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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: Does anyone use a Travel Request Form for the people you support? I have used them in the past, and they make life easier. This would include "Must arrive by," "rental car/size" needs, etc.  

I could create one.But if someone has one they like, it would save me from reinventing the wheel.

Thanks!  -- Jen

Question: Someone on the Forum suggested using a controlling calendar. Where can I find information on/templates for this type of calendar?  Is there an electronic version? It sounds like it might be of great assistance to me.

I have To Do lists. I have my planner. I have my calendar at home and at work. How does everyone else try to keep track of their duties for work and home? I don't feel comfortable putting my personal items on my work calendar. Yet, I've read in several places that it's best to keep all the information in one area. How do you accomplish this?   

Thanks for your help.  -- An overwhelmed Jeannette

Lunch & learns

by on December 30, 2005 4:00am
in Admin Pro Forum

Here’s a painless way to boost in-house training, from Kim Thompson, executive assistant at Harris Williams & Co. in Richmond, Va.:

“The administrative staff get together once a month,” says Thompson, “and one of us will give a presentation on something that has been useful to us, or that we have expertise in, over a lunch that the company brings in for us.”

Example: One program dealt with jargon used around the office that newbies might not understand. Another month, the program tackled Excel shortcuts.

“We all sat around with our laptops and everybody got a chance to share their knowledge,” Thompson says.

Added benefit: “It also fosters work relationships.” It can grow competitive in the workplace, Thompson says, “but not here. We really have an atmosphere of sharing rather than competition.”

Question: "I support two groups of five (off-site) regional managers. Each of these groups has a set of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly reports that are due regularly. (There is some overlap.)

I am trying to put together some sort of report-tracking grid or calendar so I can track the dates that each manager submits each report. My problem is that the report seems to be "three-dimensional" (Report x Manager x Due Date).

Does anyone have a concise, easy-to-read and -manage spreadsheet or table that tracks this sort of thing?

Thank you!  -- Jennifer

Question: I recently applied for a new position within my company.  I have worked in my current position for a very long time, and without going into a long story, I have never had a "real" interview.  Our company does panel (3-5 people) interviews now for all positions.

Can any of you help me out with what kind of questions are being asked at interviews?  Most of the resources I find seem to be geared toward technical positions.  -- Anonymous

Question: I work in an office with 19 other people and I am in charge of turning on the dishwasher each night before leaving.  To some, this translates to me also being in charge of cleaning up after everyone.

Often, there are dirty dishes in the sink or the counter, crumbs on the table, empty food containers left out, etc. ... and it's left for me to clean up.

Several memos have been distributed to the staff to remind them to take responsibility for their own housekeeping, but it has not been successful.  Any ideas?  I'm tired of being known as the office maid. My name is not Hazel!  -- Anonymous

Peer meeting

by on December 19, 2005 4:00am
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: I would like to meet with my peers from our 11 other plants and other persons such as A/P, A/R and any other persons  who may pertain to our job from the corporate office.  We have plants from Delaware and from Illinois to Kentucky.

Apparently, admins don't travel from here (or so I've been told); it isn't part of the job description.

What can I say or do to be able to meet these people? I work with a lot of them every  day and would really like to meet them in person.  I would really like to know the "guts" of the corporation and why I do what I do and if I'm the only one being micro-managed by my super or if it's a corp. thing!

Thank you.  -- Susan

Question: "I co-chair a committee with someone who's unwilling to plan. I'll want to discuss the next meeting or upcoming priorities, and he'll say, 'I can't talk about that right now. Catch me later.' Of course, he doesn't have time 'later,' either.

"How can I force this person to focus?"  -- Jean, Michigan

Question: "Last week, one of our newer employees  -- let's call him 'Nat' -- asked me to show him how to compile a monthly report that I've been doing as part of my job for years. Nobody had mentioned this to me before 'Nat' approached me.

"I showed him how to compile the report. He thanked me and went back to his desk. But now, I'm worried that I'm going to start losing responsibilities.

"I don't know how to bring it up to my boss.

"How would you approach this situation?"  -- Rhoda, Virginia

Staff letters

by on November 18, 2005 4:30am
in Admin Pro Forum

A staff newsletter is one of the most powerful and creative tools an organization can use to communicate with its employees. Do you help produce one for your organization? If so, what makes it outstanding or unique? What tools and sources do you use to pull it together?

Tell me about it, so I can include your story in an upcoming issue of Personal Report. Either post here or e-mail me directly at (If you post on the Forum, make sure you leave your e-mail address, so I can contact you.)

Alice Bumgarner
Personal Report for the Administrative Professional

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