Admin Assistant vs Office Manager: Which One Do You Need?

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Business owners pour so much energy and time into their enterprise, which puts their mental health at risk. According to a recent Capital One survey, 42% of small business owners experience burnout. So if you’re a business owner, you should be aiming for more balance and outsourcing non-core tasks as soon as possible. But who to delegate to? An admin assistant, an office manager, or another type of support professional? What’s the difference between an admin assistant vs office manager, anyway?

With a dedicated support professional from Wing, you can run a thriving business while still maintaining your health. Delegating certain administrative tasks can help free up your time and take much-needed breaks.

However, note that hiring an additional team member can be tedious. A Jobvite case study reported that the entire recruitment process can last for up to six weeks. So, if you’re still confused about whether you should hire an admin assistant or an office manager, this article is for you. We will discuss their responsibilities in detail. This way, you can use your resources and time to hire the ideal person.

Admin Assistant vs Office Manager: Key Differences

The day-to-day activities of admin assistants and managers are quite similar. However, they still have key differences in responsibilities and decision-making authority.

Scope of Responsibilities

When comparing admin assistant vs office manager duties, you’ll often find similar activities. Both of them perform tasks like scheduling meetings, greeting clients, and answering calls. However, a manager also handles activities related to overall business management.

For instance, they can supervise projects and delegate tasks to other employees. Moreover, they can be trusted to handle the company’s budget and make decisions about hiring new workers or purchasing equipment.

On the other hand, admin assistants also perform office duties such as data entry, preparing memos and other reports. They can also update calendars and maintain electronic databases to support individual team members or entire departments.

While admin assistants can work with business executives, their duties are more generalized. Usually, confidential information from C-suite company members is delegated to executive assistants. Admin personnel can also be remote employees who work off-site.

Check out our executive assistant vs. administrative assistant comparison to understand the difference between the roles!

Decision-Making Authority

The level of authority and seniority is another factor that differentiates an admin assistant from a manager. Usually, the former answers to higher-level managers and follows their guidelines and instructions. They may be responsible for daily tasks that optimize the operations within a business. However, before making any major decision, they have to defer to someone with higher authority.

Meanwhile, a manager has more freedom in making decisions for various office-related matters. For instance, they can create and manage procedures and policies. As we’ve mentioned, they also have the authority to handle office budgets and allocate resources. Besides, they can decide which materials and support to invest in to ensure that their administrative staff is productive and happy.

Admin Assistant vs Office Manager: Team Management

Research administration scientists find that administrative staff can contribute to a more effective and efficient work environment. Of course, the same principle applies to any business setting. When it comes to managing teams, admin assistants and managers can provide varied support:

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants play a critical role as supportive team members. They are equipped and skilled in providing assistance in the day-to-day tasks of their colleagues. Moreover, their contributions are essential in ensuring that business operations will run smoothly. However, while they can support team productivity and collaborate efficiently, they usually don’t have direct supervisory duties. Instead, their work primarily involves helping their co-workers achieve their objectives.

Office Manager

Meanwhile, office managers assume a leadership role. You can hire one to oversee and manage your administrative staff. Your manager can coordinate tasks and ensure that departments and individual employees have the support they need. They primarily provide guidance and direction, making them a critical piece in driving the success of your admin team.

When to Hire an Admin Assistant

If you’re still uncertain about the job description of these professionals, or whether you should hire an admin assistant or a manager, here are some questions to ask to help you decide:


Are you spending too much time on routine tasks?

If you have repetitive processes in your business, you can regain your time by delegating tasks to a virtual admin assistant. These little activities need to be done but don’t significantly contribute to your company’s overall growth. You can hire an admin assistant for scheduling appointments, answering emails, and processing invoices, among other routine tasks.

Are your core team members overworked?

According to a recent survey, every decision-maker in a company spends about an hour each week on admin tasks. While an hour may not seem much, the time can quickly add up depending on the number of employees you have. So, if your core team members miss deadlines because they are overworked, consider hiring an admin assistant.

Are you planning to scale your business?

Your admin workload naturally increases when you grow your business. If you want to maintain efficiency in your operations, hire an administrative assistant who can handle your growing demands. Doing so allows you to take a strategic approach that will not disrupt your business as you focus on expanding or building out departments.

As a solopreneur, do you often feel overwhelmed with your tasks?

Consider your growth plans when choosing between an admin assistant vs office manager. If you’re a small business owner, you likely understand the gratifying feeling of bringing in more clients and increasing your revenue. However, as opportunities arise, you’ll also encounter overwhelming challenges.

If you want to stay efficient and productive without getting burnt out, hire a virtual assistant. You’ll have someone to organize and support your day-to-day tasks, allowing you to focus on creating plans and pursuing goals.

Benefits of Having an Admin Assistant

Identifying the ideal virtual assistant for your specific needs can bring various benefits to your business. As we’ve mentioned, offloading admin tasks allow you to focus on strategic activities that drive growth. Here are some of the operational improvements you can expect:

Business Efficiency

Remote administrative assistants can stay organized, manage time efficiently, and work independently. Moreover, they can handle multiple tasks to support your internal teams. Because core members are focused on their primary duties, you can expect faster turnaround times. Ultimately, offloading admin tasks to a virtual assistant improves overall business performance.

Lower Overhead Expenses

Another benefit you can expect from hiring an administrative assistant is profitability. You can cut expenses related to employee management, allowing you to increase your revenue quickly. Besides, if you turn to a managed service provider like Wing, you won’t have to deal with expenditures like utilities, rent, office supplies, and worker benefits.

Specialized Skills and Knowledge

The rise of remote work has made it easier to access people with specialized skills. For instance, you can hire a real estate virtual assistant to handle property sourcing, bid management, marketing, and online listings.

If you’re a medical practitioner, you can hire a remote scribe to transcribe medical records, manage invoices, and draft referrals to other physicians. No matter what your business niche is, you can hire an admin assistant who can understand your unique needs.

When to Hire an Office Manager

Not every small business needs to hire a manager. Sometimes, you only need an admin assistant who can schedule appointments, answer inquiries, and perform other routine tasks. So, before deciding, here are questions that will help:


Are you onboarding a batch of new workers?

Your operations can quickly become disorganized as you scale your business. Even if you’re running an office with the most reliable employees, chaos can happen if you don’t take a strategic approach to growing your company. Of course, you can divide the work among a few key players initially, but doing so will eventually overwhelm them.

So, if you’re considering hiring a new batch of employees, you should also think about hiring a manager for their office. They will prepare the necessary materials to onboard new workers while providing administrative support to your existing teams.

Are your employees disengaged?

According to a Zenefits case study, 63.3% of businesses find retaining employees more challenging than hiring them. However, keeping teams engaged is a difficult feat. Fortunately, a manager can also develop and maintain a healthy work culture. They can plan happy hours, parties, team-building activities, and other events that support employee engagement.

Because a manager acts as the face of the company, they are also familiar with your staff. Consequently, they can easily delegate tasks to encourage participation in team-building events. As you scale your business, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy culture. This way, you can effectively attract new talent and retain existing employees.

Are workflows and processes disorganized?

Another thing to consider when choosing between an admin assistant vs office manager is your existing workflow. Do you delegate key admin tasks to a single person? If you tend to assign these duties to different people, your workflows and processes will suffer.

There will be internal disorganization because core team members won’t be certain who should be doing the admin routine tasks. Moreover, since they’re constantly swamped, their work quality will be inconsistent.

While admin tasks may seem unimportant, they can easily sink your ship. If these activities are drawing your employees away from their primary duties, then you need to hire a manager. You’ll need someone working full-time to streamline processes and workflows.

Benefits of Having an Office Manager

It can be challenging to adopt a casual culture when you’re growing your small business into a bigger company with about a hundred employees. Thankfully, you can keep the same cozy work environment without sacrificing efficiency when you hire a manager. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of working with one:

Efficient Office Operations and Resource Management

Because a manager supports teams and individual employees, they ultimately streamline existing workflows. Moreover, they efficiently manage resources like workspace, supplies, and equipment. By overseeing the office budget, they’re able to reduce waste and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Centralized Decision-Making and Coordination

A manager can act as the central point for internal and external communication. They can coordinate cross-functional projects, ensuring that crucial information is disseminated to relevant parties. Because they streamline communications, decision-makers have everything they need to discuss business plans and strategies thoroughly. Consequently, you can ensure that teams will work on their assigned tasks and meet their deadlines and objectives.

Improved Workplace Organization and Employee Satisfaction

As we’ve mentioned, managers play a crucial role in building and maintaining a healthy work culture. This process can also involve designing a workspace that is comfortable and conducive to productivity. Because an office manager is also responsible for budget allocation, they can ensure that the workplace layout promotes efficiency and collaboration.

Note that a manager performs the duties of a human resource management personnel. So, they can also collect employee feedback. An office manager can help you identify areas for improvement to ensure that workers are engaged and satisfied.

Hire Managed, Dedicated Remote Administrative Assistants from Wing

Comparing admin assistant vs manager benefits is crucial in identifying the type of service you’ll need. The latter provides essential administrative support for your team members. Moreover, they help streamline routine processes. Indeed, they can help free up your time and maintain business efficiency.

On the other hand, if you’re scaling your business, you’ll need an office manager who can take on a more in-office, leadership-oriented role. They can handle resource management, make crucial budget-related decisions, and coordinate projects. A manager provides administrative support to ensure that workflows and processes remain organized as you grow your operations.

Ultimately, the choice between an admin assistant and a manager will depend on your specific business needs. Now, if you’re running a small business or a startup and you want to offload routine tasks, hiring a remote administrative assistant from Wing would be the cost-effective choice.

If you need help identifying the ideal virtual assistant for your needs, contact Wing today.

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