office of the future

How Administrative Professionals Can Prepare for the Office of the Future

by Brandi Britton, district president, OfficeTeam

This article was originally published in Executive Secretary Magazine and shared with permission by OfficeTeam and it’s author.

Today’s administrative professionals have anything but an easy and boring job. Over the years, their roles have moved well beyond circulating memos and taking dictation. They are being asked to become involved in and even take charge of areas such as social media and corporate responsibility.

In recent Office of the Future research from OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals, 50 percent of survey respondents feel they have skills that are not being tapped at work. Let’s take a look at three areas where admins say they would like to play bigger roles. You’ll see how you can get involved and grow your administrative skills.

Event planning
Seventy-eight percent of administrative professionals said their managers have asked them to help with event planning, the most of all areas.

How to get more involved:
Before your manager entrusts you to plan the senior management retreat or an all-company meeting, you need to prove you’re up to the task. If your office has a planning committee, join it. In addition, be the colleague who recognizes office birthdays and special occasions, such as when the sales team exceeds its quarterly goals or the business development group lands a big client.

But one of the best ways to get more involved with event planning is to simply ask. Chances are your boss will be pleased to get the additional administrative support. During a regular check-in meeting, bring up all the ideas you have for an upcoming celebration and suggest ways you could be of assistance — or even take the lead.

Forty-seven percent of respondents to the Office of the Future survey said they want to be involved when hiring incoming administrative professionals by posting job ads, screening resumes and interviewing candidates. What’s more, surveyed managers feel their administrative staff have much to offer in this area: 88 percent of respondents value their assistant’s opinion of job candidates — at all levels of the organizational chart.

How to get more involved:
Human resources — and hiring in particular — is an area that requires discretion and judgment. If you have a reputation as the office busybody, your boss will not entrust you with this sensitive task. The way to get more involved with HR is to demonstrate confidentiality in your current role.

You’ll also want to gain a reputation for excellent interpersonal skills. Be known as someone who projects a professional image at all times — an important trait when you’re acting as your company’s representative.

Lastly, take the initiative. For example, if one of your tasks is to collect online resumes, you could go the extra mile by calling out the applications you think are especially noteworthy. Also, in your interactions with interviewees, note your impressions and mention them to your boss afterwards.

Administrative professionals are tech savvy, and many of their bosses know it. In the Office of the Future survey, 49 percent of respondents said their manager has asked them for administrative support in leveraging technology to benefit the company and employees. Almost an equal number of those surveyed (46 percent) said they would like to use their administrative skills to help in this area.

How to get more involved:
Administrative staff likely already know the ins and outs of multiple software and platforms. If you notice that the office isn’t using all of a program’s functions, such as Excel shortcut keys, point out some tips that will help everyone be more efficient. By speaking up, you not only show the boss your savvy, but you’re also demonstrating that you care about increasing productivity and the greater good of the business.

You can further bolster your abilities by obtaining advanced credentials, such as Microsoft Office certification. Additionally, keep an eye out for mobile apps that can increase your and your manager’s efficiency.

The office of the future calls for administrative professionals who are comfortable wearing many hats. Let your manager know you’re eager to use your untapped administrative skills to benefit the office, then get involved. By doing so, you’ll become even more indispensable than you already are.

Learn more from the Office of the Future research by attending the FREE OfficeTeam webinar, “An Insider’s Guide to Success in the Changing Administrative Profession,” on April 26. Register here.

Brandi Britton, OfficeTeamBrandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.

This post is participating in our April Blog-a-Thon. Comment below and enter to win great prizes! 

Brandi will be speaking at our Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence in October 2016. Learn more about Brandi’s session and plan to join us this fall.


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36 thoughts on “How Administrative Professionals Can Prepare for the Office of the Future”

  1. I’ve transitioned from admin to more personnel/HR functions but love to keep up with the latest in the admin field. Joan’s (et al) info always transfers well for any professional office support careers.

  2. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my career to learn and grow further in these skillsets. They truly are worthwhile.

  3. As administrative professionals, it is essential to stay relevant in our role by maximizing the opportunity to learn new skills. We should tap into our creativity and show our initiative to take new responsibilities. The power is within us to prepare for the office of the future – keep growing and developing!.

  4. Great article and tips. Even though I have worked for my company for thirty-five years, I still love reading and learning through these articles. Thank you Office Dynamics.

  5. Don’t underestimate coworkers for knowledge on new technology! I’ve learned more about Excel in my new position from my coworkers than I have from taking an online course.

  6. Enjoyed this posting! I agree that there is more to this role than the prior traditional dimension. We are definitely looking at changes in the administrative profession. As a point, even budget discussions now sometimes include the administrative staff – as managers recognize that expense reporting, time tracking, etc. is all connected to a companies bottom line. And we’re the ones who see those charges more than most.

  7. I too have had numerous opportunities to lead events in the various companies I have worked for. My greatest satisfaction lately has come from my stepping forward and asking for additional responsibility. I am now our company’s IS Summer Intern Program Coordinator! It’s an amazing opportunity and I would never have been ready to do this, had it not been for the wonderful training and encouragement I have received through my association with Office Dynamics!

  8. I have definitely helped lead/coordinate events for my company. I agree the assistant should play more of a role when hiring administrative staff as well as provide our take on other candidates. I believe getting certified in MS Office may be something good to have under my belt in addition to my CAP-OM.

  9. When I moved to a different position, my former boss asked that I serve as the point on the search committee that searched for my replacement. I had served on search committees before, but this one was a very different situation. Other committees I had an idea of what was needed – I had been asked to serve due to my intereactions with previous holders of the positions being filled. But this one was very different – I KNEW the job inside and out. I did not reveal to any of the candidates that I had previously held the position though – and the first day that the new person started, when I showed up and let him know that this office that was now his used to be mine – the look on his face told me that not telling them was the right thing to do. It was a very interesting growth experience. And the relationship was already established so that when I started training him, we hit the ground running. He still does a great job!

  10. I’d like to add that I believe there is tremendous opportunity for Administrative Professionals to learn and leverage Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma and other improvement methodologies commonly employed by organizations today.

    Though rarely asked for their opinions on how business can be done better, Administrative Professionals are intimately involved in the processes that make the business run, and can often spot opportunities overlooked by others, or spot emerging issue and prevent it from becoming a real problem, simply because they handle such a spectrum of business intelligence every day.

    Just imagine if this plugged-in group were deliberately called on for their thoughts on and support in designing and running a better business?

    1. Tara, that is excellent advice. It’s very important for an assistant to expand her knowledge beyond her own job or profession. I encourage assistants to read USA Today, News Week, Success Magazine. The more you learn, the less intimidated you feel. The methodologies you mentioned are commonly used by large organizations. It would behoove an assistant to have a basic understanding of them.

  11. The complex event planning can get crazy with all the little details and how they play on each other. One little slip up can have drastic ramifications if not caught. When I was doing this extensively, I find keeping a checklist created in Word of all the details and steps along the way keeps it altogether.

  12. The Sr. Executive that I work with sees communication as an important part of the the function within our office. He indicated in my past performance review that I regularly respond to emails on his behalf so that partners do not have to wain on his reply. He also indicated that I have established good relationships with the administrative assistants which is key externally and internally which allows for improved opend dialogue between our office and his business partners. He believes that is critical in broadening our relationship with his partners. Therefore, being communication savvy is also a key critical skill for administrative professionals.

    1. Hi Brenda! Excellent recommendation. I always say that communication is the umbrella under which everything else falls. All day long we communicate, even if we sit silently, we can be giving someone a message. Communication is the key to an excellent relationship with your executive, reduces mistakes and rework, and helps meet expectations. This is a critical area for all of us to improve on a regular basis.

  13. This was such an informative article. I have worked as an assistant for the last four years, but I have just moved to our National Office as a true Administrative Assistant for our Finance and Human Resources departments. I am working on Administrative certification and learning as much as I can to be the absolute best I can be, and these article are really helping me get there. Thank you!

  14. Thank you so much for this information. So much information to take in and I appreciate all of it!! Thank you so much!!

  15. My Executive has me do all the event planning for the Leadership Team as well as several of the committees that she is chair of. Its one of the things I love to do. Interviews are usually done at the program level and with HR so I haven’t sat in on any recently although our HR director knows I’m available to do so. Technology- I’m learning new things everyday myself and I do share really ‘cool’ things with other administrative staff in the agency.

  16. This article is extremely helpful; especially emphazing Microsoft Office Certification. Thank you for including a link to an article on this subject. It will help aid me in the pursuit of this goal.

  17. Always good to have the most resent research to show what we need to be successful and continue growing. I’ve shared this with my Linkedin group and Twitter.

  18. Jean Weaver, CAP-OM

    Office Team is a great supporter of the Admin profession and they’ve shared many wonderful resources.

  19. Appreciate the comments about Technology… There seem to be varying levels of expertise with little time to meet and cross train within the office. The individual admin needs to search out alternative sources of assistance and by doing so, show willingness to invest personal time to advancing skills.

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