Attitudes to towards office administrators may have changed since the 1950s, but are they still taken for granted? Kate Warburton, EA to the CEO at Truphone asks the question…
I have worked in the administration field now for eight years, and have been lucky enough in that time to work alongside a number of fantastic colleagues and mentors who appreciated my work. I have however, also been witness to – and as a manager, listened to – grievances from colleagues surrounding their treatment as administrative professionals.
My friend recently complained about how fellow colleagues simply ‘assumed’ that she had the time to immediately attend to their requests, such as: run out to pick up their lunch if they were running late for a meeting; ‘help them out’ with their expenses; even clean up messes in the kitchen when the cleaner was on his break.
An interesting recent survey conducted by Zyllem, found that 64 per cent of office workers in Singapore confessed to taking their office administrators for granted. According to the report: ‘The most common out of job scope role that Admin Professionals are asked to perform is that of ‘A Shoulder to Cry On’.
To name just a few further statistics, 30 per cent of those surveyed also admitted to expecting their admin counterparts to perform duties such as official photographer at office functions, and 42 per cent rely on them to resolve IT issues with computers, the internet and printers.
Administration roles have changed greatly since the 1950s and 1960s when for example, secretaries were encouraged to ‘wear deodorant; learn how to make good tea and coffee; and always look beautiful.’
Sarah Morgan, Personal Assistant to the late publicity guru Max Clifford once said ‘A PA nowadays is far more involved, almost the centre of a business … Without me, I’d like to think that Max would find it extremely difficult to organise everything.’
These professionals, whether it be Receptionists, Office Assistants or PAs are well organised, dependable, trusted with confidential information, able to work across all elements of the organisation, and are often ambassadors for the businesses that they work for.
But regardless of all the things that administrators do, do we too often expect these generally overlooked office heroes to go the extra mile?
Of course, with any topic relating to the workplace and/or employee attitudes, there are going to be the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. What do you think? Do people underestimate the value that administrators add to office operations?