It seems as though in today’s online and virtual business spaces, administrative assistants are in decline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the administrative assistant’s role will begin to slow in growth over the next decade, and organizational restructuring and virtual business are two big factors hurting the administrative role. But administrative assistants are, and always will be, a necessity in some spaces.
Though the title may vary from company to company, almost every employer needs (or already has) an administrative assistant. Executive assistants, admins and secretaries all work to keep the office organized and running smoothly, and in the modern business world, many managers are kept together by the administrative assistant. Offices such as doctors’ offices and insurance agencies, which often use administrative assistants to keep and organize records and appointments, are just two of the vast number of companies taking advantage of the secretarial role.
First, and perhaps most importantly, administrative assistants do the majority of the planning and bookkeeping, especially for higher ups like senior managers. An administrative assistant’s role is to assist managers, meaning managers can focus on the hundreds of other things they have to do. The administrative assistant then focuses on keeping the manager working efficiently.
Secondly, administrative assistants are trained to be reactive, knowledgeable and adaptable, making them extremely beneficial in fast-paced companies or in larger businesses that have more people. Sorting and forwarding emails, answering and directing calls, and planning and keeping meetings — these are all basic functions of the administrative assistant, and having one can cut down on a manager’s time spent on these tasks. Additional responsibilities that can save time for managers include gathering and taking notes on important meeting or company information and collecting important messages if the manager is away.
Finally, administrative assistants also make calm, collected leaders when the boss is away. From directing meetings to making important calls (or even big decisions), administrative assistants are crucial to structured leadership. Managers who have trustworthy and competent administrative assistants are not only 9 percent more productive but also the ideal candidate for filling in if the boss needs to make a trip or step out. Instead of hiring someone if a female CEO takes pregnancy leave, handing her duties to her administrative assistant can save the time and money that would otherwise be spent on training a new recruit.
Though hiring an administrative assistant can seem redundant in addition to hiring other support staff, the truth is that an administrative assistant can save one, two or even three managers a great deal of time and effort in the long run. By hiring an administrative role to focus on the more menial activities of the day, managers now have the time to complete and improve on important projects and tasks.
Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District on Flickr.com