In the swiftly evolving digital era, technology has not just advanced; it has skyrocketed, continuously reshaping our lives with every passing year. At the heart of this technological revolution is Artificial Intelligence (AI)—a force so impactful that it has woven itself into the fabric of our daily existence. Tools like ChatGPT and Bard have ushered AI into the mainstream, making it an indispensable part of our world. The use of AI in the business world, particularly in the administrative profession, is no exception.
We can already see AI in use in our work, even outside of LLMs (large language models) like ChatGPT and Bard. Scheduling and email management, the automation of routine tasks, and data management & analytics are all a few areas where we have seen AI become useful. With the rise of these tools, it is easy to feel alarmed. You may be questioning if AI will replace you.
While this fear is common, and we do want to encourage you to be aware of what is taking place, we at Office Dynamics are here to tell you that with the right skill set and knowledge, AI can be used to your advantage and not your detriment. We will unpack a few ways that we believe are important for administrative professionals to focus on to prepare for what’s ahead in our profession.
The Current Tech Landscape
Let’s start by diving into how AI is specifically changing and reshaping the business world as it pertains to administrative professionals. We mentioned the areas of email management, automation of tasks, and data management, so let’s take a closer look at those three.
- Email Management and Scheduling: A task common to executive assistants, AI tools currently in use have the capability to enhance productivity in scheduling meetings and managing emails. Cabinet is a favorite among the EA community for using automation to enhance calendar management, and Boomerang is a fantastic tool to increase your email efforts in Gmail.
- Automation of Routine Tasks: Tasks such as taking meeting minutes and expense reporting are common in administrative roles. Otter.ai is one such tool that works to take meeting notes in a fast, efficient, and organized manner. Expensify is a tool that works to simplify expense management and reporting.
- Data Management and Analytics: Most major companies use some form of a CRM (customer relationship management) tool and managing, or at least using, a CRM is a growing task in the administrative role. Salesforce is a popular tool in this area, and the AI layer built into the platform, called Einstein, uncovers trends in the data. Tableau is an analytics tool powered by AI to help its users understand data and make better connections.
Outside of the above tools, LLM models like ChatGPT and Bard are changing the way that we write, research, and process info. They are becoming more and more popular, and businesses are adapting to their use. To take a more in-depth look at how AI can increase productivity and efficiency for an administrative professional, visit our dedicated blog here.
The Importance of Adapting
It’s easy and common to feel disheartened in the face of new tech. However, there is more room to be concerned that you will not know how to use AI in your career with its growing popularity. Further, there are unique human attributes you have to offer that cannot be replaced by AI, especially in our profession.
What we are advocating for is two things in order to maintain your job security for the future: an understanding of how to use tech and AI tools to benefit your career and a proficiency in the soft skills (or as we call them, power skills) that AI cannot replace.
Let’s take a look back at the above tools mentioned and how you can use them to your advantage. It is unlikely that a company will pay for all of these AI tools to be used by their administrative team. However, you can take a strategic approach and map out your own day-to-day and identify ways to increase efficiency. Figure out which tasks take the most of your time away from strategic efforts. Put together a plan, present it to your leaders, and explain how a certain tool will benefit your work (not replace it). This will require research and careful thought on your part.
By thinking strategically, you can begin to discover ways that AI can be your tool and not a replacement. Further, you will begin to understand how to educate your executive team on how you work as a strategic partner, using the appropriate tools and resources for your unique responsibilities. With certain tools in your arsenal, you will not only be able to become effective in your role, but you will also be able to focus on more creative pursuits that require soft/power skills and your enhancement of those.
Practical Tips to Implement Tech & AI for Administrative Professionals
Perhaps this sounds good so far, but maybe you feel overwhelmed on where to start, or perhaps you just don’t know exactly where to focus to make sure you are preparing for the future. Here are a few practices that we recommend you regularly participate in to ensure you strengthen your efforts and help guide you to become a skilled administrative professional who’s AI savvy:
- Training and Courses: We can’t emphasize this one enough. Regularly investing in courses, such as Digital Efficiency for Administrative Excellence, will increase your own knowledge and give you a competitive advantage. It’s important to take courses regularly as new developments and trends unfold. Talk to your company and see if they will invest in your ongoing training. If you need help pitching that to your executive team, we have a guide available for you here.
- Hands-on Practice: If you are limited in your access to AI tools at your current company, start trying out tools like ChatGPT for everyday tasks at home. ChatGPT 3.5 and Bard are both free and can give you a good introduction to how to use the tool. Chances are, a future company or your current one will favor assistants who are proficient here. If you are unsure of where to start, ask the AI tool itself with this prompt: “Tell me some ways I can use you for everyday tasks to become more proficient in ChatGPT/Bard.”
- Develop Your Power Skills: This is a trend we believe will have a significant impact on your future career, and we want to stress it. Investing in your ‘power skills’ (soft skills) is crucial in the age of AI. Interpersonal skills, creative thinking, and communication skills are essential to employees. This is why we have created a dedicated course to it in our Significant Power Skills Series.
- Webinars and Free Resources: This will enable you to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your profession. Free webinars from Office Dynamics are a great place to start. There are also resources available from leaders in the tech and AI field, including The AI Exchange.
The Future Vision: The Tech-Savvy Administrative Professional
It’s understandable that the onslaught of AI in our culture that we have seen in recent years can be overwhelming. Hopefully, after reading this article, that fear will have turned into motivation. Your organization needs a strategic administrative professional with an understanding of how to use AI tools to their benefit. When you learn to use AI as your ally and that it is not a replacement for the unique capabilities you bring to the table, you have a foundation for creating a plan to invest in your future.
With this foundation, you can start to cultivate your knowledge. By investing in your ongoing training and development, both of how to use certain AI tools to your benefit and in the power skills that more and more employers are seeking, you will pave the way to tackle the future of AI in the administrative profession.
The future of AI is now, and it only grows. By taking the time to understand and invest in your own knowledge today, you pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.