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: Previously, someone asked about a VA. This sounds like a very interesting avenue for me to take. Is this really working for some of you out there? How did you get your clients? How do you get your name out there for companies to hire you on?

Thanks! -- Tami

Question: I just was given the job of scheduling parent/teacher conferences and I am looking at streamlining the process for next year. Currently, the job is done manually and is very cumbersome. It also has the potential for errors, as the same information is entered into several different documents.

I've looked on the Internet and found a number of software companies that offer parent/teacher conference software. I've noticed that some software allows the parents to schedule their own meetings on the Internet. At this time, this portion of software would not be an option for us to use.

My question is: Does anyone have any suggestions/experience with this type of software?

Thank you in advance for any feedback.  -- Cindy, British Columbia

Question: My problem is how do you ask for a raise? I started seven months ago and was told at the time I was hired that I would be eligible for a raise in six months. Well, it has been six months and I have not heard anything yet from the management.

I am pretty confident they are impressed with my work ethic and the amount I can produce. Do you think it is too soon to ask?  -- SRW
Question: We have hourly employees who submit a request for days off and, when the days are not approved, they call in sick. Does anyone have a policy in place that would help with this problem?  -- Wendy

Question: I would like to know what options others use for travel arrangements. I'm new to my position as Administrative Assistant and I want to make sure that I'm getting the best rate along with all of the qualifications that my boss asks. Does anyone have any suggestions? -- Gina

Question: I work in at a college and have a situation: One of my co-workers is very sensitive to smells (perfumes, colognes, etc.) and is often relocated to other workspaces to avoid headaches or becoming nauseous.

Her supervisor would like to put some type of sign around the area, notifying people that the area is fragrance-free. This will be posted inside the office (for other co-workers who wear perfumes to back off a little), as well as outside the office (for students/visitors who visit at the window).

What’s a nice way of wording a simple sign, without offending anyone?

Thanks!  -- Tami

Question: We have a couple of new managers who have their laundry & dry cleaning delivered to the office. While their assistants (who are much younger than I) don't seem to mind schlepping laundry around for these gentlemen, to me, it reeks of "back to the '50s."   

I just have a real problem with personal deliveries of ANY kind, particularly since our company will not let employees receive or send PERSONAL deliveries from UPS, FedEx, etc., on premises. 

I'm curious to know if other companies have policies that cover laundry, and any suggestions for how to handle this matter in a tactful way.  -- Anonymous

Question: I work in an office where I am the senior administrative assistant to the senior vice president of our company. Five other administrative assistants in the office report to various directors and managers.

The senior vice president would like for me to mentor the five other administrative assistants. The other directors and managers see mentoring as my overseeing their work, which ultimately means that I am responsible for their work.

How do other offices handle this type of reporting structure? Does a 50/50 supervisory role over these admins really work? Or should the directors and managers take over seeing there admins and I am really only there to guide in general administrative questions?

I also see value in having the six of us meet on a monthly basis to go over what is happening in the office and what role they play (such as general administrative tasks). Will that just confuse them on whom they report to?  -- Jackie Smith

Question: In my company of approximately 125 people, all non-exempt personnel are required to punch a time clock. That was instituted by the boss's wife, who is the director of operations.

There are two executive assistants in the company. One supports the director of operations, and the other (me) supports the president. I did not like punching a time clock after almost 20 years as an executive assistant, but I could not get my company to change my classification. The assistant to the director of operations, however, is not required to punch in.

When I began to make waves about our both having the same title and both being non-exempt, the director of operations changed her assistant's title and made her exempt. That's because her assistant refused to punch in and said she would quit if she had to.

My boss is the president and founder, but he doesn't want to be involved in any of these issues, and I can't count on him for any help. Our HR is overseen by the director of operations, so there is no help for me there, either.

The company pays well and has fabulous benefits, bonus and a paid holiday shutdown. Besides that, I like my boss, and my job is very interesting. But I know I'm much more qualified and experienced than the other assistant, and I'm having a hard time dealing with her being salaried and my being non-exempt and punching a time clock.

I wonder if anyone might have any thoughts on this, and thanks.  -- Anonymous

Question: I am the executive assistant of a medium-size, 24-hour-operation, family-run healthcare company; this is my eighth year of working here.

Recently, the HR manager and I decided to change the format and distribution process of our corporate newsletter from once a week to once a month and from offline (print copies) to online (as all of our employees now have e-mail accounts). We've found that this saves paper, time and money for the company and that many members of management prefer to receive it this way.

We've also upgraded the quality, going from a two-page black & white publication with ho-hum, everyday news to a snazzy-color Microsoft Publisher newsletter complete with insightful articles about employees (including a monthly spotlight feature), corporate teamwork (quoted articles from sites like monster.com), and, of course the regular content (anniversaries, employees of the month, notes from the different divisions announcing meetings, kudos for a job well done, etc.).

We've also posted the newsletter on our Web site and e-mail out a link to all employees so they can read it whenever they want or download copies. Employees get every-day access to their e-mail accounts both at work and via Web mail when home.

The problem is, despite all our efforts, we've gotten the impression that no one is reading it. It's really important that people DO read it because it contains important information about mandatory procedure changes, meetings and the like.

Management wants the newsletter to keep being published, and we enjoy putting it together. We've tried putting in a monthly contest to get people to read the newsletter all the way through, but the rate of response is tremendously low, and we're finding that many people simply aren't checking their e-mail.

Short of going back to print copies (which we've left out for people to read ... which just get left out), and stuffing 250 copies of the newsletter into 250 paychecks once a month, what other ideas have other admins come up with to interest people in reading your corporate newsletter?

Feedback is much appreciated!  -- Frustrated in Upstate N.Y.

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