Administrative jobs typically involve a lot of work on computers and specialist knowledge in an increasing amount of software programmes. It is easy to see why the role can easily be confused with IT, and why others may come to an admin person with computer issues they aren’t qualified to solve. The use of online video conferencing is one major area that IT professionals are frequently using, but admin staff haven’t yet grasped to their full potential. These are the major differences between the two roles and why online video could be the saving grace for the admin team:
Definition of IT Roles
Target Post Grad lists a number of different roles that fall under the IT category, including software engineer, systems analyst, and technical support. The one thing that all of these jobs tend to have in common is that they are all involved in some way in keeping a computer system or network functioning properly. Sometimes it is at the design stage, and at others times it involves maintenance of existing components. Some keep an eye out for potential problems while some solve problems that have already occurred.
Definition of Admin Roles
Administrative jobs have some similarities to IT roles in that they both involve working closely with all other office departments to keep them functioning. The main difference is that any person in an admin role, be they a secretary or a personal assistant, is that rather than running the technical side of an office, they handle the human side and daily office operations. Both are essential for every other person in a building to do their job properly, but in different ways.
Where Does Video Fit in?
Those in the IT industry have understood and adapted to the new trend in video conferencing services for IT purposes, such as BlueJeans. Many of them who have been in the industry for a while have personally witnessed the evolution of conferencing software from bulky systems which were expensive and hard to use to simple software that everybody can use from their smartphones. This is why the IT field has made full use out of this software, in every area from keeping in contact with their colleagues to providing remote technical support.
Many people working in administration haven’t yet grasped this trend, or may feel as if their specific duties aren’t suited for it. Or perhaps they are worried that it will be too difficult and time consuming to pick up the new skill on top of all the others they need to constantly update. Thankfully for them, the software is now designed to be as easy to use as possible for everyone, even those with barely any computer literacy skills.
To demonstrate, have a look through the list of job roles and responsibilities for secretaries and administrators on Prospects, most of which probably apply to you if you work in this field. Think about how many of them could be made easier through the use of video conferencing:
- Making instant contact with others in the building, rather than relying on constant phone calls (this is particularly important for banks or government institutions which require increased security).
- Allowing visitors access to the building.
- Attending meetings and recording them rather than having to write down minutes and distribute them later on.
- Replacing e-mail or letters.
- Automatically scheduling and arranging meetings.
- Online job interviews for new candidates.
- Matching up external contacts with the relevant staff member.
- Cloud based storage allowing access of documents to all relevant parties.
- Remotely supervising staff or visitors.
- Hosting online events.
- Making emergency announcements.
There are also a number of jobs which could be cut out almost entirely, such as the need to arrange travel and accommodation or book a room for a seminar if people can meet remotely or reduced time sorting mail or sending out packages. Cutting out these tasks gives the administrator more time to focus on their other, more important jobs.
Since the software is easy to use and doesn’t require a new set of skills, even when it does upgrade, there is a lessened need for the admin professional to attend expensive catch up courses in order to keep their resumes up to date. There are also reduced costs to the office, such as a great reduction in the amount of paper used, making things easier for anybody making up budgets and expenditure sheets.
While IT and administrative roles may differ in a lot of ways, there are many lessons that admin staff can learn from their IT department, particularly the use of video conferencing in their day to day work operations. If you haven’t already, try it out or recommend it to your colleagues who work in administration and you will see it benefiting all departments of your office.