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How to handle two admins?

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Question: I have found several resources when it comes to multiple bosses. In my situation, we have two Administrative Assistants for one boss.

What is the best way to handle two assistants? Should there be a division of responsibilities or should they do the same thing? If there is a division, how do you handle one Admin feeling less valued? I feel that one Admin Assistant is all that is needed to take care of most everything.  -- Kelleen


Be careful what you ask for. Jobs are difficult to find and with the feeling that one admin can do the entire job, someone may find themselves on the outside looking for new employment, it may be YOU.

Why not work together as a team. When an assignment come in, check to see who is the busiest and allow the other person to tackle that assignment. If necessary get together and decide how you would like to tackle some of the task you have to do on a daily basis. Who will take what, but be generous and divide task as equally as possible. It may mean that someone may not have something to do occassionally but overall if you work as a team and not try to out shine the other, you should be able to work out something amicably. I'm having to do that now with a temp that we really don't need but it's okay. At the end of the day you both want to go home feeling useful and that your job is not in jeapordy.

We divide responsibilities along strick lines, however we are also very well cross trained so that if one is not available or gets overwhelmed, the other can cover and pick up the slack. This way all the managers know who to go to for spicific assistance but if the particular AA isn't available, they can still get help. Communication has to be key with this setup though, or things can fall through the cracks.

It sounds like you aren't too happy about "sharing" your boss with another assistant. If it's possible, you might want to sit down with the other assistant and talk about which aspects of the job each of you like to do best. With any luck, you'll discover that the other asst. enjoys doing aspects of the job you'd just as soon not deal with. If it turns out you both have the same likes and dislikes, you will need to work out a system of sharing that puts you on equal footing, assuming of course that one of you is not more senior than the other.

The engineering firm I work for has doubled in size in the last 3 years. Thankfully the management had enough foresight to make sure we had admins in place before hiring additional engineers. At the beginning there was "down time" for the admin staff, but now we are grateful to have the trained admin staff we do. Discuss the shared responsibilities and outline who will take the lead on each but also make sure that you can step in as needed. This will make vacations and time off less stressful if you know another can help cover your responsibilities.

There can't be enough said about job sharing. Sit and discuss. I have issues at my job. There are three of us and I am the only full time one, and I get the brunt of it all. Be happy you can have an option to look into the situation deeper and make it work, before someone is on the outside looking in for no reason. Management sees the need for two, and they are paying you both. Make it work.

The best way to handle this in my opinion is to speak with both of the admins together and find out where they feel their strengths and weaknesses are. You will gain a host of information from that.

I would start by making a spreadsheet of the responsibilities and then sit with them and hammer it out. It will empower them and cut the risk of duplication, and more importantly, rivalry.

Great question! I work with another admin, we both mainly assist the president and occasionally two consultants. For starters, we have a sign in sheet where all requests are logged (if we get one verbally or by e-mail we say 'sign it in please'). Next, we document all process, this way we stay cross-trained in all procedures but typically either one should be able to figure it out.

Regarding division of responsibilities, we have a designated Primary and Secondary for everything so that someone is ultimately responsible. These can shift and has depending on the nature of what is required and the time involved. My co-worker is in charge of our billing system but I invoiced the last two months. I am in charge of Travel but if I'm off one day she gets the request. The sign in sheet keeps everything non-confrontational and the whole process promotes a teamwork atmosphere. Other duties include specially assigned projects and monthly/yearly goals we work on to improve ourselves and we report to our president each month. I can go one week from trying to help my co-worker by handling as much as possible so she can work on a billable project but the next week when her project does not take so much of her time I shift to hold her accountable in helping me out. One way I keep track of our workload is to document how many requests are made each month - that gives us a ballpark on our workload - we are in the process of making this an electronic sign in sheet so we can better track and time our tasks.

If you are concerned about your workload, try to identify things that you observe which you fill you have the skills to assist and can help your company - ask for those projects or try some online training - if I am asked how to do something and don't know the answer, I write it down and research it when I find time - I've found a lot of short cuts this way. One way I overcame feeling less valued was to genuinely complement my co-worker when she helped me out with something, after that she was much more willing to work with me and not against me. Good Luck!

Having two admins for a very busy executive can be very helpful. I've noticed that when an executive has two admins, one is responsible for say calendar management and travel, while the other is responsible for keeping up with emails and dealing with the staff. Perhaps the work can be divided in a similar way. If the admins are on the same level (one is not a jr. admin) then find out where their strengthens lie. If one is better at dealing with adhoc requests then give her the responsibiity, the same goes for dealing with the exec's staff, internal and external customers. Identify the major responsibilites and then try to divide the work into two categories. The other stuff can be shared.

After meeting with the 3 office admins in our department,our supervisor designed a "clerical" responsibilities spreadsheet, listing responsibilities of each admin, and who her backup(s) would be if she were away from the office. All 3 admins were cross trained, so that each would be able to handle the other's responsibilities. We then had quarterly meetings with the supervisor to discuss concerns/problems and revised the spreadsheet when appropriate. This eliminated any possibility of "prima donna" syndrome, and everybody felt equally valued in the office.

In my personal experience, it is always better to have two AA's than just one. It is essential you have excellent communication with each other. (And let everyone inside and outside the company know that if they need anything they can call upon either AA.) Believe me, it pays off when you want to take a vacation or if you get sick - you and your boss don't have to worry much about what's pending or what to do in case something comes up while you're away!

I am blessed to have a co-worker for the last six years, who has learned everything regarding my department, its procedures and even some of my own way of doing things. She works only part-time, assists the Executive Assistant to the President and the Chairman of Board/Owner of the company, works directly with the COB in new projects, helps me out in my department (Development & Construction) & two (2) managers and covers the switchboard and reception during lunch break. So when the receptionist, the Executive Assistant or I are out sick or on vacation we're covered! (Of course, we all communicate and consult each others vacation schedules.)

The important fact here is that there is continuum at the workplace and a better environment to work in because the bosses know they can count on everything running smoothly. When the executives don’t see any glitch, they are satisfied and relaxed; hence more benefits for the employee…

Although I agree with working together, having more than one admin can be tricky at times. I'm an Exec. Assist. and at one time had to share all responsibilities with another admin. Because her capabilities were less than mine, I found numerous errors in her work (which later I could be blamed for) and that I was being stuck with the more difficult work because of my work tactic being the stronger of the two. I suggest cross-training so there is a complete understanding of each others duties incase one is out of the office and can cover for you but...definetly distinguish separate own job duties for each.

I work with another Admin and it works out great! She is there Mon-Wed, and I am here on Wed for a partial day for crossover and working on other tasks, and then all day Thursday and Friday. We have made it known to others what we are each responsible for, and there are times when we have projects that we can work on together and get them done in half the time. We have a log book we keep so that when each other are out of the office, we know what we are working on and if there needs to be any follow-up on any projects or on our daily list.
I have worked this way for only one year but we have excellent communication and work very well together because of this. I suggest you talk with the other Admin. to find out his/her thoughts on what projects or daily tasks they would like to cover and work it out from there.

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