Admin Pro Forum

Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.

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Question: "I have a few dilemmas when working remotely. During a telephone meeting/conference call, how do you gauge the body language of the group when you're the only one dialing into the meeting from home?  (And how do you get your 2 cents in on the speakerphone without interrupting the flow of the group meeting in-person?) Do you copy your boss on every email—even if it's not info she needs, just so she knows what you are working on and/or that you are busy? And what's the best way for a remote worker to replace the informal bonding that happens ‘around the water cooler’?"  —M.B.
Question: “I work in a small office of 10 employees (an insurance company).  I work 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; all the other employees work full time. At times I need to pass work to others to handle in the afternoon hours. When I take the issues to the supervisor, she directs me to distribute the work to other employees, which they don't appreciate. I get that. But my absence in the afternoon means that others are fielding my return customer calls. Regarding accountability and productivity, I feel that my boss and the owner want to see completion of a full-time work load in 62.5% time. Any advice on the best way to handle this? —B.B.
Question: "I was terminated just before the end of my probationary period. I have my personnel file and there are a number of untruths in it. I had one self-evaluation which was signed and submitted prior to my taking sick leave for a heart catheterization. I received an unsatisfactory evaluation after my return to work. (My position was filled by someone who had formerly been in the office but left and was unhappy in her new position.) Was this an unlawful termination? I am more interested in suing the individuals involved, unless I can possibly get my old position back by suing the organization (or another position at the same location). I appreciate any advice." — J.F.
Question: "Recently I received an email from a manager reprimanding me for some work I’d done that was 'not the best use of your time.' He pointed to other projects that would be 'a better use' of my time. What upset me was that he also cc’d my direct supervisor. It was demoralizing. What happened to approaching someone directly with criticism? Now I don’t trust this manager. Has this happened to anyone else?" —Deflated by a cc
Question: "We have a member of our senior management team who never has anything positive to say about any of our employees. How do you counter someone over you that is negative day in and day out?" —Sandra
Question:  “I’ve been at my job a little over a year and have been told performance reviews will be coming up 'sometime soon.'  I want to be prepared and would appreciate advice. Since the economy is so bad, I’m curious if any of you are receiving raises?  Who brought it up—you or your boss? How do you know how much to ask for? Should I accept the offer or try to negotiate? I’d like to stay in this position—I’m still learning things and taking on more tasks, but I’m only making ends meet.  I’m not job hunting; does that take away my leverage?"  –I’d like a raise
Question:  “In this ‘jobless economic recovery’ many cut jobs were not replaced, including those of both managers and admins. My question:  Does your company have an ‘official’ admin team?  If so, what is the scope of the team? Do managers pitch in with admin tasks and vice versa? Which ones? Are there tasks you have dropped? Thanks for sharing.”  – Carolyn
Question: "This time of year everyone is resolving to get a handle on their calendars—and make sure managers  know about competing priorities. My question: Doesn’t anybody use Lotus Notes anymore?  All the calendar planning/time management advice seems geared toward Outlook? What about Lotus Notes users? Any new tips for us?" —Diane
Question: "What do you do to prevent/avoid aggravating carpal tunnel? It seems to me that stress aggravates it more than the actual repetitive stress action. When I’m relaxed/happy it doesn’t seem to flare up or bother me at all. But it’s returned lately in my mouse hand, which is often so weak I can’t open a jar. Have you invested in any special equipment that actually works? (A wrist brace made it worse for me and bothered me as I tried to type/move the mouse.) Hot or cold gel packs? Something else?  I appreciate any suggestions that have provided relief." —Ergonomically incorrect
Question: “Has anyone noticed how often food is used as a reward at work? I’m trying to eat healthy and be more active to set a good example for my kids. But it’s hard. I’m in a sedentary job and treats often appear (vendors bring in lunches and cookies, we celebrate co-workers birthdays with cakes, the kitchen is often full of goodies especially over the holidays, the vending machine calls my name). Can anyone share tips for avoiding temptation at work or suggest ideas I might suggest for non-food rewards/recognition? Employers have a stake in keeping us healthy, too. Do any of your employers encourage healthy eating and exercise? How? I used to take a brisk walk at lunchtime, but ‘Baby, it’s cold outside!’ Thanks for sharing.” —Trying to down-size
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