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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: I have been tasked with putting together a service awards program for our company. Since the company is not yet 15 years old, we have taken on only 5- and 10-year awards.

But the company has bought some facilities that are much older and have some employees with 30 years of service. Should we honor those employees with an award? If so, how? 

Also: What is the best way to track all of these employees' anniversaries? And what type of gifts are given for 15, 20, 25 and more years of service? We have been giving a gold watch at 5 years and a mantle clock at 10.

Any advice would be welcome. Thank you.  -- CIB

Question: I have been an admin. for about 2 years -- it is my first job out of college -- and I recently had my annual review.  Everything went fine, but one point that I was told I need to work on was bringing information/gossip to my superiors.

I work for a small company and it is typical for me to hear things that are going on. I always felt that unless someone specifically asked me to talk to a superior for them, I should let them address the issues themselves and follow the appropriate chain of command. Apparently, my bosses feel differently. I was told to decide whether the gossip that I hear could be “detrimental or damaging to the company” and then let them know what I had heard and they would never say who they heard it from.

The problem is that I do work in a small company and it wouldn’t take long for people to figure out where the information was coming from. Also, I understand that if there were to be a strike or something catastrophic of that nature, of course I would bring it to their attention. My problem is the “gray” (or “lighter”) matters: hearing people blowing off steam, employees talking to old bosses (who are also competitors), etc.

What are the guidelines for reporting gossip to my bosses?  -- Trying to be Anonymous!

Question: Whenever I talk to my supervisor, she crosses her arms and moves here eyes around the room. I've always heard that this kind of body language indicates mistrust. Any suggestions about what I can do if that's true?  -- Worried

Question: "Help! I use Word and Excel to prepare documents for the same clients annually.  For 2006, I will use the 2005 Word file and save it (using Save As) into a new 2006 file.

"I have many Excel tables linked to my Word documents, so I usually find the first Excel table in the document, double-click on it to open the Excel document, and save the Excel document into the new 2006 file (using Save As). Then, I update that first table, which is now in the 2006 file.

"My problem is that there are many more Excel tables in my document and all the other tables are still linked to the 2005 Excel document. I usually just delete each table (linked to the 2005 file) as I come to it and re-copy & paste (with link) the same table, from the 2006 file.  I know you can break the links or change the source of the links, but I have been able to break only one table's link at a time, which takes as long as cutting, recopying & repasting.

"Is there any way of re-linking the entire Excel document to the new 2006 file? The file is exactly the same as the previous year, except that it now says '2006' instead of '2005,' so each worksheet is the same and has the same name.  Can anyone out there help?"  -- Diana

Question: "Our inner-office setup consists of modular, portable walls that are 6 feet tall, which does little to deflect sound. A co-worker sitting behind me and two desks away is loud and talks constantly. To top that off, she laughs after making 95 percent of her statements.

"It's gratifying to know that she enjoys her co-workers and job, but everything isn't funny!

"I've overheard her refer to the fact that she talks a lot, so she knows it. My supervisor, who is an officer of the company, often must close his door to limit the disruption caused by this individual.

"I'm not the only one complaining about her boisterousness, yet it appears that no one wants to deal with addressing this issue with her. I have no authority over her, and her immediate supervisor is located in a private outer office with a door, so I doubt that he's aware of the disturbance she causes. When other issues have arisen in the past, he hasn't taken any action, so the pattern is set, and we doubt he would deal with this issue, either.

"It's difficult to concentrate and, although I try to tune her out, I'm hardly ever successful.  Some co-workers have taken to wearing a Walkman with ear pieces to drown her out.

"Someone suggested that she might have a hearing problem, which I strongly doubt since she never asks anyone to repeat themselves. The other suggestion was that she could have low self-esteem and she counteracts that by laughing.

"Whatever the cause, I could really use some ideas as to how to address this constant, nagging problem.  Thank you for your time and consideration."  -- Anonymous

Question: What criteria (or what procedures) do other companies use to select their 'Employee of the Month' or other similar awards?"  -- Ron

Question: "I need some good employee-appreciation ideas. My company has about 500 employees who work in different departments, and we don't even recognize birthdays! There's so much to be done, but I wanted to get some other points of view first."  -- Looking for ideas in Mississippi

Question: I work in an office with three other administrative people. One of the other admins and I have a good work ethic: We need to keep busy (and we are very busy), and have significant responsibility. The other two people do not have enough to do. Therefore, they're on the Internet, they make personal phone calls, and they visit a lot.

One of these two people is also not a team player. She will not sort/deliver mail if someone is absent, won't do a room set-up and won't offer help to others.

The other productive person and I talked to our boss two weeks ago. She admitted that she's aware of all that is going on and knows that the other two admin people do not have enough to do. I believe she is trying to find more work for them, but I queston whether it will really happen.

We don’t know where to go from here. We have suggested having phone reports run on these two people but our boss does not seem to want to do this.

The real problem is that, when I see them talking or on the Internet, I get very angry. I need some help in handling this problem, because even though I love my job, I don’t even want to come in to work anymore.  -- Totally frustrated

Admin pools

by on February 10, 2006 2:30am
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: Does anyone have information on "admin pools" (when a group of administrative assistants work together as a team and report to a senior assistant)? If you are a member of an admin pool or the supervisor of one, I would love to hear your feedback on what you feel are the pros and cons of this type of arrangement. How do you like it in comparison to the traditional arrangement of working solo, reporting to management?  -- Amy, Massachusetts

Question: I have a Junior AA working with me who is pretty young and this is her first "real" job. She is a good worker when she's here. My problem is that she sits in the reception area and walks in a half-hour late at least two or three times a week, or dresses inappropriate for a business office.

While I understand that she's young and a good worker, I don't want to keep reminding her that working hours are from 8:30 to 5:30 and not from 9:00 to 5:30. I have tried talking to her about dressing and being late, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. I have tried to give her verbal warnings. I'm not sure what to do next.  -- Needing Help in New York

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