Admin Pro Forum — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 87
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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: My company has never had an official, organized system for presenting any type of employee recognition. But now, we are recognizing two employees at the same time for their tenure.

My question is: How do I actually (physically) present a trophy and certificate to employees who have reached milestones with our company? Do I make a speech for each one separately? Do I hand each person their trophy? Do I open each presentation package and hand them their certificate of recognition, then their gift certificate? I’m at a loss.

Thank you in advance!  -- Jean in Kansas

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

Question: I am attempting to get information as to how other organizations are maintaining personnel files, medical files, workman's comp files, training files, etc.  All recommendations and current procedures your company follows would be greatly appreciated.  -- Jennifer

Question: I know someone posted earlier about having a boss with ADD/ADHD. What about when the person diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (combined inattentive/hyperactive type) is the executive assistant herself?

I would be interested in knowing what employer-provided (under the ADA) accommodations have helped other admins with this disorder to do their jobs better/more effectively.

Our responsibilities as admins are often focused on being able to multi-task, keep organized, prioritize, remain on time with projects, remember names/phone numbers, and keep focused ... all of which have to happen simultaneously, sometimes. All of these are significant challenges for someone with the disorder and who has issues with short-term memory, keeping track of time, finding/organizing files and remembering information after being distracted by someone/something else, etc.  -- Anonymous

Question: I wish to start a monthly meeting to include as many of the Administrative Assistants throughout the organization as possible. Does anyone have any hints on if monthly meetings are a good idea, if one hour is enough time, etc.?

I envision these meetings not only building relationships among all the assistants, but also giving all assistants an idea of what each area is currently working on and, if they're working on similar projects, allowing them to share feedback. Also, they can update one another on any major process changes in their departments. (We have a problem with one unit deciding to disband some information that is needed for reports, not aware that other departments are counting on it all being located in one place.)  -- Wisconsin

Question: I am a notary public and I was asked by my new boss to sign some legal documents for the sale of his home. I accidentally entered the wrong expiration date for my commission and need to know if I can just change the year, which is what I messed up, and initial it. Will those documents still be legal?

Has anyone else done this, or am I just a scatterbrain? I just received my commission a couple of months ago so I am new to this. Help!  -- Anonymous

Question: My husband and I would like to move back to Dallas but want to have employment before I get there. I have sent resumes out, but it does not seem to be productive. Does anyone have any advice?  -- Moving

Question: Just wanted to check to see how other companies are defining their administrative assistants' titles.

For instance, in my company, if your boss’s title is supervisor, you’re a Sr. Clerical Associate; if you work for a manager, you’re an Administrative Assistant I; if you work for a director, you’re an Administrative Assistant II; if you work for an executive (VP/GM), you're an Executive Assistant; if you work for an SVP/brand president, you’re an Executive Assistant II; if you work for an EVP/region president, you're an Executive Assistant III.

I'm currently an Executive Assistant to the VP at a company with more than 40,000 employees.

I have a job interview with a national company and the position reports to a director, but the title is Executive Administrative Assistant.

What are other companies doing? How is your job title determined?  -- Executive Assistant to VP

Question: I am in a position where my workload is very low. Sometimes, I have nothing to do, except maybe a little photocopying or handling the mail.

Sometimes, I have to create work, if I can. But there is only so much work a person can create.

The classes that I took in the past (Excel, PowerPoint) go unused because I’m never asked to work in Excel or PowerPoint.

Because I have been in this department so long, I’m afraid to move on because my skills have gone down and I’m a bit afraid that I may not be able to handle the next job. Plus, some bosses don’t treat assistants well. I would hate to lose my job altogether.

I need some encouragement or advice as to what I should do while I’m here in this position. I’m at a loss. Thank you.  -- Anonymous

Question: I have been struggling with this issue for ... well, years.

I am an administrative secretary to the director of my department. A few months after I was hired (five years ago), they opened up a position for a receptionist. We hired a woman who seemed bubbly and friendly: no problem with answering the phones and handling the mail. After hiring her, the director decided that I would be her supervisor (without any change in title or increase in pay).

Within the next year, she started having crying jags because her grandmother was sick. By the second year into her service, she got much worse. She was acting very oddly -- manic -- and then, she started becoming adversarial and started making claims that people were following her ... including helicopters. She was having hallucinations.

Within a month, she seemed to have a complete breakdown and collapsed on the floor, writhing and crying and begging for help.

One of the assistant directors helped get her to a psychiatric hospital. She was hospitalized and out on leave for about four or five months. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had been prescribed medication previous to her breakdown, but we suspect that she stopped taking her medication.

She came back to work part time and gradually increased her schedule back to full time. And we accommodated her, allowing her to take the time off for all of her doctor appointments.

I feel for her, tremendously. I have friends who have had serious mental health problems. I understand how debilitating it can be and how important it is for her to have stability and a steady paycheck. I have wanted to help her.

Within the year after she came back from her leave, she seemed to be doing better. But then, slowly, she started sliding back to that unstable place. She comes to work dressed totally inappropriately: in flip-flops, sweat pants and t-shirts, many times. She walks around barefoot more and more frequently. He mannerisms and voice become very exaggerated and, well, odd.

She is constantly up and down from her desk, going into the kitchen, asking to use the bathroom eight to 15 times a day. (She does get an hour for lunch and two 15-minute breaks, as well). She has been in the negative for her sick time for several months now. She doesn't have any vacation or sick time left because of all the time that she has taken off (not doctor-related; I let her make up that time). A number of times, she come into work hours late, without getting an OK beforehand and with no plausible explanation.

I have spoken to her several times. I have written her up and had her sign the letter. I have kept records of all the problem behavior. I have contacted our employee assistance program on several occasions. She went to see them (at my request) on numerous occasions. I have talked to my boss; she basically doesn't want to have anything to do with the situation. I have researched the issues of bipolar disorders and the workplace on the internet, but it is mostly from the perspective of the person afflicted with the illness.

I am trying very hard to work with this situation. I can see, though, that it is unlikely to get any better. And it is really frustrating me and wearing me down.

To top it off, my boss has me cover for this receptionist whenever she is away from her desk or out for the day. So, not only do I have to deal with this very frustrating and delicate situation, but I am the one who has to compensate for her shortcomings by covering for her all of the time.

Frankly, I find all of this very unfair.

Even if I asked my boss to take over supervising this employee, it would not help me. My boss has a reputation for NOT dealing with anything. She is the proverbial head in the sand. If I was no longer this employee's supervisor, I am guessing it would just get worse and then I wouldn't be able to do anything to improve the situation.

It seems as though my only option is to continue to deal with this on a day-to-day basis or look for a new job.

I know this is a mouthful, but perhaps someone has experienced something similar.

Keep in mind, though, that this is not just another difficult employee who can be disciplined and eventually fired if they don't comply. It is not that simple. She has a mental illness and she is a union employee on top of that. It isn't that I want to fire her, but it has been literally years that this is going on now. I can't take it much more.

Any suggestions?  -- Susan

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