Admins

For admins, the work never ends. Administrative professionals fill key office management functions every day – tasks that go unnoticed (until they’re not done).

Admins are the unsung heroes of the workplace – the glue that holds an office together. Every week should be Administrative Professionals Week!

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Say you’re an office manager, and you’ve heard from several employees about a problem with the way people use the break rooms. You need to write an e-mail that helps resolve the problem. What's the most effective way to write it? A few decades ago, a formal tone was proper for memos. Today that same tone sounds cold to most ears.

You’re as dependable as a Swiss train: You never miss deadlines, never show up late and always complete even your worst projects ahead of schedule. In return, you’d hope management would offer its appreciation once in a while. Here’s how to get the recognition you deserve without looking as if you’re seeking attention.

Frustrated with her snooping co-workers, one anonymous admin wrote on the Admin Pro Forum: “I work with a group of people who always want to know what I’m working on, what I’m doing, what I’m looking at, who I’m talking to, who that e-mail is from, etc. How do I handle inquisitive co-workers?” What other admins advise:

No pay raise is the worst part of the recession, say more than a quarter of administrative professionals, while slightly less (21%) say their workload has increased, according to a new survey from the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
Question: “I recently took a job where I supervise three administrative assistants. These employees have been working here for many years. They are all good workers, but each one has a different way of working; one goes above and beyond, one is very organized, and the other one does just what is needed. I work directly on a daily basis with the one admin who goes above and beyond. I don’t have daily contact with the other two admins because they are in different parts of the building. How do I supervise the other two and complete their performance evaluations?  I have set up meetings with them to discuss their daily routines, and I plan on setting up a monthly meeting with them. What else can I do?” — Linda
When it’s time for company leadership to tap employees to work on a new, interdepartmental project, whom do you think they’ll pick? And if the company is forced to restructure and lay off, who would least likely be sacrificed? The cross-functional whiz, or the employee who works in a silo?

Administrative professionals could be a secret weapon in helping companies bounce back from the recession. New research by OfficeTeam and the IAAP shows admins are moving beyond their traditional roles to take on responsibilities in areas such as cost control, technology and the use of social media, hiring and corporate social responsibility.

Question: “I work with a team of four admins. We work for 30 to 70 people and use a shared Outlook inbox where managers put in requests for projects, meeting set-ups, etc. Generally, we monitor the inbox hourly, but lately we’ve had so many requests, several have fallen through the cracks. What’s the best way to organize this to ensure that we respond to all requests without any of the admins duplicating efforts? ” — Anonymous
Trend alert: The Wall Street Journal recently noted, “Many companies ... are encouraging employees to sit for certification exams—and some are flat-out requiring the effort. Companies say the certifications are proof that their current or prospective employees meet an industrywide standard.” Which certification is right for you? It depends on your career goals.

This one just might take the cake. Or, at least frost you ... It’s true that employers sometimes trot out the “equal opportunity jerk” defense in sexual harassment cases, saying the harassing manager was awful to both women and men. But this court says that isn’t much of a defense at all, noting that, “It would be exceedingly perverse” if an employer could shield itself from Title VII liability by showing an alleged harasser sometimes abused men “although his preferred targets were female.”

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