We frequently hear the phrase, “A good PA can half your workload, but a bad PA can double it.” This is true. The role of a PA is not one that should be taken lightly. Essentially, their role is to relieve a portion of the responsibilities of the person they are assisting in order to free up their boss’s time to concentrate on the things that they are good at. As a result, if a PA is assisting a CEO, we are asking them to serve as 25% of the CEO workload enabling the CEO to perform other duties involved with the running of the business, and freeing them up.
The core of any PA’s job is to handle the administrative and organisational tasks associated with running someone’s life, such as managing their diary and travel arrangements, scheduling meetings, managing their inbox, and handling expenses, among other things. In reality, the PA role encompasses much more than this, including research, preparation of meeting materials, taking minutes, providing private support, acting as a gatekeeper, working on projects, liaising with direct reports, managing an administration team, getting involved in recruitment and office management, and working on events.
There are a plethora of options available, depending on the size of the company and the requirements of each individual manager. At the end of the day, each PA role is unique, and a good Assistant will be able to adapt their working style to the individual they are looking after, as well as the way that individual prefers to work.
Having a good personal assistant who can also serve as your ambassador and representative is important because it can help to ensure that you are perceived positively by others, which is exactly how you want to be perceived. Considering that a PA is exposed to high-level and often sensitive information, discretion is essential, and depending on where the PA has worked in the past, their little black book may be worth more than its weight in gold.
Ultimately, the PA takes on the role of secretary, continuing to provide basic administrative support while also becoming involved in a variety of other activities. Having a personal assistant will be like having a right hand, a confidante, eyes and ears. It is not uncommon for your PA to move with you as your career progresses, and vice versa.
In addition to making you look better, a good personal assistant will help you to be more efficient in your daily work activities. They will be privy to your secrets, will assist you in your strengths, and will support you in your weaknesses.
We are well aware that hiring a PA will incur additional expenses. We, on the other hand, see it as a worthwhile investment with numerous advantages. By hiring an assistant, you’ll be able to spend more time on the things that matter most to you – growing your business, developing new revenue streams, developing strategy, and building brand recognition. What if you didn’t have to waste several hours a week on menial tasks? Can you imagine how much more productive you could be? The money you would make from that time would more than cover the cost of hiring a personal assistant on a short-term basis.
A personal assistant will also enable you to manage your personal life, as well as the activities that you enjoy, more effectively. It is unlikely that most people would want their concentration on the business world to take away from their responsibilities in their personal lives, and having a PA should allow you to better manage the pressure of time.
When a PA represents their boss, the culture of the office in which they are based will be influenced by their presence there. As an extension of you, but perhaps more approachable to others, they are also able to comprehend and combat issues that are occurring in the workplace as they arise. Knowing and reminding you when someone’s birthday is approaching, when someone has had a baby, or when someone is leaving, a PA will be able to remind you of all of these things, allowing you to create the appropriate atmosphere in the office. Because it only takes one bad apple to sour the whole bunch, having someone on the inside can only be beneficial. This is especially true in small offices.
If you are still unsure about hiring a full-time PA, there is the option of hiring a part-time PA or a Virtual PA, also known as a VA, to assist you. Because of technological advancements and the fact that people are increasingly travelling, it is no longer necessary to have your Assistant sitting in an office with you, and a virtual assistant will typically work from their home. Communication channels are so simple these days that you can still give clear instructions or schedule a weekly face-to-face meeting with your employees.
This reduces overhead costs in the office, and it also allows the VA to bill you only for the hours they have worked, which can be a cost-effective use of funds if you are concerned that you will not have the capacity to hire a full-time assistant. It may also reveal the extent to which you require assistance – most people require far more assistance than they initially believe. Once you realise the advantages of having a personal assistant or someone who can at least take away 25% of your responsibilities, you will wonder how you survived without that assistance for so long.