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How much is too much to ask of admin?

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Are there some workplace tasks that need to be done but are just too much to ask of an admin?

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum:

“I don’t mind doing a lot of the repetitive and humdrum things that need to be done as an admin, but once in a while things come along —like cleaning the windows of my boss’s office or running out to buy ice cream for a meeting that went on longer than it should have—that make me feel like they’re really just personal favors I’m obligated to do. Does anyone else get frustrated with the truly petty tasks?”

— Barb, customer service and fulfillment

We contacted some business professionals to get their thoughts on the matter.

“I truly believe there is nothing that falls ‘beneath’ anyone in an orga­­nization,” says Lizzie Mal­do­­­nado, a digital strategist at The Starr Con­­spiracy. “It can be more time-efficient, at times, for someone to handle scheduling conflicts or calendar updates, but I love working for an organization where everyone handles their business, down to the nitty-gritty of administrative tasks across the board.”

A good company is one where everyone takes on the tasks that need to be done and “only the odd-man-out feels comfortable saying, ‘That’s not my job’ as a response to any request,” she explains. “In my experience, your teams are happier because everyone knows they just need to do what they need to do to get the job done.”

“It is helpful for employees to be flexible about taking on tasks outside of their basic job description,” says Jennifer Gehrt, a founding partner at Communiqué PR. “How­­ever, as an employer and small business owner, I would be reticent to ask employees to take on some tasks. For instance, I would not want someone to try to move really heavy boxes of supplies or clean up something gross. Those things are not so much as beneath them, but put them at risk of hurting their back or exposure to germs/chemicals. I think as a practical matter someone else should do those things; however, if someone sees something that needs to be done and he/she can safely and quickly do it, I love it if they will help.”

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