ASSOCIATION OF 

ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS

NEW ZEALAND INC.

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  • 25 Mar 2020 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many of you are reading this from the comfort of your home office. At first, this may sound like heaven on earth (a lot of people think they want to work from home). The reality will settle in quickly (if it hasn’t already).

    Working from home is HARD! While some people adapt quickly, some realize that they are just “better” when they are with others. 

    It is easy to fall into some bad habits. We must catch them early and get on-the-right-track!

    Here are some tips to help your work from home routine stay smart!

    1.    Establish Work Zones. Don’t work from the couch or your bed. While that may feel comfortable, in the long run, it is a dangerous thing to do. One-third of professionals report they work from the couch or bed, and the Harvard Division of Sleep Medicine advises us to keeping computers, television, phone, and work materials out of the bedroom will strengthen the mental association between the bedroom and sleep.

    Do you really want to wake up in the morning and the first thing you see is your laptop? Don’t start by blurring the boundaries between workspace and personal space.

    Find a dedicated working space. Preferably with natural light and a door (so you can walk away from work when it is time). Make it separate from your personal space if you can. The kitchen table is not ideal. Will you have to remove all the work paraphernalia to eat dinner? If you do, you’ll find yourself eating in front of the television quickly (which we know is a slippery slope). 

    Keep it need and tidy, hopefully, the same way you would if you had coworkers who judge your space. Don’t scatter paper around the house. Have your workspace in a place where you can ‘walk away’ if at all possible.

    2.    Create a Routine. If your previous routine had you get up at 6 am and workout, have a shower, listen to a podcast, and then get to work for 9, do something similar. Get up at 7 and work out to a YouTube video. Shower and listen to your favorite podcast. Get dressed in something other than pajamas. While you don’t need to wear your “work clothes” you do still need to be professional (even if there isn’t anyone to see you). I wear yoga pants, a sweater, a bra (I do need to be on camera for video conferencing during the day, and if you need to be on camera, consider this important piece of clothing as well). I don’t always wear makeup, but I’m certainly presentable. My hair isn’t in a ballcap. This isn’t the time to look homeless. If you “dress” for work, your brain will move into work mode. If you are in weekend mode, your brain won’t help you get much done.

    Work hours that are agreed upon and make sense. For some of you, the regular 9-5 will apply. If you have school children at home, perhaps you need to stagger your hours with your partner so that there is someone in charge of the children during the day. Maybe you work 7-12 and 6-8. Figure out what makes sense to your situation and work with your executives to ensure they are confident that you will get it all done, as usual.

    3.    Keep Connected to the Team. Many of you are used your executives traveling all the time, so you have a system in place for you to communicate regularly. 

    Create systems for your coworkers too. If your executive doesn’t travel, make sure that you have daily or weekly meetings (telephone or virtual). You need more contact with each other in times of crisis, and this time certainly applies. 

    Be sure to reach out to those that are newer to your team. They are probably feeling abandoned right now. When you chat with a team member, ask how they are doing and then listen to the answer! Introverted people are generally a little better with working remotely. For those that are highly extroverted, this is a big challenge for them. Make everyone feel connected. Isolation is very real. Do what you can so that people feel connected – even if it is just for a few minutes.

    4.    Prioritize Your Health. Be sure to get up and move. Working from home has some people sitting far longer than they usually would at work. Get your Fitbit to remind you to move. Set alarms or use an app such as Time Out to remind you to get up. 

    Keep away from junk food. It is easy to snack when working from home, and wearing our comfortable clothes and yoga pants won’t remind us that we’ve been snacking because they will always fit.

    Drink lots of water. Stand every 30 minutes. Be sure to break for lunch, and take time away from your work. Work from the kitchen counter (or high surface – an ironing board might work!) occasionally so it feels like a stand-up desk. Take the time that you would usually commute to exercise. Follow an online exercise or yoga class, meditate, read, stretch. Keep regular sleep hours. Don’t sleep until you wake up; set your routine as per above.

    Stay positive in these turbulent times. I realize that is a big “ask” but do your best to stay positive. It is just healthier.

    5.    Beware of Blurring Your Balance. It is easy to work for very long hours. It is easy to be distracted. Make sure you don’t blur the balance between your personal life and professional life. 

    I do my best not to work on my laptop while watching television at night. That isn’t always easy. I could easily be a work-a-holic (and have been in the past), so I need to set rules. I am generally done work at 5 pm. I try not to escape into the office after that time unless I have to (Wine with Rhonda is an example of when I work in the evening – which I love, please join us). 

    According to the 2017 British study by the University of Cardiff, remote employees tend to work longer hours than co-located employees. 

    Make time for your relationship. This won’t be an easy time for many relationships. We love our partners, but spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with them, is a lot to ask. Make sure you have some time where you are not working and can spend quality time with your partner. During the day when you are both working is not quality time.

    While working from home can be a wonderful thing, it doesn’t happen naturally for most people. It takes effort to make it a good place to work. We have to use discipline to ensure we are working smart and healthy.

    Go wash your hands, grab a glass of water, and focus on work!

    Shared from "Keeping ON TRACK with Rhonda" Contact Rhonda Scharf, CSP, HoF. Call Rhonda today about bringing customized, fun, and applicable training to your office or association meeting.

    www.on-the-right-track.com


  • 20 Mar 2020 1:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kia ora

    These are uncertain times for us all, no matter where we live.

    Taking steps to protect our friends, whānau, loved ones and neighbours now ensures our communities are all better off in the long run.

    All of us can make a difference. We need to come together in the way Kiwis have shown so many times before - with caring and kindness.

    As a valued member of AAPNZ, we know you’ll be disappointed that our Administrative Professionals Day Celebration, the Regional Gatherings and our Annual Conference / AGM together with your monthly meetings have been postponed or cancelled. The impact of this on our members and partners is substantial and unprecedented. We’re doing everything in our power to bring as much professional development and support remotely as we can to you whilst also having sympathy for the position our employers are facing.

    We thank you for your patience as we work through a very complex and fast-changing situation. We expect to have some more information and news around what we can offer remotely and we will be reassessing when we can hold the APD and Conference monthly at the NET Skype meetings with the next review being on 25 April 2020. 

    We are holding our first virtual “Wednesday Coffee Catch-up” on Wednesday 25 March 2020. 

    We would welcome any of your ideas around what you would like to be offered remotely. Feel free to head to our social media pages to tell us what else you’d like to see. We’re listening, and we’ll do our very best to deliver it.

    If you have a question please contact us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

    We wish you and your family well and good health.  Please look after yourselves.

    Ngā mihi

    Vicki Faint on behalf of NET

    AAPNZ National President

       

            

    Please note the catch up is not available via phone audio at this time - download the Zoom App for your phone.


  • 17 Mar 2020 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To all our members and strategic alliances

    As we navigate through these unprecedented times, NET want to ensure that you are up to date with our actions surrounding COVID-19 and to pass along any positive thoughts to you and families during these uncertain times. 

    As an Association we pride ourselves on putting the welfare of our members (our team, members and community) at the heart of everything we do, and now more than ever we need to champion this. 

    As we continue to better understand the situation and how best to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we will be making adjustments to the ways that we prioritise your health and safety, our teams and the wider community. 

    We continue to follow guidance from the Ministry of Health and although our meetings are less than the 500 as stipulated by the PM yesterday to be cancelled, AAPNZ NET are recommending effective immediately that all AAPNZ social interacting meetings and events to be postponed.  This includes, the regional gatherings, APD celebrations and our annual conference and AGM. 

    NET are currently in the process of developing online training and I will update you on the progress of these as they develop. 

    We understand that some of you may be disappointed, however, it is the responsible thing to do given the fast pace of these virus. 

    I wish you good health, keep safe and be kind to yourselves and one another.


  • 14 Mar 2020 5:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19

    You will all have heard of COVID-19, a new coronavirus. It was first detected in China in December 2019 and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March 2020.

    The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. While there’s no need to panic, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the virus, the one thing we know for sure is that the best line of defence is to follow standard hygiene practices. 

    This means me, you, our members – everyone – washing their hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and of course following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.

    Situations like this can be stressful – and it’s hard with the contradictory articles and posts.

    Please if you do not feel well, please do not go to work or attend any of our group meetings. Instead ring Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453.

    Symptoms and spread of COVID-19

    Symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza. Symptoms include:

    ·         fever

    ·         coughing

    ·         difficulty breathing.

    Information to date indicates that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets which settle on surrounding surfaces.

    How to protect yourself

    Follow the Ministry of Health guidelines for hygiene measures:

    ·         Wash (with soap for 20 seconds) and dry your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing, and before eating.

    ·         Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow.

    ·         Put your used tissue in a closed rubbish bin or plastic bag.

    ·         Stay home/away from others if you are sick.

    ·         Call the COVID-19 advice and information line on 0800 358 5453 if you are unwell.

    People with compromised health

    Your risk of infection is low if:

    ·         you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading

    ·         you have not travelled to an area where COVID-19 is spreading

    ·         you have not been in contact with an infected person.

    Follow the usual protective measures such as washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.

    For most people, COVID-19 will cause a mild illness but it can make some people very ill. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are more at risk of severe disease. You may also be concerned if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system.

    Members with pre-existing medical conditions

    If COVID-19 spreads in New Zealand and you have pre-existing conditions, seek advice by calling your GP practice. Depending on the extent of the outbreak, they may recommend you stay away from work or public places. You should also strongly consider getting the seasonal flu vaccine.

    Advice to members who are unwell

    Members who are sick for any reason are asked not to come to the monthly meetings until they have fully recovered. This will also ensure the wellbeing of colleagues.

    If you have similar symptoms to COVID-19, call the Ministry of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 line 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice. This may include self-isolation.

    There is further information about self-isolation on the Ministry of Health website.

    If you are diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, follow all advice from Healthline or your GP. You will need to keep in contact with your employer regularly. Currently there is no official guidance from the Ministry of Health about when it is safe to return to work.

    How to work from home

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being prepared to work remotely. You should start taking your laptop/mobile devices home with you, to make sure you can connect remotely to your employers’ network and can access the tools and resources you need to carry out critical parts of your role. You should also know how to access tools and resources from your home computer if you don’t have a work device.

    Here is a quick checklist of what you may need:

    ·         access to email

    ·         access to the files you need

    ·         access to applications you need

    ·         have contact details for your colleagues.

    ·         are used to using at least one video conferencing system like Zoom or Teams and have a microphone and camera (most phones have these if you don’t have the individual items).

    Advice for public events and mass gatherings

    At this stage the Ministry of Health does not recommend altering arrangements for public events. However, the situation and their response to it is changing all the time. For the latest advice, keep an eye on the Ministry’s COVID-19 website: health.govt.nz/covid-19

    Before deciding to proceed with, restrict, modify, postpone or cancel your event, it is recommended you complete a thorough risk assessment. This means you should consider:

    ·         the latest local, national and international advice on COVID-19 (the Ministry of Health, your local public health unit and the World Health Organization will provide reputable, evidence-based information and updates)

    ·         whether people attending your event may have been exposed to, or infected with, COVID-19 and what risk this might pose to others

    ·         the characteristics of your event (for example, the number of people expected; accommodation arrangements; indoor or outdoor, duration, the countries that participants, performers and attendees are travelling from; etc.) and whether they might increase the risk and/or spread of COVID-19

    ·         what measures you could put in place (see above) to help reduce the spread of any disease.

    ·         You should consult local and national authorities as appropriate.

    Event attendees

    At this stage the Ministry of Health does not recommend altering arrangements for public events. However, the situation and our response to it is changing all the time. For the latest advice, keep an eye on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website (health.govt.nz/covid-19) and check in with the people or organisation in charge of the event you plan to attend. If you are sick, do not attend public events.

    The following people should not attend events:

    ·         anyone who is unwell

    ·         anyone arriving in New Zealand who has returned from mainland China, Iran, Italy or the Republic of Korea (excluding airport transit), or been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days is being asked to self-isolate. Please also register your details with Healthline 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 if using an international SIM) if you have not already.

    ESL

    Update from Lucy Brazier

    After a week of looking at every option and consulting with Eth Lloyd, I have formally asked the hotel to postpone LIVE Wellington until May 2021. We are liaising with the hotel, speakers & Eth Lloyd on dates and I will be in touch with these shortly.

    The more I read, the more I think it would be irresponsible to go ahead from every point of view. We have no clear view of what will happen between now and August and until this unprecedented situation has passed, it is unwise to be planning public gatherings or international travel.

    I am aware that this will be disappointing for many of you and so have spent a lot of time speaking to speakers across the world about how we can ensure you get training and inspiration in the interim.

    Later today we will be launching #ExecSecLIVE Global. This will be an online training weekend, much like the one we offered to raise money for Vickie Sokol Evans a few years ago and will feature the world's top trainers and speakers. We will be making this available to all paid delegates for LIVE free of charge as a thank you for bearing with us until May. Other Assistants will be able to pay to join us. Full details will be available in the next week but in the meantime, please put 19th & 20th June in your calendars.

    These are unprecedented times and Assistants will be at the heart of leading how the process works within your businesses! There has never been a more important time for us to use each other to educate, share, sense check, discuss and brainstorm.

    Please look after yourselves and your loved ones.  Please show empathy, respect and kindness to one another.

    Ngā mihi

    Vicki Faint

    AAPNZ National President


  • 27 Feb 2020 10:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lucy Brazier responds to the recent article in the Wall Street Journal

    As a journalist, I was always trained that my role was to seek the truth and to give the truth a voice.

    This is why I have waited to write about ‘The Vanishing Executive Assistant’ published by the Wall Street Journal on 18th January. The article has caused a furore throughout the profession with many of our leaders reaching out directly to WSJ to express their opinions.

    What Did it Say?

    In a nutshell, EAs are disappearing fast. You are a dying breed mainly because Executives are now doing their own tasks and AI is taking over. Executives no longer spend time in the office, so companies don’t see a need to offer support anymore. And those that remain are so overworked that there is no time to do the job properly. The author had spoken to precisely 12 people and the centrally featured EA who couldn’t find a new role is now back in employment.

    Why is this Dangerous?

    This kind of sensationalist piece from the ‘serious’ press is not only ill-informed but dangerous for the half a billion people across the world that work in our profession. If businesses read and believe articles like this one, we are in danger of talking ourselves out of a role that adds billions to the bottom line every year, through a lack of understanding.

    The Facts

    Firstly, the author doesn’t understand the difference between an admin and an EA. Whilst the Department of Labor website says ‘Employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to decline 7 percent from 2018 to 2028’ this is the lower level, task-based role. The website also states that employment of administrative services managers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. These are currently the only two categories that the Department of Labor has that are related to the administrative profession. The EA role as we all know it, and which is the future of the profession, doesn’t figure anywhere.

    Secondly, I present extensively these days not only to Assistants but to their Executives. I also consult with some of the top businesses in the world. Most are trying to understand how to professionalize and upskill their Assistants to ensure their ROI. Not how to get rid of them.

    I have written extensively about the true picture in previous editors’ letters. Last January, I covered AI, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report and what it mean for you. We have explored why you need to upskill  and last month explained how you give time back to your Executive and prove your ROI to your business. We have also covered how the profession is changing at breakneck speed and the opportunities this presents.

    How Can You Help?

    All of the above is interesting but we need hard facts.

    The truth is that whilst we and other industry leaders can tell you what we see and hear out on the road, the press and the world of business have no real stats to back it up.

    That’s why we are launching a month-long global project in association with Yvette Pearson Research to collate that data.

    The survey is long. We make no apology for that. We need the statistics so that we (and you) can take them to your businesses, to your Executives, to your HR departments and to the Press to prove the truth about what the administrative profession in the 21st century really is.

    Take time to fill in the survey. Share it widely in your offices, through your networks and via your associations. Let’s ensure we have a global piece of meaningful research that is valuable to both you and your businesses, as well as to the future of your role.

    Click here to take the Survey.

    The results will be shared in a White Paper in April.

    It’s time to do something proactive to create the future for our profession.

    Will you play your part?

    - shared from Executive Secretary Magazine, http://executivesecretary.com/

  • 16 Dec 2019 6:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Do you know an incredible young woman who's doing something awesome? Let us know by nominating them for the Y25 list!

    In 2020, the YWCA will be announcing 25 upcoming trailblazing young women who are making a change in their community and our world. So if you know someone who's doing kick-ass things, nominate her today!

    All you need to do is:
    - Nominate a young woman between 15-25 yrs old 
    - Create a short video explaining why she's great
    - Answer a few questions describing her work and/or achievements
    - Complete your nomination before the 8th of March 2020  

    Nominations are open - and yes, you can save and come back to it at any time. So what are you waiting for? 
    Nominate now


  • 18 Jun 2019 11:22 AM | Anonymous member

    If you don’t work in the IT sector, you really should be aware of what’s going on out there, especially when it comes to technology that’s relevant for the administrative profession.

    Fairly often, I will use an inappropriate way to describe what’s happened with a programme I’m using, or my laptop and then follow it up with the phrase “That’s a technical term”. For instance: “Hi Helpdesk! My email connection is totally munted (or worse language). That’s a technical term”. Recently, whilst reading the May/June 2019 issue of the Associations Now newsletter, from ASAE: the Center for Association Leadership, I came across some acronyms which actually are technical terms! I thought I would share the ones that seem most relevant for administrators.

    Term

    Description/Definition

    BYOD

    Bring Your Own Device

    Allowing employees to bring personally owned devices (eg laptops, tablets, smartphones) to the office and use those to do their work and access company information, data and applications. Because of the security risks this may pose, many businesses are implementing BYOD policies.

    Source: Webopedia, Wikipedia

    BI

    Business Intelligence

    An umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure, tools and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to help organisations improve and optimise decisions and performance.

    Source: Gartner

    GDPR

    General Data Protection Regulation

    In effect since May 2018, GDPR encompasses a set of rules that harmonises data and privacy protection laws for individuals across 31 countries (all 28 European Union member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) known collectively as the European Economic Area.

          GDPR’s 99 articles apply not only to EU businesses but also to any company or organisation which personal information about individuals located in the EEA. Under the new regulations, EU residents have the right to access their personal data, the right to rectify incomplete or inaccurate data, the right to be forgotten, and the right to restrict the processing of their data.

          Organisations have about 30 days to respond to individual requests about whether personal data is being processed and, if so, to provide access to that data. And if an organisation experiences a data breach, it has 72 hours to notify EU data protection agencies. Failure to do so could be costly: violators are subject to fines up to €20 million or four per cent of a company’s annual global revenue, whichever is greater.

    Source: TechTerms, Wikipedia

    Shadow IT

    The use of systems, devices, software, applications and services without explicit approval from an organisation’s internal IT department. It has grown exponentially in recent years with the adoption of cloud-based applications and services (eg Dropbox, Skype etc). While shadow IT can improve employee productivity and drive innovation, it can also introduce serious security risks to organisations through data leaks, potential compliance violations and more.

    Source: Gartner

    Single Sign-On

    A service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials (eg name and password) to access multiple applications. The service authenticates the end user for all the applications the user has been given rights to and eliminates further prompts when the user switches applications during the same session.

    Source: TechTarget

    Spoofing

    A type of scam where an intruder attempts to gain unauthorised access to a user’s system or information by pretending to be the user. The main purpose is to trick the user into releasing sensitive information in order to gain access to his/her bank account or computer system or to steal personal information like passwords.

    Source: TechTerms, Investopedia

    Two-Factor Authentication

    Also referred to as 2FA, this verification process typically requires a correct login plus another verification check. For example, if 2FA is enabled on an online bank account, users may be required to enter a temporary code sent to their phone or email address to complete the login process.

    Source: TechTerms

    AI

    Artificial Intelligence

    Machine or software technology that mimics human intelligence. Rather than the computer following preset commands, AI can learn, recognise speech, plan, solve problems and self-correct. Most AI used today is classified as weak or narrow AI, in that it is focused on a single or narrow set of tasks (a virtual assistant, for example). Strong AI, which is theoretical today, would be able to use its intelligence in a broad range of situations and perform well in all of them.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Skymind, Techopedia

    NLP

    Natural Language Processing

    A subset of AI, NLP allows machines to understand human language as it is spoken. NLP is used in both systems that understand human commands, like Alexa or Siri, and in systems that read text.

    Source: TechTarget, Techopedia

    ML

    Machine Learning

    A subset of AI, ML is the use of algorithms to help machines “learn” new information without having to be programmed. Machine learning guides things like product recommendations a user gets based on past purchases.

    Source: TechTarget, Techopedia

    Augmented Reality

    An overlay of digital imagery or content on the real world. Examples include the Pokemon Go! game and pop-up displays on cars that show information like driver speed.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget

    ERP

    Enterprise Resource Planning

    Software designed to integrate the different systems used to run a business so that data can easily flow between them. These business systems might include human resources, accounting, procurement and project management.

    Source: TechTarget, Oracle

    Marketing Automation

    Software that lets marketers build better relationships with customers by automating messages to them including emails, social media and website communications.

    Source: TechTarget, Hubspot

    Open Source

    Software whose source code is open to the public. This means others can modify it and it is often designed communally. Open-source software is typically free.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Merriam-Webster

    SaaS

    Software as a Service

    A form of cloud computing that allows users to access software housed on a server elsewhere via the internet, unlike the traditional model that requires software be installed on that device.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Software Advice

    Virtual Machine

    The process of running another operating system on a machine using virtualisation software. The virtual system is segregated from the main system. Reasons to run a virtual machine include trying a new operating system before installing it, running old or incompatible software and testing suspicious files.

    Source: TechTerms, Techopedia

    API

    Application Programming Interface

    A protocol that programmers use when writing code to enable different systems to communicate with each other. It provides developers with standard commands for performing common operations.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget

    Cache

    A computer’s way of storing information, often temporarily, so it can be quickly accessed.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Merriam-Webster

    Cloud

    A broad term to describe a system of storing data on a different server and accessing it via a network. The server could be offsite or onsite.

    Source: TechTerms, Merriam-Webster

    Public cloud: using cloud services that open to the public to store applications or files and access them via the internet.

    Private cloud: cloud-computing services that are provided for an individual organisation or company to serve its users.

    Hybrid cloud: a combination of the public and private cloud. Businesses use a hybrid method for flexibility.

    Source: TechTarget

    Cookie

    A small file left on a user’s machine by a website. The file stores information sent by the website, and each time the user returns to the site, the site can access the file and add information.

    Source: TechTarget, Merriam-Webster

    Metadata

    Data about other data. For example, image file metadata might include the creation date, image resolution and file size. Some types of metadata, like file size, are created automatically, while others are created by the user, such as keywords used for website metadata.

    Source: TechTarget, Merriam-Webster

    SEO

    Search Engine Optimisation

    The practice of trying to get a website to appear atop the results list when a person searches for a topic via a search engine (eg Google, Bing). Developers input various forms of metadata to get the search engine to believe their site is most relevant.

    Source: TechTerms, TechTarget

     

     

  • 14 Mar 2019 8:30 AM | Anonymous member

    Group Election of Officers meetings are coming around again so I have re-published my blog about why you should put your hand up for a position on the Group Management Team (GMT).

    Unfortunately, many groups run with a bare minimum of GMT members where only a few do all the work to keep the group functioning and delivering meetings and events for all its members. Eventually, this can be exhausting. There is some truth in the old adage that many hands make light work and the more people on the GMT, the less work that needs to be done by any one individual. This is especially helpful when we are all working in a voluntary capacity and most of us are already in very demanding jobs.

    The group needs you!

    It goes without saying that the most obvious reason is that a group cannot survive without a GMT. At the least, it needs a President, Finance Officer and Membership Officer. In the ideal world, there should also be a Vice-President, Meetings Coordinator, Admin Officer, Sponsorship Coordinator and Newsletter/Social Media Officer and a couple of general members who can do ad hoc tasks and pick up projects such as helping to organise Administrative Professionals Day.

    Gain new skills

    Joining the GMT may give you an opportunity to try your hand at a skill that you don’t get in your day job. For instance, I know people who have taken on the finance role because they don’t have any accounting functions in their work role. It’s amazing how many PA/EA roles these days require you to do some basic accounts work, such as budgets and reconciliations, and taking on the Finance Officer role is a great way to gain these skills. The same can be said of many of the other GMT positions, such as minute taking, project and event management, leading a team, etc.  As National President I have been lucky to attend many professional development and networking opportunities and am learning so much. I make a point of sharing any new information with my manager and colleagues, as well the National Executive Team (NET) so that many people benefit in turn.

    Transferable skills

    I think it would be safe to say that every position on the GMT provides you with meaningful transferable skills to enhance your CV. As noted in the paragraph above, tasks such as project and event management, basic accounting, budgeting, minute taking, running a meeting, leading a team, problem solving, report writing, planning, working to deadlines; they’re all things that turn up in position descriptions. Having these things on your CV already may give you the edge over your competitors for your dream job. I know people who have acquired great jobs because of the skills they learnt on the GMT.

    Boost your CV

    Every skill and relevant experience that you can add to your CV, or discuss at your next performance appraisal, adds to enhancing you as an employee. It may mean you are considered for a new work project, or increase your chances of a pay rise or new job. In addition, being actively involved in your professional development association not only shows that you are serious about your career and professional development but also indicates that you are a motivated individual who is prepared to ‘muck in’ and get things done.

    Self-confidence

    Taking on a role with the GMT is a safe place to stretch your administrative muscle. There will be others on the GMT, or within the group, who can mentor you in your learning new skills. If you take on a role you already have experience with, you could be the mentor for someone else who is learning. Of course, there is that amazing feeling of a job well done and the satisfaction that you are giving back to your Association. There’s also a lot of pride in knowing that you are helping the group to tick along. The feeling of fulfillment I get when the NET comes up with a tangible solution or brings an idea to fruition is exhilarating, especially when it's something that will directly benefit AAPNZ members.

    Camaraderie

    There’s nothing quite like being in a team of people working towards a common goal. You will meet every month and get to know the other team members really well. I, and I know of several others, have formed life-long friendships with people I worked alongside on the GMT. I looked forward to GMT meetings where I could spend time with these people, working hard for the beginning and then having a laugh together over coffee/wine and a snack. I look forward to the NET meetings in the same way. Yes, there’s a massive agenda with some rather challenging topics, but we make sure there are chocolate biscuits and lots of laughter to get us through. There are several ways you can make meetings feel less onerous and building friendships is just the start.

    These reasons are just my musings on why being on the GMT is a good idea. If you speak to your current or past GMT members, they may have other things to add.

    So, if you are thinking about it, or even haven’t been thinking about it until now, be brave and put your hand up and get that nomination form in! Join your GMT and contribute to your professional Association. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

  • 12 Dec 2018 8:53 AM | Anonymous member

    So, what happened with the survey information you provided for the WASummit?

    The future of work questions fed into the New Zealand presentation on technology and the future for admin. We had a whopping 142 responses to this questionnaire! Thank you!

    There are only 24% of NZ administrators who are worried about the future, with the clear majority in the 41-50+ age bracket. Thirty-seven percent are excited with 35% feeling confident. This is excellent news. Other countries are not faring quite the same and there is a lot of angst about how technology, AI especially, will affect the profession. Case in point, one of the delegates from Spain had recently been laid off due to technological advances.

    It is pleasing to note that no-one believed that the role would disappear or be performed entirely by machines. Just over half (54%) think that the role will be combined with other roles and the remainder see the role collaborating with technology or being completely different.

    Three quarters of NZ administrators report putting in an effort of 7-8 (with 10 being the highest) towards developing new skills to assist with work in the future. There is also significant effort going into sharing information, building new networks, finding new ways to work smarter and new ways to contribute, learning the technology, undertaking training and being innovative (all areas where AAPNZ can help!). Where the effort is more spread (ie, less effort) is in the areas of reading about digitisation, AI and technology, engaging in social media, participating in mentorship programmes and benchmarking against other administrative professionals.

    The takeaway from the survey is that NZ administrative professionals certainly need to make more of an effort to educate themselves about technology – read every article you come across about it! I will try to include more such articles and links in the National President newsletter in future.

    With regard to the workplace harassment questionnaire, we received far fewer responses. The results show that 95% of NZ administrative professionals have witnessed workplace bullying during their career, with 68% reporting that they had been the victim of bullying.

    For sexual harassment, half of respondents had witnessed this behaviour, with half also having been the target of such unwanted attention. 

    Respondents were asked to rate how big a problem workplace bullying is in New Zealand (with 10 being the highest). The average came out at a 6, which is actually pleasingly low. It helps that NZ has fairly robust legislation in place for the protection of people at work.

    A total of 59% of respondents agree that the trauma of bullying lasts forever, with 32% agreeing that the trauma lasts for several years.

    Respondents were asked to suggest three anti-harassment initiatives they might introduce if they were the CEO. Of course there was a large list of activities, although there were some common themes:

    • Communication
    • Counseling
    • Reporting of incidents
    • Open door policies for staff to talk in a safe environment
    • Training for both staff and managers
    • Workshops on bullying
    • Zero tolerance

    We also surveyed members with regard to the identity and image of the profession. The statistics for respondents generally reflected the make up of the AAPNZ membership, in that the majority were in the 41-50 and 50-60 age bracket. Respondents were well educated with 30% having achieved a National Certificate or Diploma and 16% with degrees.

    Respondents were asked to provide words that come to mind when thinking about the administrative profession. There were 73 different words, although as expected, there were some repeated ones. These were: professional (16 times), undervalued (9 times), organised (6 times), skilled/multi-skilled (5 times), go-to person (4 times) with reliable, supportive, helpful, efficient and confidential each mentioned three times. Personally, I think this displays a really positive self-assessment of the profession in New Zealand!

    Respondents overwhelmingly perceived their role as being extremely valuable (68%) or valuable (25%) – a total of 93%. This portrays a good, healthy self-esteem. The perception of management for administrative professionals was also relatively positive with the majority (43%) reporting that they believed management felt their role was very valuable and 17% reporting as extremely valuable. However, 32% rated management’s perception as only somewhat valuable which does raise some concern. In terms of the perception of other people within an organisation assistants believe they are not seen as being as valuable as they believe they actually are. The category of ‘somewhat valuable’ was selected by almost half (45%) of respondents. Having said that, the extremely valuable (13%) and very valuable (25%) were not too far behind.

    Results from the feelings about the image of the profession were very positive. A total of 70% agree or strongly agree that the profession has a good image. Seventy-two percent agree or strongly agree that there are significant differences in the way the profession is viewed in different countries (which is the case, given what we heard at the WASummit) and 90% agreed or strongly agreed that there are significant differences in perception within different industries.

    The results were more spread for the question of whether respondents believe their organisation has a good understand of their role. Fifty-eight percent agreed or strongly agreed with 20% feeling neutral and 17% disagreeing. Managers’ appreciation of contribution scored better with 75% agreeing or strongly agreeing.

    Salaries was another question that showed a spread of opinion. Twenty-six percent of respondents disagree that they are being paid appropriately for their skills, with 23% feeling neutral. Thirty-five percent of respondents agree with only a quarter strongly agreeing that they are adequately remunerated.

    Pleasingly, 77% of respondents are proud to tell people they’re an administrative professional. 

    With regard to the career path and position descriptions survey, we had a total of 45 responses. The most common job role/title for administrative professionals in organisations within New Zealand is Office/Team Administrator (33%).

    Respondents stated they were required to work a reasonable number of hours (93% agreeing or strongly agreeing). They felt they had the skills to fulfil their responsibilities (91% agreeing or strongly agreeing) and they believed their work is appreciated (78% agreeing or strongly agreeing).

    Administrative professionals said they were happy with their opportunities for professional growth (67% agreeing or strongly agreeing). They felt they understood the skills needed to advance (76% agreeing or strongly agreeing) and believe administrative professionals can advance in their current organisation (35% agreed or strongly agreed). The small percentage indicated in the last result might indicate the difference in employer; public sector vs private business.

    Leadership (64%), Management (62%) and Business technology (49%) were the top three skills respondents wanted in order to continue their advancement.

    Seventy percent of respondents felt satisfied with their career progression so far. Fifty-seven percent intend to continue their career with their current organisation, whilst a slightly larger number (64%) indicated they may need to change role/employers to advance their career.

    Respondents indicated that actively engaging their manager in discussions regarding their career goals (53%), developing a career plan (51%), and seeking clarity on next possible career steps (49%) would improve or accelerate their career development.

    Fifty-two percent of respondents indicated their job description accurately showed the skills needed for the job, 51% indicated it gave them a precise idea of what was expected, whilst 40% said their job description did not help them with succession planning or career progression.

    An alarming, but not surprising, 82% of respondents indicated their organisation did not have a career ladder for their role. Results indicate that 50% of respondents felt more engaged because their organisation has a career ladder for them whilst 50% indicated they may need to change employers to climb the career ladder. This was the only question that had an even split in responses for and against, with a large number indicating they were neutral.  This completely contradicted the previous outcome and perhaps indicates a big difference between public sector employees and those in private business. 

     

  • 8 Oct 2018 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    "In today’s culture of de-cluttering and enhanced social responsibility, I can’t think of a gift more personal and satisfying than the opportunity to donate to a charity (or charities) which resonates for you."

    Alison McKessar, National President of the Association of Administrative Professionals NZ didn't want the usual 'clichéd' thank you gifts for their national conference and AGM this year.

    And she says they found the perfect gift in The Good Registry's Good Gift Cards.

    The Association of Administrative Professionals NZ Inc (AAPNZ) held its 2018 Annual National Conference and 45th Annual General Meeting at Te Papa in Wellington in August.

    "Many of the presenters we had were seasoned professionals who, no doubt, will have received countless clichéd thank you gifts in the past. We didn’t want to give out bottles of wine that might not be consumed (what if we gave them Sauvignon Blanc, and they only drink reds?!) and we certainly didn’t want to gift things that might cause issues with luggage weight or questions from Customs for our international visitor," Alison said.

    "Early on in the planning of our conference, our 1st National Vice-President suggested The Good Registry as a great alternative to unwanted thank you gifts. I instantly loved the idea and had seen it done at another conference I’d attended. Not only did it save us from trying to decide what to buy people that was meaningful but we got to support whichever charity was close to our presenters’ hearts.

    "When I gave away the first Good Gift Card to our presenter and explained how it worked, I could hear the noises of surprise and approval from our audience. Every presenter who received a Good Gift Card expressed what a fantastic gift it was; so much more personal than a bottle of wine or bunch of flowers could ever be."

    Alison said their international keynote speaker, who had flown from Dubai for the conference, was totally blown away.

    "She said that it was the best thank you gift she’d ever been given and she would be investigating whether similar businesses existed in other countries." 

    "For AAPNZ, and for me in particular, the knowledge that we were thanking our presenters with gifts that would benefit other people or animals and organisations provided a real sense of accomplishment and ‘paying it forward’. The fact that the gift card recipients could choose from many different charities also made the gifts so much more personal and important for them, too."

    • You can find out more about The Good Registry's Good Gift Cards, and why they are the perfect gift, here - or buy one right now, here
    • AAPNZ Inc is a not-for-profit, voluntary national association that provides professional development and recognition to people in administrative roles. There are hundreds of different titles for those who work in administrative-based roles and these include executive assistants, personal assistants, administration managers, co-ordinators, receptionists, call centre operators, accounts staff, school secretaries, industry trainers, etc — anyone involved either full- or part-time in administrative roles, in any industry. Administrators from all types of businesses in New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and even other parts of the world, join AAPNZ Inc for opportunities to learn and grow in their role, develop contacts and get a better understanding of how important their role is to any business.
    • Photo courtesy of Kylie Cornwell, norma and me photography 

    This article first featured on The Good Registry blog, and the AAPNZ Conference has also featured in The Good Registry October Newsletter.

       
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