Advanced Skills Admins Need to Excel in Today’s Workplace
It’s no secret that admins are taking on new roles in today’s office. Here are some of the skills needed to excel in the workplace today, according to the Education & Professional Development Department of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).
· Project manager
· Software trainer (especially for execs and new hires)
· Software adaptor (adapting software to particular company needs)
· Web site maintainer (updater)
· Negotiator (with clients and vendors)
· Online purchaser
· Reviewer/evaluator of furniture and technology equipment (includes phone systems, copiers, and more—purchasing and leasing)
· Coordinator of mass mailings (includes dealing with the printer and determining the most cost-efficient method)
· Storing and retrieval of information, along with interconnecting its significance (could be e-info, tapes, videos, paper, etc.—multi-formats)
· Scheduler and maintainer of calendars for self and others (mostly done electronically; also includes scheduling facilities)
· Meeting planner (includes negotiating hotel contracts, scheduling catering, preparing for cyber- and video-conferencing)
· Travel planner (includes online research, booking, tracking, preparing the traveler, securing needed info such as maps, phone numbers, alternatives, emergency numbers)
· Desktop publisher (brochures, flyers, annual reports, and other things that are sent directly and electronically to the printer, Web design and postings)
· Team leader dealing with virtual members (from other facilities, traveling execs, or with outside business partners)
What new positions will open for secretaries/administrative professionals in the future?
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Administrative Career Offers Bright Future
Source: International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
Now is a good time to become an administrative assistant, executive secretary, information coordinator, or other type of administrative professional. Technology and corporate restructuring have created jobs that are more rewarding and more skilled than ever before.
Salaries. Average salaries in the United States for mid-to upper-level administrative staff range from $30,000 to $45,000 and up, according to the 2006 OfficeTeam Salary Guide and IAAP member surveys. Employers are paying more for specialty skills such as desktop publishing and database management.
Career Paths. Companies are creating a multitude of career paths for persons in administrative professions. Administrative assistants have moved into training, supervision, desktop publishing, information management and research. They are involved with equipment purchase and maintenance, customer service, project management and supervision of outside vendors.
Changing Roles. The number-one skill sought by employers when hiring administrative professionals is computer expertise. Administrative assistants should master word processing, spreadsheet, database, graphics and desktop publishing. With more managers keying their own correspondence and more files being stored electronically, the nature of secretarial work is changing drastically. Managers are doing more clerical work; administrative assistants and secretaries are doing more professional work.
Job Satisfaction. Most administrative professionals want to remain in their field and advance into higher support positions or become office managers. They say they are finally receiving recognition for what they do. They are becoming members of the management team.
The Future of the Profession. With businesses operating in a global economy, administrative professionals will have opportunities to interact via e-mail, audio- and video-conferencing, and even face-to-face with customers and associates from around the world. The winners will be those professionals who master technology, effectively use their interpersonal and communication skills, who have the ability to track and organize and be creative in solving problems, and most importantly, who have the willingness to learn and grow, and accept challenges. For these administrative professionals, there is a world of opportunity waiting for them!
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Office of the Future: 2020
Research Identifies Future Workplace Trends and Skills Necessary for Success
The future office will be increasingly mobile, with technology enabling employees to perform their jobs from virtually anywhere, according to Office of the Future: 2020, a research study recently released by OfficeTeam. But greater control over where and how people work won’t necessarily translate into more free time. Forty-two percent of executives polled said they believe employees will be working more hours in the next 10 to 15 years.
OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals, created Office of the Future: 2020 as a follow-up to its previous research project, Office of the Future: 2005, released in 1999. Trends identified then are a reality today, including the use of multifunctional, wireless technology to conduct business from various locales. Administrative professionals also are now playing a greater role in activities such as Internet research, desktop publishing, computer training and support, and website maintenance.
With Office of the Future: 2020, OfficeTeam examines trends that may impact the workplace in the next 10 to 15 years. In addition to interviews with workplace and technology experts, futurists, and trend watchers, OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.
“Technology will continue to reshape the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “As a result, flexibility and adaptability will be sought-after attributes in employees at all levels.”
Among the findings:
• Technology tools to provide even greater flexibility — Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside of the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.
• Telecommuting to rise — Improved wireless connectivity will allow for an increasingly flexible workforce. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years. Telecommuting enables employees to work where it’s most convenient, but it also challenges their interpersonal skills. They must build relationships with coworkers while having fewer in-person interactions.
• Staff to put in more time — Forty-two percent of executives surveyed by OfficeTeam think employees will be working more hours in 10 to 15 years. Only 9 percent said they would be working fewer hours.
• Workers will stay in touch while on vacation — With the proliferation of wireless technology, staff will be expected to remain in close contact with the office while they’re away. Eighty-six percent of executives surveyed said workers will be more connected to the office while on vacation in the future.
• Companies/employees take a new view on work/life balance — People may put in more time, but they will do so using tools that provide more control over their schedules and enable them to better balance priorities. There will be an increasingly blurred line between work and other activities; people will need to multitask to meet all of their obligations efficiently.
After concluding research and pinpointing future workplace trends, OfficeTeam and industry experts identified six skills professionals will need to prepare for success in this new environment. The skills form the acronym ACTION. They are:
Analysis: Analyzing information and exercising good judgment
Collaboration: Establishing rapport and facilitating team building
Technical aptitude: Selecting the best technical tools and using them effectively
Intuition: Identifying and adapting to the needs and work styles of others
Ongoing education: Engaging in continual learning
Negotiation: Participating in business discussions that produce positive results
“In the future office, there will be added pressure to adapt quickly to change, work smarter, increase productivity and perform duties outside of one’s job description,” said Domeyer. “The good news is that emerging technological tools and educational opportunities will better enable professionals to meet these challenges.”
Some additional information from the OfficeTeam project relating to administrative professionals...
New Administrative Roles
With the transformation of the workplace, the role of administrative professionals will continue to evolve. Following a trajectory that began within the last 20 years as secretaries turned into administrative professionals, careers within this field will become increasingly complex and specialized. Many positions will require sophisticated skill sets and experience in specific areas such as technology, human resources and business processes. Here are several key trends that administrative professionals can expect:
Entrepreneurial approach — Administrative professionals will take an increasingly entrepreneurial approach to their jobs and careers. Those most successful will possess knowledge of business management principles, technical aptitude, sophisticated interpersonal skills (or "emotional intelligence") and an almost intuitive understanding of the needs of an organization. As more functions become automated, the importance of using interpersonal skills to anticipate needs, respond to concerns and provide a "human touch" that computers lack will be paramount.
New skill sets and responsibilities — To advance their careers, administrative professionals will pursue business-focused training that emphasizes negotiation, delegation, budgeting, supervision and planning skills. Other useful knowledge areas include library science, for organizing and storing text and data used by groups; desktop publishing, for the creation of newsletters, presentation materials and other corporate documents; and electronic communications, an emerging field concerned with ensuring the security and integrity of electronically transmitted information.
Specialized roles — The administrative professional will be a specialist rather than a generalist, with job descriptions focusing on the technical and managerial aspects of day-to-day business operations.
Demonstrated experience — Administrative professionals will need to demonstrate to potential employers concrete evidence of specialized skills and abilities, such as technical expertise and industry experience.
The future office will be increasingly mobile and flexible as companies swiftly assemble the resources necessary to meet changing business needs. Core teams will manage employees working from diverse locations — from home offices to temporary business spaces to cafés. A premium will be placed on staff members who possess a combination of technical and interpersonal skills, and can adapt quickly to change. Professionals who are able to create new products and services and identify more efficient ways to work will be among the most marketable as innovation continues to drive business. Following are key findings indicating how the workplace is expected to evolve in the coming years:
Emerging technologies will allow a company's staff to work off–site with greater ease. Geographic location will matter less as businesses shift human and material resources around the globe in response to market opportunities.
Increasingly, companies will depend on temporary, instant "plug and play" offices that can be established wherever needed — in commercial spaces that are fully wired and readily adaptable to the needs of business tenants, for example.
The concept of going to work will be redefined as employees use portable, wireless tools to communicate from any location. For business, investment in technology will be offset by substantial savings on traditional overhead expenses such as leases, property taxes and facilities maintenance.
Ubiquitous wireless connectivity will permit people to easily collaborate with their colleagues. Advanced electronic communication devices will eliminate traditional time, distance and language barriers, facilitating communication and preventing lags in production.
A greater number of people will telecommute to work. In fact, 87 percent of executives polled by OfficeTeam predict there will be increased telecommuting in the coming decade.
While technology will make employees more flexible, it doesn't appear people will work fewer hours. Forty-two percent of executives surveyed by OfficeTeam said they believe employees will put in more time at the office during the next 10 to 15 years; only 9 percent anticipated spending fewer hours on the job. Likewise, 86 percent of respondents said employees will be expected to stay more connected with the office while on vacation.
The concept of "emotional intelligence" will grow in prominence. This phrase refers to those skills and abilities that enable people to interact well with those around them, respond to others' needs and priorities, and adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.
Key skills — The most important skills and abilities for administrative professionals can be summed up with the acronym ACTION. This stands for Analysis, Collaboration, Technical aptitude, Intuition, Ongoing education and Negotiation.
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