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Technology & Administrative Assistants

Offices are changing in so many ways.  We know of several people who are getting to "that age" and are being packaged off in big corporate offices. Why? Because new graduates "know" how to use Microsoft Office - so they clearly don't need an assistant for that. I mean, they use the track changes feature rather than physically marking up a document (which saves trees) and is faster for them, but it is just one symptom of the changing role of the administrative professional these days.  How do we, as administrative professionals, handle this every changing climate?  Adaptability, flexibility and continuous learning.


Gone are the days where an administrative professional could refuse tasks because they were not "in the job description."  Today's administrative staff must be willing and able to take on more challenges and try new skills. This may not be a popular opinion with many and I'm not suggesting that anyone should get anyone else coffee, etc. This does not mean that you have to pick up someone's dry cleaning; rather if you are asked to try your hand at creating a report or a database - give it a try!


Instead of working for one or two people, it's now quite common to work for four or five people as the lawyers (or managers, etc.) become more independent and less reliant on their assistant.  With the spread of free wifi and smartphones, you should really be prepared to, at least occasionally, answer your work phone during the evening or over the weekend. Again, not all the time and do not make yourself available 24/7, but part of being a key team member is going the distance when duty calls.

Continuous Learning

Never stop learning. As far as we're concerned, this is the most important skill to have. Challenge yourself to learn new skills that expand on what you can do. Not only does that provide job security for you but by learning a new skill or program before your office does, you'll be considered a vital part of mentorship and training programs for staff. Keeping your skills sharp and fresh will mean that you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to be flexible.

Try to look forward to learning things - you'll be happier when the Fairy of Change floats through your office. Try your hand at creating a simple database in Microsoft Access to track currently open files and their status.  Learn how to use new programs to assist in marketing campaigns for smaller offices.  Get involved in local groups that can teach your new processes or introduce you to new fields that you had never before considered.

There is a lot for an administrative professional to take on these days - even with the disappearance of the more traditional aspects of an assistant's role.  Be excited about the change, do not fear it.

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