Biting Back- Was Your Office Ready?

One of my peeves has always been the inconsistent telework policies across organizations, especially within organizations.

Managers had plenty of leeways to work remotely, were provided with equipment and access to all necessary software and server and/or cloud access. Now we see or hear stories about companies scrambling to have their entire team work remotely. I even saw a post from an administrative colleague this week in which the entire team was told to work from home, but no one notified her! They all left the office and she’s sitting around wondering where everyone went. Oy.

My point is that many companies were ahead of the curve for this event. I’d be curious what percentage had to add extra equipment and capacity to accommodate their teams.

Please participate in the poll I’ve created to gather some insights on remote work preparedness. I’d love to see if my hunches are right. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CSS9T2G

Day 1 #AugustDeskEscape

Sometimes the “DeskEscape” is about being present with family.

Last night Mother Nature had her way with me- stopping me from trying to work more than 8 hours by blasting through our new hometown with a great big storm that took down trees and power lines. No way to work. No internet. Good going, Mother Nature! So much for doing a kickoff video for #AugustDeskEscape. So the photo above is of me, my husband and wonderful daughter walking the beach late today. I didn’t get in my usual number of steps but that’s okay.

Today turned into a beautiful day. Our power was restored about 3am this morning, and the town public works, fire department, police department and many other city employees spent most of last evening well into the morning cleaning up the debris. I drove to Boston to pick up our daughter. She’s not seen our new home. She’s entering her last year of university and before we know it she will be out on her own for reals.

What does this have to do with #AugustDeskEscape? This challenge isn’t just about the physical get up and get out, though that’s the major focus. It’s also about taking time for oneself. Taking time to sit in the quiet of a darkened home due to power outage. Taking time to be present with our loved ones instead of being on our computer or our phones. It can also mean ‘Escape’ from the work you bring with you in your head.

So be sure to travel over to the photos page to see posts from our colleagues from Day 1.

The Best Part? You are not alone.

Tonight I came home from work and per usual, hopped on Twitter.

I knew things would be kicking off in Sydney, Australia for #ExecSecLive.  I immediately searched the hashtag and starting following posts from the conference.

Executive Secretary Live is a fantastic administrative conference that travels the globe.  So many administrative conferences: IAAP Summit, AIOP ACT, IMA, ASAP Annual Conference, AdminToAdmin, EPAA,Office Dynamics, AEAP, Be the Ultimate Assistant, and this list is hardly complete! For a complete list, visit /http://executivesecretary.com/associations for an administrative association near you. Or, visit http://executivesecretary.com/events/ for a full list of training events. [Self-disclosure, I’ll be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE, Johannesburg later this year.]

I get super excited when I think about administrative conferences! We are NOT alone! You have had a crazy work experience, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that another attendee has had either the exact same challenge or something very close.  There’s an instant recognition. An instant acknowledgment of mutual respect.

That feeling is wicked awesome—and that’s a good thing! It’s such a relief and also a tidal wave of joy to meet our career colleagues.

If you are an administrative or office professional, I promise you with all my heart that you simply MUST find a way to get to an administrative conference. It will change your world, your perspective, and expand your network in ways you cannot fathom.

Here’s a tiny sliver of the friends I’ve made via admin conferences.  As Diana Brandl says, “We are in this together!”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Until We Meet Again DE-MD-DC & NoVA Administrative Professionals

whatdoes_itTake

Just want to add this quick post — I recorded this tonight after much pondering.

  1. Why is it such a challenge to access professional development as an admin working around the Beltway region.
  2. How I’d like to see Administrative Professionals recognized during Administrative Professionals Day/Week.

It’s about 20 minutes of an audio recording.

Get A Grip– On the Tools You’re Utilizing – a Nod to Brian Fanzo

I’ve been trying to catch up on some learning time this weekend. Mostly watching and listening to replays from some of the social leaders I follow.  Tonight, I just happened upon a rant-ish type post from @iSocialFanz aka Brian Fanzo https://youtu.be/83ySoC1MCLM addressing many issues as they relate to social media tools and best practices.  What I admire about Brian is his ability to articulate his passion for what he does in a very human and very genuine way.

But one piece of the replay caught my attention because it also applies to the administrative workplace.  Know the tools you are using. Understand their context. Mistakes happen, but they cannot all be blamed on the tools we utilize because to paraphrase Brian– the end-user is responsible for the implementation of that tool. It’s also a reminder to be deliberate as we learn. Sometimes I rush to add another social application to my phone without a)needing it  b)understanding its true function c)taking the time to learn the shortcuts and features thoroughly.

Admins use many tools to get work done, to communicate updates, to save time for their team. I’ve come to recognize (and somewhat accept) that due to the velocity of our changing field, I may have started to become a user of many tools- but master of none. Furthermore, it provoked me to think about doing some MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) testing. How else can I demonstrate that I have a comprehension of the main tool I utilize on a daily basis.

Think about it–

As an example, many of us utilize Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, but are you fluent, do you have a deep bench of skills or just enough to get by? Good stuff to ponder.

I’m Not a Gatekeeper, I’m a Timekeeper

I'm a Timekeepr

I have a fantasy.

No, not that kind.

The kind where I stand in front of the full roster of attendees for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference and I share my brilliant! understanding of the administrative profession.

You see, with all the moving parts of the economic world of HR, recruiting, employee engagement– the front line is being forgotten when it comes to updating and re-writing the job descriptions and expectations of today’s administrative professional. Mind you, I do fundamentally understand the challenges of what type of support the company requests vs. what the job really needs vs. what the pay scale is vs. the vast swath of candidate/applicants for the position.  Please allow me to first address the term: GATEKEEPER.

Let me be clear. Executive Assistants| Administrative Assistants|Receptionists are not gatekeepers contrary to popular belief and the delightful, sometimes patronizing, verbiage from unsuccessful sales calls to the office. We are not gatekeepers;we are timekeepers.

TIME IS MONEY- Benjamin Franklin

It is the administrative professional’s key purpose/raison d’être  to save staff time. Whether it be a cold call at the front desk in person or a caller that cannot provide exact detail as to what they need– it is my job, my peer’s job to do the right thing and SAVE time for our managers. It is not my decision as to whether you’ll be able to meet with my manager or speak with my manager– that call is his/hers. However, it is my responsibility to carefully measure the intent and value of the interruption, and to assist the caller or visitor in getting the best chance of getting their information to the decision-makers.

So, please do not call me a gatekeeper. I prefer to think of the members of our profession as timekeepers. Or, better yet, time savers. And by that correlation, we become money savers and companies would be better served to see the administrative profession that way.

Repeat This Phrase: To Thine Own Self Be True

It’s been a tough jet lag couple of days getting back from #ExecSecLIVE..but so worth it.

It was wonderful to meet my fellow speakers, spend time with attendees and build new relationships. But, I have to tell you (This is an Anel Martin phrase I’m stealing) the best thing  I took away from ExecSecLIVE was the validation. Validation in knowing how to share my experience as an admin, my point of view. Validation in how I tell stories, stories my peers can relate to.  They got it!   Lastly, validation that some stories I tell are, in fact, redonkulous and can trigger laughs from others.  I had been concerned that my style, my approach — might not be the most ‘serious and professional’ compared to the presentations of the others. Had I done my presentations any other way..they would not have been genuine. They would not be true to my style. I’m glad I stayed true to myself and that others could relate.

I’m hoping the fog will lift soon and I’ll be able to write more succinctly and share additional take-aways from the event. For now, I just want to say, ‘Thank you’ to Executive Secretary for this amazing opportunity to learn from my peers and the time to build new friendships.