The role of the administrative assistant has evolved dramatically over the past few decades. As a result of role evolution, job requirements and procedures have also changed. New office technology and business structures necessitate a specialized professional capable of managing change and acquiring additional skills. The development of networks and instructional materials can significantly improve working conditions and morale of administrative professionals. Case studies on the benefits of networks all draw the conclusion that networks and handbooks are worthwhile investments for both companies and assistants.
Office professional are being regarded as valuable team members and companies such as Federal Express, MBNA, and Sprint (Stone) have invested resources in their employees to network inside and outside their companies. These opportunities allow office professionals to share information and experiences through on and off site interactions. The most important networking opportunity is internally within the company. Businesses encourage the development of networks as a way to keep employees motivated and reduce turnover.
Networking within the organization creates an atmosphere of sharing and provides an opportunity for learning. These networks allow employees to improve communication and individual performance in addition to career advancement. A new trend in office terminology is the "career assistant" (Rupp, Huffman, Moore). Companies are beginning to realize the importance of the assistant in a functional rather than supporting role. This individual does not aspire to move to a managerial position but rather a high level assistant with project management responsibilities. Assistants to CEOs, CIOs and CFOs are often considered career assistants as they are project managers without the official title. These roles require a high level of management ability and accuracy. Successful people in these positions make ideal role models for lower level assistants.
When developing a network, the overall objective of the network should be determined. For example, Fannie...