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Office administrative assistants provide office support to businesses in several settings such as in the legal, medical, financial or other professional fields. The assistants' tasks and duties vary according to their specific roles and the needs of their employers or the assistants' level of experience. However, general duties are common for most administrative staff.
Office administration staff prepares and distributes correspondence such as letters, emails and newsletters for clients. The staff directly deals with any inquiries from customers; however if staff are unable to provide the required support then they are responsible for passing it on to the appropriate personnel. Office administration workers also prepare and send memos and announcements to staff, and are sometimes required to mail out correspondence, so they should be familiar with postage rates and regulations.
Office administration staff answer phone calls and assist customers with any questions they may have about the company’s services, or transfer them to the appropriate department. In some cases the caller may ask to leave a message for another staff member, in which case it is the office administrator’s duty to record the message in detail and take down important contact information such as the caller’s name, phone number and the best time to reach the caller.
Office administrators use databases to enter and manage client details for future reference. Office administrators also produce reports based on this database information. The reports are generally used in meetings or conferences, or passed on to senior staff members.
Booking appointments, making travel arrangements, scheduling conferences and informing staff of events are duties undertaken by office administration personnel. Schedules can be published electronically through data management programs, which make it easier to publish and send multiple calendars and quickly make update adjustments. An office administration assistant often juggles many tasks at once and is therefore required to have exceptional organizational skills.
Administrative staff use office equipment such as photocopiers, fax machines, scanners and other electronic equipment in their day-to-day duties, so they must be familiar with how these operate. Not only that, they need basic troubleshooting knowledge in order to deal with minor glitches.