Administrative Professionals Week 2020
This week, we are celebrating the most unusual Administrative Professionals Week of our time. It coincides with what for us in the UK is the beginning of our fifth week in lockdown, and with growing angst around the future of this role after Covid-19.
We have spent much of the last five weeks talking to as many of you as we can via phone, Zoom, email, social media, and webinars. The theme we have seen again and again is that many of you are not really sure what you should be doing. You are asking your executives, but they are telling you to just get on with it. You therefore don’t have enough to do, and in a world where you know that the reactive, task-based assistant role is under threat anyway, you are concerned that by the time you return to work – whatever that looks like – this period might have highlighted your role as non-essential.
Here is the thing. Your executives are also in a totally unfamiliar situation. They are in crisis management mode and uncharted territory. They are looking at big picture strategy to save the world and protect cashflow, staff and, in many cases, the future of your businesses. They do not have the brain space to think about what you should be doing.
So, what does that mean for you?
You need to get proactive and go to your executives with what you can do for them. Imagine a metaphorical pile of papers in front of your executives, all of which is work they have to do. What are the things you can remove and do for them? Where can you add value and give them back their time? Which details, processes or procedural work can you remove from their plate? Is there research you could do on their behalf? Or even get back to basics – could you triage their email or totally take their calendar off their hands, if you don’t already do that?
We have thought long and hard about what we could be doing for you in this most unusual of situations and have come up with a campaign for the week: #HelpUsHelpYou.
Even before this crisis, many executives had no clue how to use their Assistant properly. The idea behind this campaign is that we provide you with tools to talk to them about how best to use you.
So, as well as releasing a brand new ebook, we will also be releasing an open letter to the world’s executives that you will be able to share with them.
This letter will explain how best to use you during this crisis, and will be released on Wednesday. We have also recorded a film directed at your executives that you can forward. It’s short (10 minutes) but explains how if they give you just 10 minutes a day, you can give them back the time that they so desperately need at the moment to do the things that they are best at. This will be released on Thursday.
And in a lighter vein, we have also created a Zoom/Microsoft Teams virtual background that looks like a smart home office. We know from our conversations that some of you don’t have a dedicated workspace – many of you are working from your bedrooms – so you don’t want to share what your home workspace looks like with your colleagues. The background includes the hashtag #HelpUsHelpYou in the hope that it will stimulate conversation on how you can help them. We will be releasing this on Tuesday.
We have all sorts of other things up our sleeves for this week and these will be announced daily on our Facebook Group and via our newsletter so feel free to sign up to these if you would like us to keep you informed.
Wishing all of you a safe and productive, if different, Administrative Professionals Week.
Please know that we are here to support you through this in any way that we can.