When Yvonne Arendt, an executive assistant at Sodexho in St. Paul, talks on the phone, she uses a hands-free, wireless headset. That's not just a nice convenience. It's an important way to keep her work moving along.

"It's one of the ways I can do two things at once," says Arendt. "If I have my hands free, I can do other work while I'm on the phone."

Arendt isn't alone. More and more admins are finding extra work coming their way, and they've developed ways to work smarter.

The Work

Admins face work on a number of different fronts. According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the types of work that can pile up on an admin include:

  • Everyday tasks
  • Special projects
  • Communications via telephone, e-mail and voice mail
  • Work that has been delegated to someone else, but comes back
  • Work that has been delayed, pending someone else's work component
  • Meetings
  • Reports
  • Presentations
  • Surprise work that has to be done immediately
  • Emergencies

Keep On Top

One of the ways Arendt keeps up on her work is through technology. In addition to her wireless telephone headset, she takes advantage of her laptop and features in Microsoft Outlook.

"With today's technology, you can be a virtual admin anywhere," says Arendt.

Because she can do much of her work remotely, she takes advantage of the opportunity to work from home.

"I can just get up, grab my coffee, and start answering e-mails," says Arendt. "There really isn't anything I can't do from home that I can do here."

It also gives her the ability to work anytime she wants.

"I can accomplish tasks that need to be done at a certain time, no matter what time that is," she observes. "And that makes it possible to do the things you can do anytime."


Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer from Blaine.