For most businesses today, the administrative assistant serves as the backbone of the office, supporting every role within the business. While an administrative assistant may go by several different titles, her role is almost always the same: to assist company executives, managers, departments and employees to ensure the business runs as smoothly and efficiently as it can.
Every employee you bring into your company should be bringing value to the business, and an administrative assistant is no exception. To determine the potential value of an admin, evaluate your day-to-day duties. Do you find a pile of work still left untouched at the end of each day? Do common interruptions such as emails and phone calls eat into your productivity? Do you take work home with you each night? An administrative assistant can help alleviate some of the busy work that takes away from your own value. It is up to you to determine if you have enough responsibilities to give away.
A great administrative assistant doesn't come cheap. However, living without one can cost you more in the long run. During the Great Recession, many companies cut costs by eliminating administrative staff, only to realize that the admin staff was crucial to helping managers and executives get more work done, offsetting the costs of their own salaries in the long run. If you've been working without an admin up to this point, determine just how much your time is worth. For small businesses, the need for an administrative assistant is even greater, as the business owner needs every bit of time available to focus on growing the business.
Turn to Technology
Before taking on the added expense of an administrative assistant, be sure that you've maximized your productivity through technological advances. Many processes and systems are now automated, and they can take a lot off your plate without requiring administrative staff. Consider hiring a short-term consultant to analyze your business's current workflow and processes and suggest applications, software, systems and techniques to maximize productivity and minimize wasted time.
Skills to Look For
While you can automate certain processes to streamline your workflow, there are certain talents that only a human administrative assistant can possess. If you've evaluated your needs and are sure that you need an assistant, choose carefully. You need someone who you can trust to take responsibilities off your plate. Good communication and organization skills, the ability to solve problems and think critically, flexibility, and adaptability are all good traits to look for in an admin. Allow yourself plenty of time to find an assistant with the right combination of skills, abilities and personality.
Hiring an exceptional administrative assistant can have a monumental effect on your productivity and your company's bottom line. An assistant pays for herself by creating more precious time for you, as well as providing convenience and a better workflow for the entire team. The best administrative assistants are well-versed in a variety of responsibilities, making them an integral part of any company.
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