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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: “How can I get my boss to stop committing to things (such as speaking engagements) that he can’t cover? I’ve tried to convince him to commit someone from the organization, not himself specifically, but to no avail.

“Alternatively, how do I gracefully decline something he has committed to when he can’t make it at the last minute? We try to offer someone as a replacement, but that doesn’t always work.”  -- Anonymous

Question: “I would like to implement a suggestion-box system in our department. So far, I’ve come up with these steps:

1. Create a form that employees can slip into a manager’s mailbox to make suggestions and comments.

2. The form will include spaces for the employee’s name, suggestion, whether the idea will save the company money and the employee’s contact information.

3. If the employee wishes to be anonymous, management will not need to respond.

“Do you have any other ideas for this system?”  -- Cynthia Sheeks, Akron, Ohio

Question: “A supervisor in my office feels quite comfortable and friendly with me and frequently stops by to chat, share problems and sometimes discuss work-related issues. She talks slowly and with a bit of a stutter.

“She has noticed I’m very busy, so I’ve been able to cut back on her visits unrelated to work, but when she comes by to discuss work it’s never planned ahead and she takes a long time to come to the point, repeats herself or talks in circles. I get impatient and struggle not to appear rude. How can I shorten our visits and deal with her in a polite and tactful manner?”  -- Amy, New Hampshire

Question: “We have several rental properties, and I track payments, late charges, customer information, etc., on an Excel spreadsheet. Included on the spreadsheet is the date rental payments are received. I would like to create a formula that would add a late fee for any payments that are received after the 10th day of the month due.

“The idea is to keep a running ‘balance due’ for each customer that would automatically calculate any late charges based on the date payment is received. Ultimately, the ‘balance due’ will be linked to each customer’s monthly invoice. I would appreciate any ideas for how to do this.”  -- Anonymous

Question: “I need help writing an Excel formula that counts information from two columns. I want the result to be the total number of items that meet two conditions.

Example: Imagine a spreadsheet where Column A records location and Column B records a number. I want to calculate how many entries for Location Such-and-Such also have a number in Column B that is less than 15 [=COUNTIF(B1:B25,”<15”]. How would I write that formula?”  -- Valerie

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