Pay Attention Administrative Assistants: 5 Workplace Challenges You Face Every Day and How to Conquer Them

January 10, 2019 | No Comments | Written by Tracey

Keeping an order from bursting into chaos is a daily struggle. From the dentist and banker to the grocery store, everywhere, an administrative assistant lives by this rule. You organize stuff. You maintain records. You answer your boss’s emails and post. You vet their appointments. Simply put, you are there to support their workflow.

And yet, Administrative challenges and barriers are hard to spot. Despite the fact that you are the cog that helps their wheels run, common administrative problems are overlooked by most higher authorities.
That’s not saying that you should let the uncomfortable circumstances fester. Since your job demands you to be hardworking, charming, efficient, go-getter, I suggest you use those qualities to fight the challenges facing administrative assistants.

Get a Handle on the Problems Faced by Administrative Assistants

Demanding coworkers who take the help for granted, urgent requests, unrealistic expectations, excessive workload, frequent interruptions-the job of an admin assistant has an unfair share of frustrating issues.

Before we talk about five workplace challenges for administrative assistants, acknowledge that you can cope with the problems. All you need is a good strategy.

1. Something Isn’t Working, and Somehow It’s Your Fault
The printer or copier is stuck. The break room is out of coffee. The food vending machine isn’t dispensing the right amount of change. The meeting wasn’t scheduled on time. The WiFi is faulty. The toilet has no tissue.
And everyone blames it on you. Divide responsibility. Prepare an alibi. Post instructions near every machine(fax, printers, etc.) on how they’re to be operated. Post instructions on every utility(coffee machine, snack vending, etc.) about office etiquette’s expected from people using them. Log every task you finish in a day, so you know the mistake you made and the ones you didn’t.

2. You Are Needed Always
You need breaks.You are an admin assistant, but you can’t be available at all times. Set this boundary loud and clear. Do not pick calls, respond to emails, or get to work if someone asks you in-person, while you’re on a break.
Set your work hours. Stick to them. Don’t break the consistency unless a critical task is forwarded from the right authority to you.

3. You Must Have Every Information
If everyone expects you to hand them things, like office supplies, minutes of any meeting, the wifi password, etc. repeatedly, just because they don’t care enough to learn that information, you’ll end up being frequently interrupted.
Don’t fetch. Show them the supplies. Label boxes with simple instructions. Remind them of meetings. Send out general emails addressing common issues to all employees.

4. You Must Do Everything
You handle many people, both clients and colleagues, at once. More often than not, that means a lot of work of varying priorities, all needed as soon as possible.
While you must have excellent organisational skills to be an administrative assistant, you should utilize more efficient organisation tools to deal with the massive workload.
Create a process. It’ll help you by asking the employees to organize the task before you can execute it. Keep a schedule organizer. Download an automated reminder app to keep track of all actions and remind you of priorities on a regular basis.

5. You Simply Can’t Make a Mistake without Being Ridiculed for It
It’s very probable that you’ll be the butt of jokes for a day or two if you commit a rather amusing mistake. That’s okay. Laugh along. But keep in mind, office bullying is a thing. Call out anyone who crosses boundaries or ridicules you. Keep your composure. But don’t be afraid of pointing out the bullies.
Challenges faced by administrative assistants can make you detest work unless you deal with them. So, don’t hold back. You help keep the totem pole standing straight. Use some of that charm to face the problems, and you’ll be golden.


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