Question: "Sometimes I like to work on projects at home, away from the pressure of the cubicle, but I don’t want to spend money on Microsoft Office or other expensive software if I don't have to. I’ve heard that open source software is getting more and more capable of handling all the usual tasks a typical admin faces on the job. What are the best free or very inexpensive offerings out there today?” — Kathleen, University Teaching Assistant
Admin Pro Forum
Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.
Question: "Our HR department is thinking of levying a policy that would discipline an employee for ‘raising his or her voice in anger’ when involved in a verbal exchange inside the office. Some here say it’s high time that hotheads learn to debate respectfully so as not to poison the atmosphere, but this seems to reach too far to control worker behavior. I’d love to know what others think before I vote on the policy!” — Cassandra, Accounts Payable Specialist
Question: “I think I’ve got a good handle on what to include in my résumé; my concern right now is being behind the times and possibly making a subtle layout, content, or phrasing mistake that may immediately red-flag me. What are the current trends in what hiring managers do not want to see?” - Anita, Oakland, Ca.
Question: “I work for a small business and I keep thinking it might be time to start saving all our files to the cloud instead of our hard drives, paper, our small network, etc. Is everyone really starting to get on board with cloud computing, or am I being too hasty?” – Ilsa, Legal Assistant
Question: “I answer a high volume of phone calls while handling multiple other duties. Because my time greeting guests is so brief and repeatedly interrupted by calls, I sometimes have trouble remembering their names. I appreciate any advice or tricks to help me with this dilemma!” – OMM, Administrative Assistant
Question: “We use a microcassette recorder to document our meetings, but recently I’ve found the tapes are no longer offered in stores. What other technology is being used these days to record meetings and later transcribe the notes for permanent storage?” – Debbie Reidler, Executive Assistant
Question: “My boss doesn’t usually get a chance to keep up with his email while he’s traveling, so when he returns to the office he has to spend most of a day going through them. I would like to help him out by screening his email while he’s away. Is this a sensible suggestion, and does anyone have any procedures in place for it?” – Joan, Business Administrator
Question: “My boss is incredibly difficult to work with, especially after I filed a gender discrimination complaint a few years ago. He invades my personal space, tosses papers all over my desk, postures aggressively, deliberately tries to upset me, and has hurt the atmosphere of cooperation I once shared with my colleagues. I’m close enough to retirement so that I can’t realistically quit, but how do I foster a working relationship with someone who causes such stress?” – Sonia, Casper, Wy.
Question: “Like many companies, mine differentiates between sick time and personal time. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and just feel like spending the day at home or running errands, but because we’re supposed to schedule personal time in advance, I’m stuck with having to invent an illness or some emergency. How can I just take a spur-of-the-moment ‘well’ day without having to lie and feel ridiculous?” – Marla, Bel Air, Md.