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Workplace heroes: 3 things your admins want you to know about their job

Introduction

National Administrative Appreciation Day—April 22nd—is a day to recognize administrative professionals. At Envoy, we recognize and appreciate all of the different kinds of administrative professionals. From executive assistants, to office managers, to workplace coordinators, they’re all heroes.

Whether you’re a C-level exec, a new employee, or a visitor to the office, admins are constantly looking for ways to make your workplace experience better. And in times of crisis? These folks are the office version of first responders. They scramble to ensure critical work gets done. They connect the dots when chaos threatens. And they take care of everyone.

Here are 3 thing these under-appreciated office heroes want you to know about their jobs: 

They are more than just the gatekeepers of executives calendars

Yes, it’s true. Executive assistants have magical powers when it comes to managing executive calendars. However, that’s the tip of the iceberg. They also hold executives accountable to commitments, support employee resource groups, and write internal communications. In fact, their day to day responsibilities are diverse and are almost never the same. 

It’s easy to overlook the value of little things like work anniversary balloons. And we often forget that someone—often your admin—was the one who remembered your coworker’s birthday. Ever met an exec who wasn’t great at taking notes or writing down their action items? Or wonder how they still manage to get everything done on time? Yep, that was almost certainly thanks to the assistance of an exec admin with a killer to-do list. 

Try: Ask them to go to coffee. Get to know their role and how they play an integral part in the company. Be proactive in understanding what they do can help build a relationship. It’s also a signal to show you care.

“We’re not just an admin, but a thought partner for your executive to help execute on decisions and bounce ideas off of.” -Virgina Yu, Executive Assistant

They put a lot of thought and attention to detail in making a workplace appear effortless

The kitchen layout, desks, lighting, plants, and couches are a few of the many things to consider when curating a workplace for employees. The psychology of space planning is something workplace coordinators spend time thinking about when building out the workspace.

For example, most organizations have a dedicated mail space. Whichever administrative pro is managing your mail almost certainly has a system to manage the flow of packages in and out of the building. They also know your employees, they know who picks up their mail on time and they know who doesn’t. They have a real sense of how much space your business needs for mail on any given day. Your administrative pro makes managing this work seem easy, but it’s not.

Try: Spark a conversation with your workplace coordinator (or equivalent) about their inspiration for the design of the workplace. Ask them if there are any future plans for changes and what their thinking is behind it.

They do their best work when they have the support and understanding from the rest of the company

Administrative team members spend a lot of time developing relationships at work. Why is this such an important investment? Because a close relationship makes it easier to make disruptive changes without igniting an emotional firestorm.

For example, moving meeting rooms around at the last minute is never fun. But when you’ve got a great relationship with the coworker whose room you downgraded, it’s no big deal. Similarly, planning a team or company offsite is a lot of work. Selecting an activity or venue, planning travel, choosing a date and managing the budget takes time and energy. But when you know the personality and preferences of each team leader, it immediately cuts down the amount of back and forth.

Try: Make sure they have a support network and a sense of community in the office. Being a team of one is hard! Reaching out to an admin asking how they are doing or how you can be helpful can mean a lot. Building your relationship with your administrative team will pay off over time…for both of you.

“Be proactive! Doing what your executives want is great, anticipating their needs is what will set you apart.” Vini Amarl, Fixer of Problems

Admin Appreciation Day can mean more than just appreciation

Yes. You should absolutely thank your admin today. Find out how they prefer to be recognized first, then act accordingly and with generosity. But as much as the recognition and appreciation matters, there’s an even more meaningful opportunity – the chance to build lasting connections and productive relationships.