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What comes to mind when you think of Peppermint Soda?  Our team, our awards, the noteworthy campaigns and memorable PR stunts, or an impressive list of clients?  What probably won’t spring to mind are the likes of office management, HR and finances – the far less sexy, but fundamental, bits that are all done behind the scenes.  In Peppermint’s case, it’s mainly co-ordinated by our office manager, and we believe that it’s vital to our success.  I thought I’d take this opportunity let you in on a few of our office secrets…

Good office management is paramount. Often not a very client-facing position (unless you count making them a brew when they arrive for a meeting!), it’s the go-to person for any office-related issues.  They’ll have IT support on speed dial and can effortlessly juggle stationery orders, media subscriptions and the office weekly shop.  It also means picking up odd tasks to help out the PR account execs when they have a pile of work, managing holiday requests and replying to endless enquiries.  Busy execs don’t have the time to nip out to the local deli to grab lunch for a meeting, and how are they going to do their work if there’s no notepads, or the ink in the printer runs out?  There isn’t a loo-roll fairy (as much as the Peppermints may like to think there is!), and tea and coffee does not magically refill itself.  I’ve yet to experience a caffeine-deprived team…

Then there’s finance.  And I don’t just mean keeping track of the petty cash and making sure no one goes on a spending spree with a company credit card.  After all, our clients need invoicing for the great work we do.  There are numerous days per month where I sit with a calculator, an Excel spreadsheet (there are a lot of spreadsheets) and a pile of paperwork covered in numbers – I’m sometimes very close to banging my head against the desk (maths is not my forte).

This is where a reliable accountant comes in handy.  John and Julie, our Peppermint financial team, come with experience and literally give the best advice.  Bookkeeping, budgeting, keeping a record of invoices and overdue payments are just scratching the surface of what they do.  A structured invoicing process and dedicated accounts team are a necessity – let’s face it, cash flow is crucial to any business.

HR is equally as essential. The structured training and personal development sessions, the methodical recruitment – it doesn’t just happen.  An HR policy is a must, so that employees know what’s expected and how we like things to be done.  Even something as seemingly simple as how we answer the phone.  We have an office full of positive, respectful, hard-working and enthusiastic Peppermints who know to do things just how we like it: Peppermint-y!

HR can be an endless cycle of booking in training sessions, staff meetings, inducting new employees, recording payroll information: it co-ordinates the procedures that are key to a having a successful, well-managed business.  It ensures that a new exec isn’t thrown in at the deep end or the building doesn’t burn down because of a faulty fire alarm.  The important things.

Our senior management team deserves a mention, of course.  Made up of our MD, account directors, creative director and head of corporate development, it works closely with the office manager and plays a central part in ensuring things here at Peppermint HQ run just right.  Every four weeks, you’ll find them chatting around the boardroom table at 8am with an endless supply of tea and biscuits as they implement our HR policy or dissect the monthly financial report.  They look at time management, decide whether we need to recruit, strategise how to grow and develop as a team and check we’re on course to meet our business objectives. Without this, Peppermint wouldn’t be the place we all love.

Peppermint is a brand, and the procedures and standards we have in place all underpin that.  After all, having a certain tone and way of doing things is every bit as important as our visual branding.  How we appear as an agency to the outside world – to our clients – is down to the meticulous work going on day in, day out behind the scenes.  So, who said office management wasn’t exciting?