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Desk Reference

I used to work as a legal secretary where it was quite common to have a desk reference for your position for the floater secretary to be able to refer to in case of unexpected absenses. I'm about to be out for a long period of time and they're still unsure as to who will be able to sit in for me (if not multiple people) to support my executive. Does anyone use this now? Do you have a sample you could send me? I just want to make sure that I've covered everything. It's easy for the regular tasks to become so second nature that you don't think to explain them to anyone else. I'm also open for suggestions as to things I can add in my reference. Thanks!

Submitted by: Rebeckah Beswick


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I found it in the archives. Search for September 2006, article entitled "Desk Manual." Anonymous on 5/27/2010 4:47:34 PM
I would suggest searching through the archives of the newsletters. I know an article was published on this very topic. Anonymous on 5/27/2010 4:33:46 PM
Hello Rebeckah, I developed a Desk Manual for when I was out on maternity leave. The table of contents is as follows: 1. President & CEO Recurring Tasks & Related Procedures Sorting David?s Paper Mail David?s Travel Coordinating David?s Performance Appraisals Use of Signature Stamp Policy David?s Scheduling Preferences David?s Expenses David?s Personal Postage Tracking External Letters from David In-Charge Policy for When David is Out of Office Reviewing David?s Email PP Votes! Washington Board/PP Network Board 2. Board of Directors FY 10 Board Meeting Timeline FY 10 Board Meeting Organizer Meeting Agenda Template FY 10 Shoebox Report Due Dates Board Packet Instructions Contacting Board Members Board Meeting Table Set Up Sharing President?s Report with Staff FY 10 Committee Meetings Timeline FY 10 Committee Members and Meeting Dates New Board Member Checklist Outgoing Board Member Checklist Board Volunteer Hours Count Other Pertinent Board Information Prospective Board Member Info Packets Changes to Board Member Contact Info Checklist Board Travel Board Expenses 3. Board of Directors Website Creating a New Account for a New PPCW Board Member Uploading Board Packet to Board of Directors Website 4. Executive Assistant Planning Calendar 2010 Commonly Used Acronyms Useful Websites Executive Assistant Job Description Resource Directory 5. Senior Management Team New SMT Member Checklist Outgoing SMT Member Checklist 6. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Expenses for Reimbursement by PPFA Affiliate Document Submission Acronyms Glossary 7. Development Margaret Sanger Society and Capital Campaign Thank You Letters Prospective Capital Campaign Donor Packets 8. Contracts Administration Contracts Procedure Contract Transmittal Form 9. Teleconferencing Premiere Global Services Invoice Procedure Premiere Global Services Memo Premiere Global Services Accounts List Mar 09 10. Legal Documents PPCW IRS Exemption Letter PP Network IRS Exemption Letter PPCW Articles of Incorporation 11. Board Room Reservations PPCW Board Room Reservation Checklist PPCW Board Room Application PPCW Board Room Policy PPCW Board Room Reservation Policy & Procedure Conference Room Instructions I had been compiling a lot of the checklists, protocols and procedures over time, but I did write down a lot of them when I knew I was going on maternity leave. It also helped me when I returned if I couldn't remember how to do something. If you want me to share any of the specific documents from the Desk Manual, please let me know. All the best, Samantha Sam on 5/27/2010 10:55:59 AM
Keep a notepad next to you for one day. Write down the general task that you are doing every time you do something new. ei. answered phone, filed mail, completed letter. The next day (not the same day because the point of the notebook is to catch your everyday tasks) look at the list you created. Think about the details of each general topic. ei answered phones-when you pick up the phone select the blinking light and say". . ." You are right when we get used to our positions we take those details for granted. Especially if a Temp/outside help comes in. Having worked as a Temp I know they will appreciate those details. Just make sure you let the Temp know the notes are there! Well wishes for your extended leave and healthy safe return! Diana Drysdale on 5/27/2010 9:59:26 AM
I too have developed and "Desk Reference" for my position. I began the process by referencing the duties in my job description and developing a process for each one. Such as, "takes minutes at assigned committees". I define a step-by-step approach with the end result; "completed minutes". I started with the process for setting up the meeting, notifying the participants, reserving the meeting room, etc. I also have some programs unique to my position such as ordering and distributing Hospital Week gifts to 3800 co-worker's. This process includes recent vendors, vendor selection, budgeting process, etc. Start with your job description and work from there. I divided my 'Desk Reference" into sections so that it didn't become just one long narrative. The use of bullet points eliminates the reference from becoming a book, and increases the ease of finding the information needed quickly Anonymous on 5/27/2010 9:52:31 AM

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