In the midst of all the confusion and dislocation caused by the Novel Coronavirus, it would be easy to miss Administrative Professionals Week. The pandemic has profoundly affected and disrupted the world of work and new norms are evolving almost daily, however it serves us well to hold fast to customs and practices that have significance.

As we navigate this uncertain and unfamiliar course, many organisations continue to function, albeit in modified circumstances, while others have been shuttered for the time being. Administrative professionals, whether working in offices or from home, are fundamental to the continued operation of essential services. They have risen to the unprecedented challenge of ensuring that the wheels of government, industry, business, and the health services continue to turn, as they provide frontline workers with the support that allows them to carry out their duties. Without their Herculean efforts, healthcare, financial, social and other services would grind to a resounding halt.

An unhappy effect of the pandemic is that some administrative professionals have had to be furloughed, and unfortunately, yet others have been let go with little or no prospects of returning to their former employment. This has placed these workers on the breadline, and it is hoped that they will be able to access appropriate grants in the immediate future.

The role of administrative professionals will continue to evolve whether organically or as forced by circumstances, and they must be trained and prepared to navigate the new demands of their profession. Critical to their success, will be the implementation of practices and procedures to protect their health and safety in the workplace.

Bouquets, gifts and luncheons might be scarce this year, but our administrative professionals can rest assured that recognition and appreciation of their invaluable contribution to national development are not. I thank them for their sterling service and support and extend best wishes on behalf of the nation for a safe and productive Administrative Professionals Week.