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 know only the very basics of Excel—data entry, sorting and the most basic formulas, so it's not much more to me than a calculator. If I want to take a tiny step forward in it and learn something snazzy but actually useful, what would be a good (and simple) thing to attack?" - Beth, Receptionist

Question: “As of January 13, I’m going to be supervising two other admins for the first time. I’ve never worked with them directly, and I want to come in that Monday and accomplish two things: First, I want to tell them I’d like to be a fun boss, but I also need to let them know that I have some very specific ideas about how we should approach the things we need to get done. Should I sit down with them as a group and lay it all out, approach them one by one, or wait and see how they react to me in the first week—or even the first month?” – Rich, Records Administrator

Question: “I am now so completely dependent on my Outlook reminders and calendar alerts that it’s almost a little scary, but with so much going on and so many people to support I really need these crutches! Has anyone but me reached the tipping point where you’re pretty much at the mercy of the computer to remind you of exactly what needs to be done, and when?” – C.J., Administrative Specialist

Question: “I think it’s completely essential for every company to have a ‘suggestion box,’ by which I mean any kind of system that delivers anonymous comments to top managers. So I’m going to propose we have one where I work, which of course means I’ll have to create the system myself! I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into the best way to go about it: paper or electronic? Old-fashioned box or some kind of website? And should the suggestions be made public or kept private?”  – Dot, Records Archivist

Question: “Ugh! It looks like if I’m ever going to get more pay, I need to be the one to bring up the issue. I think what I need when I sit down with my manager to start the dialogue is one effective, attention-getting line that will start things on the right foot. What should it be?”  – Faye, Legal Assistant

Question: “People make little jokes about how much paper I keep on my desk, my stuffed file cabinets and the number of old emails I store in Outlook, going back years sometimes, and it was even brought up in my performance evaluation. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved because I still had an ‘ancient’ email for reference or a tiny scrap of paper with a bit of info on it that everyone else had forgotten. We’ve all been trained to get rid of this stuff and keep things tidy for the sake of… well, what?”  – Rod, State Comptroller’s Office

Question: “When the holidays kick in, everyone in my office slowly winds down and puts in less and less general effort. There’s so much vacation planning going on, excitement over the time off, discussions of our plans, ‘innocent’ online shopping, short awkward weeks… we all get into a mode of thinking that we’ll really get back into the swing in the new year, and so it feels like we’re in slow motion from Thanksgiving onward. I think it’s totally natural to run out of energy at the end of the year, but I have a co-worker who thinks it’s sort of irresponsible. Does anyone else see this phenomenon?” – Blair, Receptionist

Question: "Because it officially never closes, the company I work for makes me take a vacation day if I can't come in due to bad weather. While everyone above the admin level can just telecommute in comfort on those days, admins of course do a lot of work with physical materials, so it's either head out into the snow or lose that time. Does this seem unfair to anyone but me?" - Henry, Claims Assistant

Question: “I work at a very small customized apparel company. My manager recently asked us to put bumper stickers with our logo on our cars, say something good about us on our Facebook pages, and have a friend or someone in our families give a product of ours a positive review online. I don’t think I’ll be doing any of this, since I think the request crosses a line between work and personal life. The problem is, it might just be me who doesn’t follow the program. I need a way to defend my decision without seeming too harsh. Does anyone have an idea about what I should say?”  – Sydney, Customer Service and Fulfillment Specialist

Question: “I find myself pretty addicted to my smartphone, but not in a good way. I’m always checking my work emails because I want to occupy myself in line, at a restaurant, riding in the back of a car, etc., and I want to be as 'dialed in' as the rest of the staff. I realized the other day that nothing on my phone can help me be more productive; all it does is make me feel like I’m at work. Has anyone found the key to breaking the addiction, or at least making this thing complete an admin task faster so I can actually save time with it?” – Roland, A/P Specialist

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