These Aren’t Your Average Administrative Tasks

By Robert Half on September 2, 2014 at 7:00am

Anyone who’s worked in the administrative field for a while knows that a typical workday is anything but predictable. But have you ever been asked to mail a box of dirt? Hear about the strange administrative tasks your peers have had to do in the course of their jobs.

Being an administrative professional means being a master juggler. You work to keep the office organized, ensuring that processes run smoothly and efficiently. For administrative assistants, executive assistants and other professionals, typical administrative tasks include fielding and screening phone calls, entering data and creating reports. But their roles don't stop there: They're often called upon to go above and beyond the tasks in their job descriptions, handling one work request after another.

Today, the role of administrative professionals is constantly evolving. As part of their Office of the Future research project, OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) conducted a survey of administrative workers to learn what types of projects they’re helping with in the office. You’ll be surprised by the responses!

Changing Responsibilities

According to the survey, 87% of administrative professionals said they perform duties that are outside of their job descriptions at least somewhat often. In fact, 55% answered “very often." These results make it clear that their responsibilities are growing beyond the typical tasks associated with these positions. The expanding role of the administrative professional reflects the continued growth and stability of this field, as these employees are regularly asked to complete more than just administrative tasks.

Wacky Work Requests

Of course, administrative professionals field a few unorthodox requests from time to time. Below are just a few of the responses received when we asked participants to share the strangest requests they’ve ever encountered:

• “Organize a hula-hoop competition for executive staff.”
• “Help land a helicopter on top of the building.”
• “Rent a nun costume for an event.”
• “Take care of the office’s pet snails.”
• “Call airport security to locate a lost shoe.”
• “Write a skit about hand-washing.”
• “Mail a box of dirt.”
• “Get a snake out of the women’s bathroom.”
• “Give driving directions to a cab driver in a different state.”
• “Take samples of toilet paper from all the office bathrooms and compare them.”

It's the administrative professional's job to keep the office afloat, and as these responses seem to indicate, expecting the unexpected is also part of the job.

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