Every April since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (formerly the National Secretaries Association) asks businesses around the world to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other administrative support professionals. In celebration of Administrative Professionals’ Week (April 21-27, 2013) and Administrative Professionals’ Day (April 24, 2013) we want to express our gratitude by sharing office trends that help streamline workflows and optimize time for completing administrative tasks, making the jobs of administrative professionals around the world a bit easier.
Technology is slowly bridging the divide between today’s business office and the office of the future, where costs are further reduced and efficiencies increased. In honor of administrative professionals everywhere, the following trends are helping increase efficiencies and improve the bottom line, all while paving the way to the office of the future.
A major step in attaining the efficient office of the future is to consider reducing your business’s reliance on paper. Administrative professionals still find themselves under mounds of paperwork performing tasks such as printing and copying, scanning and storing documents. The overhead costs of supporting this manual paperwork can be significant. In fact, Reduce.org approximates that an average office employee uses 10,000 sheets a year. Going paperless in business is not only good for your pocketbook, but great for the environment too.
Paperless office technology, such as personal desktop scanners, can increase the workflow of administrative professionals by quickly converting physical documents, including files, receipts, invoices, business cards, mail and more, into easily searchable PDFs. Generally, these technologies come standard with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, making physical documents instantly searchable. Digitizing allows documents to be emailed or faxed electronically and organized efficiently, saving administrative professionals from having to dig through filing cabinets or even offsite storage facilities whenever a document is needed. Additionally, cloud storage technology allows users to sync, store and access files from virtually anywhere via mobile devices.
In nearly every industry, the idea of the workplace is shifting, and may not even be a “place” at all. Going mobile for businesses means leveraging mobile devices and wireless connectivity , including smart phones, laptops and tablet computers, to facilitate business tasks from virtually any location. Rather than being restricted to a single server or computer, professionals can work remotely and even seamlessly transition between devices. Mobility can improve business processes through enhanced collaboration, note-taking and documentation, as well as increase communication among personnel and offices in different locations.
It is important to remember that not all tablets are created equal. One of the most common mistakes businesses make is to go with the lowest sticker price, failing to consider the devices’ total cost of ownership. When factors like repair, support, replacement and downtime are factored in, a device’s true cost will often be much higher than the purchase price. Depending on the office environment, administrative professionals may also benefit from mobile devices that are more durable than consumer-grade devices that lack the ability to withstand drops, spills and exposure to varied temperatures.
Advanced office technology is making the office of the future within reach of many business owners today. The same technology is helping to streamline workflow for administrative professionals. With less time wasted on manual tasks, administrative professionals can focus their energy on meaningful, quality tasks that add value and advance or improve business objectives. Please join us by celebrating Administrative Professionals Week and be sure to thank the office professionals who make your office a great place to work.