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How Admins Can Survive Layoff Overload

How Admins Can Survive Layoff Overload

Margot Carmichael Lester, Monster Contributing Writer

It’s no secret admins often bear the brunt of layoffs. With fewer support staffers in the building, admins often have to do their regular jobs plus responsibilities formerly handled by recently departed colleagues. That makes a stressful work environment even more challenging. But with a deliberate plan, you can thrive – here’s how.

Focus on the Positive

“Stay focused, and stay positive,” advises Heather Mayfield, vice president of branch sales and operations for Snelling in Dallas. Having a negative attitude, talking negatively to coworkers about layoffs and ignoring extra work you’ve been assigned are not good strategies.

Easier said than done, of course, since, as Mayfield points out, fighting the negativity can be as much of a job as the growing workload – and some days twice as draining. Her advice: “One thing to consider personally or to ask nagging coworkers is, ‘If you were unemployed and looking for a job in today’s market, would you take the one you are being asked to do today?’ Sometimes we just need a little perspective.”

And if you still need to vent? “Do yourself a favor and pick someone outside your company,” Mayfield suggests.

Understand Expectations

If you’re asked to assume new responsibilities, make sure you know exactly what’s expected. “Ask your supervisor for detailed job descriptions of laid-off coworkers whose responsibilities you are now expected to shoulder,” says Onzelo Markum III, CEO of The Markum Group LLC, a Houston-based change management and leadership development consultancy.

Set up a meeting to review the new tasks and receive guidance on priorities. “Use simple, succinct language, like, ‘There are five tasks that I now have to do in addition to the four I already have on my plate; just so we are both clear as we move forward, what can I stop doing, or what is the new priority order of the new combined task list so my effort is aligned with the new vision?’” Markum says. “This will help you get alignment from your supervisor on what the priorities of the new reality are.”

Stay Organized and Manage Your Time

The most important way to do more is to schedule and organize your day. Work with to-do lists. Delegate if possible. Consider only checking email certain times of day instead of every time a new email pops up.

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