When Greater Sydney was plunged into lockdown at the end of June, some of the first jobs on the chopping block were administrative roles, as businesses large and small transitioned abruptly – once again – to remote working models.
Plenty of office managers, personal assistants and receptionists had their hours reduced, and these cuts largely affected women, who make up 94 per cent of professionals in the administrative sector. And for admin professionals who were lucky enough hold onto their jobs and hours? Too many were forced to work round the clock to keep things running smoothly during a highly stressful period.
The professionals who do these administrative roles, especially during tumultuous periods like lockdowns, largely go unrecognised by the community for the efforts they put in to keep things moving.
After witnessing the immense diligence and commitment from those working in the administrative space over the past two years, Michelle Bowditch, founder of consulting agency Door20a, set out to shine a light and celebrate this community of hard-working Australians.
Bowditch launched the Australian Admin Awards, a program designed to recognise the professionals who go above and beyond in their admin roles, working to improve the lives of their colleagues and community, often with little acknowledgement.
“It’s another example of women in the workplace being unseen and unheard,” Bowditch told Women’s Agenda. “I woke up five weeks ago after tossing and turning, trying to figure out as an advocate in the space, what I could do to bring joy into this community.”
“These professionals are the glue that sticks everything together. They always have the solution to the problem before it occurs, making the magic happen.”
The Australian Admin Awards is the first program of its kind, where businesses and the community can celebrate the undervalued work being done around the country by those working in businesses in administrative capacities. Bowditch says she wants to see everyone from the receptionist at your local doctor’s practice, the office manager at the local school, as well as executive assistants to CEOs celebrated in the program.
“These awards are to celebrate those unsung heroes,” Bowditch said. “Women working in these roles are always at the back of the picture, they’re never heard. It’s really about recognising these individuals for what they do in business.”
Before launching her own consultancy agency, Bowditch spent years working in executive assistant roles supporting at the CEO and CFO level and she has first-hand experience of the loopholes and lack of recognition there is for administrative support staff. And it’s exactly why she thinks this awards program is so essential.
The awards are inclusive of receptionists, office managers, admin assistants, personal assistants, executive assistants and executive business partners, and there are also special categories dedicated to admin professionals who have streamlined the use of technology in an organisation, those who have been change catalysts, and those who have worked as the heartbeat of their community.
There is also a “People’s Champion” category, dedicated to anyone in the administrative space who has done something incredible for a business or person.
Nominations are now open, until the 14th of November, and Bowditch would love to encourage you to nominate yourself, or someone you work with who has gone above and beyond. “I want an organisation’s HR Director or CEO to nominate someone who they’ve noticed,” she said. “That’s what it’s about.”
The award ceremony will be held at the Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney on 18th January 2022.