The Role of the Office Secretary
The role of secretary is one which is absolutely central to the smooth running of an organisation, particularly an organisation of notable size. It is the responsibility of the secretary to not just ensure that telephone calls are curtly answered and appropriately handled, but also to deal with all other communication and make sure that appointments are made, kept and handled meticulously. Regardless of the industry, a secretary must present themselves as an example of the ethos, mentality and professionalism of an organisation in terms of both their correspondence and on a face to face basis. Organisation is absolutely imperative to first rate secretarial work but by no means the only factor to be taken into consideration.
A secretary should have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the company they work for; they should know the structure of the organisation whilst also possessing the ability to make potentially critical decisions; think on their feet and have exceptional communication skills. In the modern office environment, the key attributes of a secretary have grown substantially. A high level of competency with computers, complex telephone systems and both digital and physical filing systems are now likely to be equally as important as good interpersonal skills, initiative and time management. Whilst skills such as touch typing are to all intents and purposes obligatory in the modern business environment.
There is no limit to the tasks a secretary could be expected to undertake and different sized organisations have different needs. In many cases the secretary could be responsible for handling expenses, organising transport arrangements and even be highly involved with payroll and other areas of financial administration. One of the universal requirements however is that a secretary is able to take the initiative to make decisions quickly and to all intents and purposes: correctly.
Within a company, the secretary is the individual most likely to have the highest level of interaction with the office equipment. From the printer, to the photocopier to the filing cabinet they need to be aware of the machinations, requirements and maintenance of all forms of office equipment and highly competent in terms of its use. From the perspective of the employer: it is in their best interests to ensure that the office supplies and equipment they invest in is up to the task and capable of performing day in day out without issue. Even the most experienced and proficient secretary will struggle to keep the office running smoothly if they don't have access to the most appropriate tools for the job.
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