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The Admin’s Niche ISSUE


Aug 2010

The Admin’s Niche (previously known as the Coffee Break Ezine)

In this issue

is supplied by the Institute for Certified Administrative Professionals

Secretaries’ Day is around the corner …

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South Africa draws praise as Soccer World Cup end

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What your workspace says about you

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The Biofeedback Stress Relief Coach

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10 Common errors “Spell Check” won’t catch

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Sick and Tired of Work

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011 615 2868

Motivation to get Motivated

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The future of OCD

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Nibbles of Knowledge

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“You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." ~ Henry Ford ~

(July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production

Happy August everyone!!

levels within the office - turn to page 6 and 9 for more information.

The Soccer has come and gone, Congrats to Spain for winning the cup and Congrats to South Africa for hosting such a lovely world cup.

F7 does not save all spelling mistakes - turn to page 7 and discover where it is where you can go wrong.

To all the woman out there - happy Woman’s day on Monday, enjoy the long weekend, and relax a bit

If any article ideas pop into your head, please let me know by sending me an email to

SECRETARIES’ DAY is around the corner and the IAAP Johannesburg Chapter-at-Large would like to invite you to join them at Amici Pizzeria for a networking lunch experience. Page 2 has more information, contact Kelly for a booking form on 011 615 2868 or

If you would like to write an article that is aimed at helping administrative professionals do their jobs more effectively or advance their career, or perhaps you had a moment of creativity, please feel free to e-mail the article to me on:

Everyone has their own little quirks in the office, but what does it say about you.

If the article is approved and appears in the Ezine, you will be named as the author.

This month’s ezine is packed full of interesting articles I came across while reading different sites, I have found a few cute office gadgets that could assist the stress

Till next month …

Kelly CAP, The Editor

RESPECT A WOMAN BECAUSE.... You can feel her INNOCENCE in the form of a daughter You can feel her CARE in the form of a sister You can feel her WARMTH in the form of a friend You can feel her PASSION in the form of a beloved You can feel her DEDICATION in the form of a wife You can feel her DIVINITY in the form of a mother You can feel her BLESSING in the form of a grandmother Yet she is so TOUGH too... Her heart is so TENDER... So NAUGHTY… So CHARMING… So SHARING… So MELODIOUS… She is a WOMAN… And she is life!!! To all the wonderful women I know, I hope you have a fantastic woman's month, and woman's day on Monday, and don't forget how special you are!!!

Secretaries’ Day is around the corner ...

Join the International IAAP Chapter at Large in South Africa to celebrate the Office Professional on Secretaries’ Day. Date: 1 September 2010 Time: 12h30 for 13h00 Venue: Amici Pizzeria Republic Road, cnr William Nichol Drive, Hurlingham, Sandton

Cost: R250 *Book four seats and receive the fifth seat for free* Come and enjoy a lunch celebrating the office professional and networking with the International IAAP Chapter-at-Large in Johannesburg.

Menu Starter: Greek, Italian and Mozzarella salads served with cheese and plain focaccia Main: Any pizza or pasta Dessert: Coffee or espresso or cappuccino or Irish coffee or Dom Pedro

There will also be an IAAP Raffle (R5) for sale and each delegate will receive a goodie bag at the end of the event!!

For more information contact Kelly: 011 615 2868 alternatively email

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South Africa Draws Praise as Soccer World Cup Ends By Nasreen Seria and Mike Cohen With assistance from Renee Bonorchis, Franz Wild and Ron Derby in Johannesburg. Editors: Anne Swardson, Philip Sanders Adapted from: -praise-as-soccer-world-cup-ends.html

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa has pulled off what many said couldn’t be done: a soccer World Cup that filled stadiums and gave thousands of fans a party they won’t forget. The month-long tournament, the world’s most-watched sporting event, ended yesterday with a victory for Spain at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Foreign visitors to the competition may have numbered half a million, the Finance Ministry said, exceeding an earlier estimate by 200,000. The absence of any serious crime, the tournament’s smooth operation and the publicity given to South Africa will help the country shed its reputation for murder and racial tension, said Pratibha Thaker, Africa director at the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit. Now, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says he hopes the country can use that drive to tackle unemployment, AIDS and poor educational standards. “Before the World Cup, the news was all about crime and AIDS,” Thaker said in a July 5 phone interview. “What we’re seeing now is a very favourable

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image. This will help to boost tourism and boost the recovery.

compared with 48.7 billion rand from gold mining.

It’s crucial that the government keeps the momentum going.”

“The real benefits lie ahead of us, provided we work hard to nurture new relationships and draw numbers of new tourists and investments to our shores,” Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in an emailed statement today. Johannesburg-based Tourvest Investment Corp., Africa’s biggest package-tour operator, and Peermont Global Ltd., owner of the Emperor’s Palace resort, say they plan to step up investment in anticipation of a tourist boom.

South Africa’s high school graduation rate has dropped for the past six years, more people suffer from AIDS than in any other country, 2.1 million people are on waiting lists for public housing and the 25.2 percent jobless rate is the highest of 62 countries tracked by Bloomberg. Poverty and Unemployment If government, business and labour unions “can play as a team, we can scale up our collective efforts towards the improvement of all South Africans,” Gordhan told economists in Johannesburg on July 8. “What we’ve learned from the six years of preparation for the World Cup is that if we can focus our minds, we can put an end to poverty and unemployment in this country.” More immediately, the tournament may encourage more people to visit South Africa, where tourism represents 7.9 percent of the economy and employs 920,000 people. The industry earned 79.4 billion rand ($10.5 billion) last year,

Even if only a small proportion of the final’s estimated 750 million viewers visit South Africa, “that would be a very meaningful increase in the number of tourists,” Peermont Chief Executive Officer Anthony Puttergill said by phone from Johannesburg on July 2. ‘Play as a Team’ Though some of the 43 billion rand spent preparing for the World Cup went for building or renovating 10 stadiums, South Africa also invested for competitiveness. It upgraded a 50- kilometre (31mile) highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg to 10 lanes,

South Africa Draws Praise as Soccer World Cup Ends By Nasreen Seria and Mike Cohen

set up a new bus system with dedicated lanes and built a rapid train service from Johannesburg’s airport to Sandton, where the stock exchange is based.

The government set up 56 special courtrooms to try offenses related to the World Cup, such as theft and violence. They have seen only 194 cases, almost all for petty crime.

The new roads will slash commuting times, and the airports and train service will make life easier for tourists and business travellers.

“The police were efficient and the special courts were effective,” the competition’s organizing committee chief, Danny Jordaan, said on July 9, according to the South African Press Association. “The question is how do we maintain this?”

The World Cup has helped South Africa learn “expertise to deal with creating jobs, improving education and providing health services,” President Jacob Zuma told reporters in Johannesburg today. The payoff of the tournament will be increased tourism and investment, he said. “We mustn’t underestimate the change in perceptions about South Africa and our continent,” Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Plc’s Absa Group Ltd., the country’s third-largest lender, said on June 27. “People have visited and had a good time. The dividends of that we’ll be reaping for a long time.” Crime and Punishment South African officials took extraordinary measures to prevent crime against tourists in a country where the murder rate is six times higher than in the U.S. and almost 12 times the level in Britain.

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Peter Attard Montalto, an economist at Nomura Plc in London, said he was skeptical the tournament’s success will result in increased investment or transform the efficiency of the state. “People soon forget the World Cup when you start talking about the outlook for wages, electricity prices and the issues around supply-side constraints, such as education and health,” Montalto said. “It always comes back to the bottom line.” Less Than Ghana Investment in South Africa was 19.3 percent of gross domestic product last year, compared with 26 percent in Nigeria, 30 percent in Ghana and 29 percent in Senegal, according to the International Monetary Fund. “South Africa has been moving too slowly,” Mark Mobius, who

oversees $34 billion in emerging -market investments at Templeton Asset Management Ltd., said by phone from Hong Kong. “They are not moving at the pace that is required to prevent major political upheavals.” South Africa’s economy, which contracted 1.8 percent in 2009, needs to grow by 6 percent a year to reach the official goal of reducing unemployment to 14 percent by 2014, according to the government. Unemployment and housing shortages fueled a wave of protests in townships around the country earlier this year. “South Africa will certainly benefit from the World Cup in terms of tourism,” Iraj Abedian, chief executive officer of PanAfrican Capital Holdings Ltd., a Johannesburg-based adviser to potential investors, told reporters on July 2. “The question is whether we can use the same level of coordination and political will to get it right on housing, education and health care.”

What Your Workspace Says About You by Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs

If you spend a lot of time at a desk, personalizing the space makes sense--whether it's a private corner office or a shared cubicle. But just as your clothes and body language make an impression on others, your workspace gives coworkers and clients a distinct impression about you. Plants, books, artwork--even your name plaque--transmit clues about your efficiency, your sociability, and your competence, experts say. "Everything in your office sends a message, whether you want it to or not," says Lisa Marie Luccioni, an adjunct professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati. So what might they be thinking when they see your space?

You'd rather be fishing (or skiing, or skydiving, or building birdhouses). Evidence: Pictures and artefacts from your hobby on every surface. There's a delicate balance between sharing your interests and giving the impression that you're daydreaming all day about jumping out of planes or skiing, according to Barbara Pachter, business etiquette expert and the author of "New Rules at Work": "Pictures of your hobby are good conversation starters, but if you have too many of them, it makes people wonder whether you're really daydreaming about fly-fishing."

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They can hang around. Evidence: A full candy dish, aspirin in the drawer, well-tended plants, pictures of children and babies. "Things like an open door, candy, a comfortable guest chair, and photos of people--but not pictures of objects--signal an extroverted workspace that people will feel free to linger in," says Sam Gosling, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas.

They shouldn't hang around. Evidence: Flimsy guest chair, guest chair covered in files, or no guest chair. Your desk faces away from guests. Minimal or no decoration. "Even if your office has photos or artwork, but they're images of things and not people, [people] can make an assumption you're more introverted and might not want them to linger," Gosling says.

a formal title, they think you want to be respected for your rank," Luccioni says.

You've just been hired, you've just been fired, or you'd like to leave soon. Or you'd rather be temping. Evidence: Files in boxes, no decorations, no books, no plants, no pictures, and no name plaque.

They should avoid doing business with you. Evidence: Messy piles of papers on every surface. Half-eaten donuts atop teetering stacks of binders. Carpet stains. Experts agree that a messy office can seriously damage your reputation as a conscientious person. "It's hard to function in a messy office, and people assume your office chaos will spill over to their project and their files will be lost in your mess," Pachter says.

You demand respect. Evidence: Multiple degrees on the wall, awards on the shelf, pictures of you and important people, magazines featuring articles about you. The plaque on your desk says your full name and title, and lists your advanced degrees. "Name plaques form a strong impression. If it says just your first name, people assume you're friendly and approachable. If it has

Gosling pointed to research that shows people read much more than they should into a messy office. "People think that someone with a messy office is less agreeable, which may not be accurate. My guess is, people assume a mess is inconsiderate."

You don't take the whole "work thing" too seriously. Continued ‌

What Your Workspace Says About You by Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Evidence: Humorous posters, ironic bumper stickers, whimsical images, and toys.

Conscious Decorating Experts have several suggestions on making sure your workspace matches the image you want to project. Err on the conservative side. Especially if clients visit you or if you're in a high-traffic area, you want to make sure people don't stop in their tracks to gawk at your collection of teddy bears or tiki torches. Be careful with controversial items. "Consider the cost:reward ratio of putting up something like a political campaign poster," Luccioni says. "You might find kindred spirits, or you might offend people

and get a first meeting off to a bad start."

Consider the physical arrangement.

All experts say anything potentially racist, sexist, or homophobic, or otherwise disparaging of a group, is a no-no.

"A desk can act as a barrier and give formality, which is good for reviews but can be intimidating," Luccioni says. She adds that a small circular table allows everyone to meet on an equal basis. A power difference, if you want that, can be achieved by giving guests smaller, flimsier chairs.

Check your employee handbook, or ask HR. Your company probably has some guidelines on decorating your work space. They might not even permit any decoration, which makes the issue moot. Follow industry norms. Some industries demand a strict image of seriousness, while others are more laid-back. A poster with a funny or counterculture slogan would be more appropriate in the office of an advertising copywriter than the office a defence attorney.

The Biofeedback Stress Relief Coach. This biofeedback device provides relief for stress in as little as 15 minutes without the use of medication by teaching you to synchronize your breathing with the activity of your nervous system activity for optimal physical and mental relaxation. Relaxation occurs when your vagus nerve (the nerve responsible for decreasing heart rate and pacifying organs) activates, and breathing exercises like those used in yoga and tai chi can induce this state when inhaling and exhaling coincide with the activity of the vagus nerve. After determining your pulse, a wavelength that represents your vagus nerve is shown on the easy-to-read LCD, and the unit provides visual and audible cues that help you synchronize your breathing with the peaks of the wavelength, resulting in optimal vagus nerve activity and relaxation. About the size of an MP3 player, the unit stores unobtrusively in a pocket for convenient travel. Includes two AAA batteries 3 3/4" L x 2 1/2" W x 3/4" D. (8 oz.) Page 7

And if you tend to make snap judgments about others' offices, try to look at the bigger picture, Gosling recommends: "Any one item can have many different purposes. If someone has a plant, maybe they have a green thumb, maybe they're into feng shui, or maybe the plant was left over from the last person in that office. If you see someone with a super neat desk, how do you know whether they're truly neat, or whether they swept everything into a drawer before you stopped by?"

10 Common Errors “Spell Check” Won’t Catch by

While we can rely on a spell checker to catch glaring errors, a computer can’t pick up on all careless mistakes, especially if the word could be correct in a different context. Often word misuse is our mistake. The English language is full of homonyms, or words that have different meanings but sound and look similar, which makes it easy to confuse proper usage.

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is,” whereas “its” refers to possession. Also, watch out for “your” versus “you’re.”

Then versus Than Sales versus Sails Can you imagine writing on your resume that you “increased sails by 20 percent”?! Unless you’re applying to a job for a sail boat manufacturer, this careless mistake will probably get your resume sailing right into the recycling bin. Affect versus Effect

For instance, verbally, you might not even notice the difference between “your” and “you’re.” But in print, the error can lead the reader to perceive you as less intelligent than you are.

There is a lot of confusion around this one but here’s the rule: “Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. It’s as simple as that.

For this reason, it's important to spell check and proofread your documents, especially for the following common misuses, which are so easy to make, you might even have to check your document a couple times to catch them.

The subtlety in pronunciation leads to the rampant misuse of this phrase; however “would of” is never correct and may make you appear as if you are not well-read.

Its versus It’s (and all other apostrophes):

“He threw the ball through the window.” “Threw” is a verb and “through” is a preposition. And speaking of “through,” be careful to make sure you don’t actually mean “thorough” or vice versa.

According to a copy editing instructor for California-based copy editing service provider Edicetera, confusing “its” and “it’s” is the most common error in the English language. That one minuscule apostrophe (or lack thereof) drastically changes the meaning of the entire sentence.

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The best way to master the subtleties of language? Reading of course!

Would Have NOT Would of

Through versus Threw

The slight variation in spelling will not be picked up by a computer, but writing “I am through” when you mean “I am thorough” is quite ironic, don’t you think?

Six is more than five; after five then comes six. “Than” refers to a comparison, while “then” refers to a subsequent event. Supposed To NOT Suppose To “Suppose” is a verb, meaning to think or to ponder. The correct way to express a duty is to write, “I was supposed to…” Wonder versus Wander You can wander around while you wonder why “wander” and “wonder” have such different meanings, yet sound oh so similar. Their versus There versus They’re OK, once and for all: “Their” is possessive; “there” refers to distance; and “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.” Farther versus Further While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish “farther” as physical distance and “further” as metaphorical distance. You can dive further into a project, for instance, or you can dive farther into the ocean.

We know we missed many common careless errors. What mistakes do you see most often?

Sick and Tired of Work? (Or is your workplace making you sick?) out consultants Whitehead Francis Associates - the good news is, yes! But, as Whitehead bluntly puts it, "Rather than just accepting this situation as a natural result of `progress' there is a lot that can be done to alleviate, or even eradicate, these problems." Much of the blame for stress in the workplace, especially in the heavily service-orientated South East of the country, can be laid squarely at the door of modern working practices. i.e. human beings cooped-up like battery hens in so-called 'open-plan' workstations. This may be a convenient (and allegedly more cost-effective) method for business owners and managers to supervise a greater number of staff in the least amount of (often costly) workspace, but recently published research from a prominent Australian University has shown that this modern 'trend' is in itself one of the major causes of stress in the workplace. (Due to the often noisy, cramped, too hot/ cold conditions, lack of privacy, mismatched personality types, etc. plus many more reasons too numerous to mention here.) And if this situation isn't scary enough, there's also the often misnamed, and much misunderstood 'Sick Building Syndrome' with sufferers experiencing, in extreme cases, physical symptoms such as:

A first step, if the latter condition is suspected, should be to report the situation to your landlord, office manager, or whoever is responsible for the building and ask them to have an inspection carried out. If they are unwilling to cooperate then you may have to get local authorities such as an environmental health agency involved. (Or if you'd prefer, an outsourced expert could handle this delicately on your behalf.)” Alan explains further: “After a thorough environmental health inspection has been carried out on a building to determine possible causes for the occupants’ health complaints, there are many measures that can be taken to rectify the situation. A combination of some of the factors mentioned above will usually be involved and all will have to be tackled. Measures taken may include an overhaul or replacement of the ventilation system, structural repairs to prevent leaks and damp, a review of chemicals used in the building, a review of cleaning practices and professional mould removal.”

Can anything be done about it?

Commenting on the modern trend for open-plan working and it’s effect on the people who have to work in such conditions, Whitehead explains: “Because we humans all have different characteristics it’s difficult to generalise too much but clearly if a workplace has been designed poorly where too many bodies are crammed into too small a space then problems are bound to arise. People will become more easily stressed which in turn will give rise to more workplace conflicts. There is also the delicate matter of privacy and our need to be able concentrate fully on the task in hand.

According to Alan Whitehead – principal at office refurbishment & fit

The above mentioned Australian University research was also able to

     

Headache Eye, nose, and throat irritation Dry cough Dry, itchy skin, rashes Dizziness and nausea Sensitivity to odours

Both conditions, either separately or together, have resulted in the unprecedented escalation in the number of 'sickies' being thrown every day resulting in billions of pounds worth of lost productivity.

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clearly demonstrate that productivity dropped dramatically in poorly designed open-plan work spaces. Whitehead cites the following examples: “Say you are sitting at your work station in a mainly open plan office and you hear a door bang at the other end of your floor, your sub-conscious brain will register it momentarily but you will be able to carry on with what you were working on uninterrupted. However, if you hear an unanswered `phone ringing on the next desk and you either wait for it stop or get up to answer it yourself your brain will need at least 15-20 minutes to recover to it’s previous levels of concentration to enable you to get back to where you were in the task you were working on. Or, as is so often the case during the course of your working day, your line manager or a colleague sits down beside you and goes through the details of the next project you’re to work on, then you’ll need up to an hour to recover your concentration before being able to return to your original task!” Is it any wonder then that a lot of open plan workers feel tired, stressed and worn out at the end of each working day wondering where the time went and also irritated that they were unable to finish that important project within the allotted time.” Whitehead concludes by saying: “The important thing is to take action to have a suspected `sick building' investigated as soon as possible as it is likely that the problems will only get worse if not addressed.” So, don't put your business - or the well being of your staff - at risk by ignoring the symptoms. Do get early expert help – the earlier the better. Alan Whitehead, having built and sold several interior fit out businesses during his 35 year career, now guides end-user clients through the `minefields’ of dealing with their own office fit-outs or refurbishments. For Effective Workplace Solutions: Call free on 0800 458 6578 Or email

Motivation to Get Motivated Written by: Dewoun Hayes CAP Adapted from: Motivation is an important skill that yields results. People who are motivated in the workplace will be more productive, influential to others, and highly regarded as the “go to” people.

Create Challenges

Completing the same task over and over again can be boring and people will lose interest with the same routine. Suggest ideas on how to acquire the same results Simply put ‘they get things done.’ Here or goal but from a different prospective. are some tips on how to get yourself and others motivated: People will be more energized and enthusiastic about the project. In other Rewards words, think outside the box.

(the ‘pat on the back’) List short/long term goals Realize that for each task or project you complete you are entitled to a personal reward. Obviously, you will get accolades from your employer such as promotions or bonuses but you should also make a point to reward yourself. Make it fun

When we have a clear outline of how our goals are reached we perform better. It is important to write them down. Of course, they can be altered as the need arises, but putting goals in writing and a thought out plan of how to reach them will solidify what is trying to be accomplished.

Work doesn’t feel like work when there is some amusement instituted. This will make for a positive work environment Think Positive and people will be more productive and want to get the job done and will be The ability to think positively about work yearning for more. or personal life events can be tough when there are obstacles that attempt

to block our goals. Since we cannot change others attitudes, it is up to us to change ours and adapt. Remember, accept the things you cannot change and change your attitude. Thinking positive will make you more productive and enthusiastic about your results.

Create Your Own Mission Statement Creating a mission statement will provide a clearer purpose for what you want to accomplish in your personal and professional development. By frequently referencing your mission statement you will become enlightened and inspired to complete your stated goals. Here is a website to create your mission statement:

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

~ Theodore Roosevelt ~ Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was the 26th President of the United States.

The Future of OCD One of the single greatest gifts (and curses) to anyone who is a little anal retentive is bubble wrap. Sure it's good for protecting packages, but the real joy is popping each and every bubble. You can't let even one survive or your mission as bubble popper has failed. But what happens when you desire the joy of popping bubble wrap but don't have the time to invest in popping a full 60' roll? Welcome to the future, my friends; electronic bubble wrap is here. Each keychain device has 8 rubbery little "bubble" buttons. They have a pretty close tactile feel to actual bubble wrap. Guess what happens when you push one? That's right, you hear a little pop. In a nutshell, that is the simple beauty of the electronic bubble wrap keychain. But there is one bonus, and here's where the OCD can kick in a little. E very 100th "pop" is not a pop at all, but a silly sound: a boing, a bark, a rude noise, etc. And since you can easily pop (pun intended) the keychain in your pocket, you'll always have bubble wrap when you need it most (you know, like when your boss starts talking). Dimensions: 1.75" x 1.5" x 0.5"

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Nibbles of Knowledge ... S TA R T B O O K I N G N O W, B E F O R E I T I S T O O L AT E Important dates:


9 August 2010 National Women's Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa on August 9. This commemorates the national march of women on this day in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the "pass", special identification documents which curtailed an African's freedom of movement during the apartheid era.

18 August 2010








9 Woman’s Day





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Networking 22






IAAP Chapter-at-Large in Johannesburg Networking event For more information call 011 615 2868 or email



Admin's Niche August 2010  

The Admin's Niche ezine is a general newsletter for Office Professioanls in South Africa

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