Basic Administration Skills
Every Office Worker Should Learn

See also: How to Write a Report

When you think of office administration, it’s easy to think of the basic tasks usually undertaken by a receptionist or administrative assistant.

However, admin is a basic set of tasks that everyone in the office will have to undertake, and having some essential skills can be useful for your career.

Administrative knowledge can benefit you in your professional and personal lives, as everyone has personal life admin tasks that they need to take care of, including making a household budget, managing your personal paperwork and more.

Even if you’re not a professional office administrator, and just an office worker in a different department such as sales, marketing or finance, you might need to undertake straightforward admin tasks, so it’s good to be prepared.

Office admin is different for each office and organisation, but there are some fundamentals that everyone will encounter and should learn to improve their working lives.

To help, here are some of the basic administration skills that every office worker should know to enhance their career and improve their skillset.

How To Take Minutes

For most meetings, both in-person and virtual, someone needs to take minutes. Minutes are a written record of what was said at the meeting and a summary of any decisions that have been made and actions that need to be taken. Knowing how to take minutes can be a great way to boost your career prospects and get you invited to high-level meetings. Find out more about minute taking and how it could benefit you. You’ll then be able to get yourself involved in minute taking and documenting important goings on in your organisation.

Memo-Writing And Dictation

Minutes aren’t the only form of written information that office workers have to make the most of. There are also written memos, transcriptions of important speeches, and communications that are dictated verbally by others. Learning memo-writing and dictation can be particularly valuable to anyone who wants to integrate themselves with the senior staff in their organisation and become an indispensable part of their office’s administration team. Written communication isn’t easy, and not everyone is good at it, so you should try practising to give yourself a better chance of achieving your career goals and setting yourself apart from other office employees.

Running A Calendar

In most offices and companies, there will be multiple calendars in use, including ones for staff, ones for orders, shipping and more. These calendars need to be synched and kept up to date on a regular basis to ensure that they’re always accurate. Learning to manage a calendar can be a great way to ingratiate yourself into a business, so it’s a useful technique for those who are new to their role. When learning to manage a calendar, make sure that you understand the software options available and how you can use them to save yourself and your organisation time and effort.

Time Management

Understanding how to manage your time extends beyond managing a calendar. It also involves knowing how to prioritise tasks and ensure that everything is done on time and to the right standard. You might think you know how to manage your time, but there are many practical ways you can improve your time management, such as by learning to instantly assess how long a task will take, how to think ahead and other simple techniques. Explore how you can optimise your time to ensure that you make the most of your working day and are able to achieve as much as possible.

Answering Phones And Taking Messages

Every professional, at some point in their career, will have to answer the phone and take messages. This might be because the person who usually does this task is out of the office, or because the operator felt that you were the best person to assist the caller. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure that you practice talking on the phone, answering queries verbally and taking messages for others, which they can respond to later. Practising answering the phone can help you to feel more confident and make it easier for you to deal with any queries that might arise over the phone.

Professional Email Etiquette

While phone skills are still useful, the majority of professional communication is done via email in the modern business world. As such, you need to make sure that you’re up to date with your professional email etiquette. Many of us use emails and digital messages in our personal lives, but it’s also vital that you understand how to word a message in a professional setting, particularly if you’re going into your first job. Take the time to read messages from other professionals in your organisation, and to read any communications guidelines that your company provides, to ensure that you always communicate correctly.

Microsoft Office Skills

Microsoft Office and 365 are some of the most popular software solutions for businesses, so it’s worth learning how to use these tools. The suite of products includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. While you might understand how to open these tools and create documents, you might want to learn other basic MS skills that could be useful going forward.


Teamwork is an important part of any role in any office. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to avoid having to collaborate with others while you work, so you should embrace it and focus on being a strong team player. Being easy to work alongside is an important skill, which will serve you well throughout your career, particularly when others are considering who to approach for a high-level project. You could find that you open more doors for yourself by being a good colleague and easy to work alongside.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

These tasks are useful for enhancing your career and helping you to conduct your important tasks. Take the time to learn how to conduct basic administrative tasks for your job and then see if you can transfer these skills to your personal life.

About the Author

Zoe writes and researches articles for a wide variety of career websites, blogs and magazines, has a strong understanding of current business trends and a passion for entrepreneurism.