Skip to main content

Press Releases

New Release Paragraph

Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

You Think You Get Weird Requests at Work?
OfficeTeam Survey Reveals Strangest Requests Administrative Professionals Have Received

MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a recent survey, OfficeTeam asked administrative professionals to recount the wackiest requests they've received at work. Here are a few of the most unusual responses:

  • "Cut off the boss's tie that was caught in the paper shredder."
  • "Help land a helicopter on top of the building."
  • "Mail a box of dirt."
  • "Translate a presentation slide deck from German to English."
  • "Write a skit about hand-washing."
  • "Communicate between two executives who were not speaking to each other."
  • "Send an email to staff explaining how to flush the toilet properly."
  • "Monitor and track odor complaints in a new building."
  • "Assemble a power washer."
  • "Take samples of toilet paper from all the office bathrooms and compare them."

View a slideshow of the research findings.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). It includes responses from more than 2,200 administrative professionals in the United States and Canada.

Although administrative professionals often help with company events, they couldn't have planned for these requests:

  • "Organize a hula-hoop competition for executive staff."
  • "Purchase and assemble Christmas trees in seven office locations."
  • "Find toy stick horses for a Western-themed event."
  • "Decorate a roasted pig for a department luau."
  • "Get 150 pairs of logoed earmuffs for a party the next day."
  • "Rent a nun costume for an event."

Others worked with a bunch of animals -- literally:

  • "Get a snake out of the women's bathroom."
  • "Take care of the office's pet snails."
  • "Remove nesting geese from the front door area."
  • "Find two-inch plastic monkeys and order 500 of them."

For some assistants, the requests were travel-related: 

  • "Get a visa to India in two hours."
  • "Call airport security to locate a lost shoe."
  • "Give driving directions to a cab driver in a different state."
  • "Call a hotel in London to request soft pillows for the CEO."

"Administrative staff often are tasked with 'saving the day' when unusual situations arise," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "They must be resourceful, have strong people skills and remain calm under pressure -- especially when responding to unorthodox requests."

About the Study

The findings are part of Office of the Future, a new research project from OfficeTeam and IAAP that examines evolving workplace trends impacting administrative professionals. Access an infographic highlighting additional survey results, a cheat sheet for writing effective job descriptions and the latest Office of the Future insights at

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. More information, including online job search services and the OfficeTeam Take Note blog, can be found at

About the International Association of Administrative Professionals

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is the world's largest association for administrative support staff, with more than 450 chapters and approximately 16,000 members worldwide. For more information, visit

SOURCE OfficeTeam

For further information: Cynthia Kong, (650) 234-6298,