20 March 2010

Admin Buddies

I like to have someone at work that I can buddy with.  It works well when it is a co-worker who sits closest to you, but depending on how your office is set up that might not be possible.  If it is a planned time off then you can meet with your buddy and give them any instructions or information they will need to handle in your absence and any contact names and numbers.  I like to have a contact card with my buddy's general information in it such as log ins and passwords as appropriate. 

When the time off is unplanned it is more critical to have this information available with easy access.  A friend found this out when her co-worker was called away for a family emergency.  She had to set up an away voicemail message and fortunately had kept a script of what her away message usually said,  She worked for a doctor so it was important that the proper referral numbers were given.

If you have remote access it is easy to do these things yourself from off site, but sometimes you just can't and it is nice to know you can call your buddy and they can take care of it for you.  Last week I was sick and could barely get up to call into the office, so it was nice that my buddy could take care of it. 

It is also amazing how much we pick up from our co-workers during the day.  You hear something while walking down the hall or are copied on an email and know something about the purpose of a meeting coming up.  This inside information comes in handy when you need to pinch hit for them when they are away.  Many times I am so thankful I had that quick chat or read that email that I was copied on as that was the exact information I needed when they were away.

Yes, it is always nice to have a work buddy.  If you don't have that in your office, why not suggest it to the other assistants?  Having a buddy can take some of the stress off and give you assurance that you have someone you can depend on.  It can also improve team work and general office dynamics.

13 March 2010

Are you prepared?

I take the bus to work and I often see people getting on a busy bus and then going through their backpack or purse looking for their bus tickets and holding up the line.  I always shake my head when I see that because I think they should have had that ready before they boarded.  They had enough time as they saw the bus approaching, they know they will need it, but time and time again, they are searching for it. 

I like to be prepared and I find life just works better for me at home, work and even on the bus, when I am organized and ready for whatever is coming up.  We really are creatures of habit and I find if I just keep doing it the same way each time, it becomes easier to be prepared.  For instance, I always keep my bus tickets in the front section of my purse so when I am boarding the bus I just reach in and take one out.  I don't have to think about where they are because they are always in the same place.  I find the same thing at work.  I organize my desk so everything is within easy reach and makes sense to the way I like to work.  Even when I change jobs, the first thing I do is organize my desk so at least that is familiar.

I just recently organized a Board meeting and it was nice to have everything where I needed it when I was in the meeting.  I didn't have to look far for it so that makes me more relaxed and able to do what I am there to do -- take the minutes.

I also like to know my stuff and not have any surprises.  Every time I use a bus ticket, I keep a mental inventory so I know when I need to buy some more and don't show up at the bus stop one morning and Oops! no tickets.  The night before I go to a Board meeting, I review all my templates, agendas, binder, attendance sheets and everything I am going to need or might need.  Do I have everything?  This is where a checklist really comes in handy.  Each meeting has some differences, but usually the basics are the same so your checklist can be pre-populated with those things so you can re-use it for each meeting.  I find the best time to think about what I need is when I have a nice quiet time to do that.  Of course that usually doesn't happen at work so I take about an hour of my home time, but it is well worth it the next day.

Being prepared doesn't have to be hectic, but can just be a good habit you get into.  Now, I don't even think about it, I just know what is in my folder because I organize it the same way each time.  Yep, makes my life much easier.