Keepers of Morale: The Administrative Assistant

“I was searching for a job and then I found a job;
Heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

These are lyrics to a song by The Smiths. The truth is, this is a song everyone can relate to at one point or another or on a daily basis while at work.  

Working as an administrative assistant or “Admin” provides an opportunity to have some people, if not everyone singing to a different tune.

The job of an Admin is not only to provide reliable support and to get things done and with killer skills. One very important task is to be the “caretaker of work morale.” Being the caretaker of work morale means being the guardian of the morale and culture of your team, department or boss. The Admin comes into contact with colleagues of all levels, usually more than any other team member. The way the Admin communicates and interacts with each individual will have an impact on the mood of the each person and ultimately the whole department.

I remember one Mother’s Day back 2012, on my way to work I stopped at a florist and purchased five long-stemmed red roses. I was there before everyone, so I placed a rose and a sticky note saying “Happy Mother’s Day” at the desk of each mom at the office. The women were all pleasantly surprised and in good spirits for the rest of the day. Inadvertently, it affected the men at the office too, when one of them later told me later that it reminded him to get a gift for his wife.

When as an Admin you embrace the role of caretaker of office morale, you’re always mindful of how you interact with others. And you’re always aware of life events like birthdays, anniversaries, and personal achievements of others. These are excellent opportunities of finding small ways to celebrate and bring people together, while being mindful of their workflow. Think of creative ways to boost morale and get people together.

There was a Starbucks right across the street from one of my jobs. At around 3pm, this is usually the time energy starts to fade and spirits are down. I decided to check in on everyone and ask how they would like to order their coffee. Out of a department of 12, I received 8 specific requests. This is great I thought, thinking of a plan on my way to get the coffee. When I got back, I placed the coffee in a nearby conference room. I then went to each person, popped my head in and quickly said “coffee is hot and in conference room!” and then I quickly left.  They all came and were surprised to see who else ordered coffee. This surprise was followed by a really relaxing and fun ten minutes of everyone talking about anything from movies to projects they were working on.

Many of us spend eight to 12 hours in the office (except for me now that I am working remotely) away from away from our family and friends. There are going to be good and bad times even rotten times within those hours. Cultivating a happy, supportive and relaxing work environment are key factors to a successful work life.

Reworking Secret Santa toward Keepers of Morale

Everyone knows what Secret Santa is, right? Well, here is my spin on it [and a twist on Kudo Cards] with one exercise: Keepers of Morale. Try this for your next department or group meeting. Ask everyone to write something nice, that they like about another colleague, their job or the department. The person writing should remain anonymous. Now, before the meeting starts, take from the bag one at a time and read each entry. You can think of your own way of introducing this activity to your colleagues before you begin reading the entries.  

I believe this will set a good mood to the meeting and the rest of the day. Everyone likes to remember the nice things that people said about them.  

Therefore, the next time an Administrative Assistant smiles and greets you with positive energy and a compliment, see it as your opportunity to say something nice to someone at your next group or department meeting. Then, perhaps the new song you will sing will be Jimmy Durante’s:

“Make someone happy, make just one someone happy,
then you will be happy too.”

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  1. What a great article, being nice, ‘delivering’ a bit of happiness, can really be that simple!

    I remember an assistant having a jar of candies on her desk. Everybody passing by was welcome to snatch one. And whenever time permitted she would take 2-3 minutes for a short chat. I believe she new best everybody in the company, better than HR even (I’ve been lucky with some HR people that had an actual interest in people in the past). There were people detouring from their ‘most direct path between office A and B’, just to grab a candy. Of course there were times when 2 or 3 people walked in at almost the same time, sometimes they were on their way to meet each other. The assistants job then became to respectfully ask them not to hold their meeting at her desk…

    Comment by Patrick on April 8, 2016 at 1:34 PM

  2. I currently work from home as a Virtual Administrative Assistant and one of the major concerns I have is balancing the time and focus I give to my work and the time and focus I give to my family. It is especially important to have a pleasant and motivating environment when working from home or on the road. Having this kind of environment takes effort, the effort comes from “you”, it means knowing when to devote time to work and when to stop and do things with those around you ı.e. working colleagues or family to build supportive and strong relationships. The Admin sets a good example to follow, because he or she has to find that balance to get the work done and to engage with co-workers at all times in a positive and supportive way no matter what his or her workload is. Also has Patrick mentioned, it is always a good idea to have treats , eveyone likes to have little treats!

    Comment by Alyicia Rowe -Çiftçi on April 12, 2016 at 11:07 AM

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This article is written by Alyicia Rowe - Çiftçi on April 8th 2016.