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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A frustrated admin recently vented on our online forum: “I’m at my wit’s end!" None of the managers was “participating” in her attempts to keep the office organized. Our advice: Start over by telling managers how a tracking system ben­efits them.

Studies show that workplace stress has increased over the past several years and that productivity can drop if employers don’t address the problem. Here are just some of the issues likely stressing your staff—along with suggestions on how HR can help.

Question: “I am administrative assistant in a municipality’s executive office. For two years, I also handled the secretarial and receptionist duties. So I was thrilled when we recently hired an office manager (a retiree), a secretary (a young, spunky lady) and a receptionist. However, the way they work drives me nuts. The secretary does not take criticism well; the office manager doesn’t manage and is not tech savvy; and the receptionist asks dumb questions (“Can we give out our boss’ SSN?). I'm tired of babysitting them and our boss won’t help. I have my own job to do; how do I get them to do theirs?” —Dusty
Whether your office has sophisticated scheduling software, day planners for everyone or no formal calendar management at all, a few visual reminders can keep everyone running on time...
The latest green trend isn’t about being politically correct. It’s about saving money and gaining efficiencies. The key word has shifted from “eco” to “sustainable.” Administrative professionals can be linchpins for a company that wants to be more efficient and sustainable.
A reader writes: “We have tasks assigned to us via e-mail, the phone, in-person, in passing, etc. I carry my notebook and keep it on my desk to jot down assignments and then transfer some tasks to Outlook, but I’m wondering if there is a better, more efficient way to keep track of everything. What are your secrets to staying organized and on top of all your assignments?”
“My boss is inundated with business cards,” writes an admin reader. “Some are in Rolodexes, others are loose. But he doesn’t want to weed through and toss old ones. Any ideas on how to organize them?”

What if your organization doesn’t have an online strategy to speak of—a skimpy web site, no social-media strategy, no e-mail list, no e-newsletter. Is it too late to catch up? And how can tech-savvy administrative professionals help push an organization toward online literacy? Best-selling author and marketing expert Seth Godin recommends venturing forward with these strategies:

Occasionally, your boss may ask you to do something that is against your better judgment. Admins must know how and when to push back on a boss. Scott Eblin, author of “The Next Level” blog, offers these suggestions:

Layoffs, shortened workweeks, stressed-out workplaces … it all can lead to another byproduct of the recession: increasing workloads and work slippage. How are administrative professionals ensuring that, with stakes soaring higher than ever, no work falls through the cracks?

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