventory requests, office decor ideas, and anything else they want me to look into. Sometimes it’s something that I can do instantaneously (like “order k-cups”) and other times it’s something that requires more conversation or more research. The to-do lists have a comment feature for exploring issues further or providing links.
At Viget, food and meetings go hand in hand. Every Friday we have an all company meeting called Free Lunch Friday (FLF) and there are usually several team lunches each week. Shorter Order is our in-house group ordering form that lets me help out with ordering, even from afar.
Amazon is an office manager’s best friend. We order almost all of our office needs on Amazon-- everything from our monthly snack stockpile to ink, light bulbs, and nail guns. The best part is, it allows me to take care of the inventory from hundreds of miles away. Once a month someone from the Boulder and Durham office pings me to order snacks and office supplies. I typically take care of the bulk of our necessities in this single order but many of the items on those Basecamp to-do lists are ordered off Amazon as well.
These are just a few of the tools that help operations run smoothly across our offices. Of course, it doesn’t always go according to plan-- like that time it took our snacks 10 days to ship 😱 -- But for the most part these strategies help me take care of all 62 members of our staff and all three of our facilities pretty well.