Administrative professionals support their organizations with a wide variety of services to free management of administrative detail. Typical administrative duties include scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, handling written, telephone and electronic communications, maintaining records and creating and distributing reports. Administrative professionals have varying levels of responsibility, and senior administrative positions may recruit and supervise clerical staff, manage projects and coordinate major events such as annual stockholder meetings. Most administrative professionals work in a team environment.
Project teams are assigned to work on well-defined projects with budgets, schedules and specific end dates. Administrative project teams have objectives such as updating a customer service call center, sourcing and purchasing ergonomic chairs for the programming department or investigating a customer complaint trend. They may be assigned to projects by managers, executives or administrative services management.
Cross-functional teams are formed with administrative professionals from across the company whose expertise is required for a specific objective. Cross-functional team members are borrowed from their respective work areas to come together for a goal such as developing a better work process for a new product or service line or creating a collaborative marketing video for new accounts. Team members’ time and attention during the workday is split between everyday job functions and team activities.
Virtual teams are made up of professionals in different geographic locations who meet and work electronically through email, teleconferencing and videoconferencing. Virtual teams are a cost-effective way to harness the expertise of scattered professionals when it would cost more to bring them physically together than the value of the project. A virtual team often can produce the same results with less expense than other groups.
Self-directed work teams are composed of experienced individuals with similar or the same duties who are brought together to get the work done as a group with little or no supervision. For example, individual executive assistants working for the company’s vice presidents may be assigned to a self-directed work team to better coordinate executive calendars, travel arrangements and budget reports. Such teams often work without direct daily supervision but still are subject to performance standards and evaluations.
Committees and task forces are similar to project teams in that they are assigned to address a specific objective but are more focused on researching and analyzing a problem to make recommendations for the best course of action. Committees work on tasks that require ongoing attention, such as continuous improvement or safety, and task forces are formed to address specific concerns such as a product bug, a recall or a workplace problem.