Keeping Control of the Chaos

Michele Warg
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It's no secret that it can be a challenge to maintain productivity and profitability in a chaotic work environment. Administrative assistants are tasked with keeping control of the chaos while providing support in line with the operations of the company. Administrative assistant skills are in demand because weathering office storms ensures a peaceful and productive work environment.

When working with a disorganized manager, boss or team, administrative assistants need to multitask and provide organization to the chaotic work environment. They communicate regularly with employees and managers to restore order in the office. Administrative assistants are the first point of contact for not only employees but also clients, vendors and outside agencies. As an administrative assistant, your duties require patience and understanding when listening to disorganized managers and employees. To be successful, listen actively to understand what support is needed. Provide suggestions to solve problems, and offer to organize a timeline to keep tasks on schedule.

Focus on the strengths of employees and managers within a chaotic work environment. For example, if your boss excels at customer service but has difficulty organizing and prioritizing clients to contact, create a to-do list or priority list to keep him on track and organized each day. Set reminders for employees by utilizing email or project management software that creates pop-ups or mobile reminders when deadlines approach. Provide support that is personalized with results that make the work environment organized, peaceful and productive by asking how you can simplify the workload. Flexibility is a crucial administrative assistant skill that employers value.

Deter a chaotic work environment by prioritizing conversations and meeting agendas. For example, schedule the most important topic as the first item on a meeting agenda just in case discussions veer off track. Avoid overwhelming managers and employees with too much information when discussing priorities and tasks. Follow up with detailed minutes of meetings or planning sessions to provide focus for your team.

Set the example for employees and managers by utilizing your time well. Time management skills are essential for administrative assistants, especially when working in a chaotic work environment. Be punctual or at least 15 minutes early when reporting to work, when attending meetings or planning sessions. Show up prepared with materials in place to keep the team focused. Eliminate distractions during the day for yourself and the staff you support by screening phone calls that are not urgent when deadlines press.

A chaotic work environment may be overwhelming at first, but administrative assistants willing to organize, prioritize and effectively manage time can reverse the negative aspects of chaos. Employees and managers value the support you provide to streamline tasks and improve the operations of the business as a whole while keeping your cool under pressure.

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