As a work-from-home administrative assistant or PA, you may be wondering how you can undertake remote work effectively.
Whether you’re a self-employed administrative assistant or your working arrangements have altered due to coronavirus, understanding how to do admin work from home will enhance your productivity and motivation, as well as helping your work-life balance.
In this guide, we’ll show you the pros and cons of working from home and the best tips for working more effectively from home.
Pros Of Working From Home For Admin Assistant & PAs
As a remote PA or administrative assistant, here are some of the benefits you can experience:
The benefits of homeworking:
- No stressful commute
- Location independence
- The potential of a better work-life balance
- Improved environmental impact
- A comfortable office
- Fewer office distractions
- Save money on commuting
- Effective social distancing for improved health and safety during COVID-19
- Avoid office politics
Cons Of Working From Home For Admin Assistant & PAs
Like every job, working remotely has its downsides. Here are some of the cons of working from home for PAs and admin assistants:
- Feeling lonely and isolated
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of community
- Unmonitored performance
- Potential lack of office equipment
- Household noise or distractions
- Fewer opportunities for more informal communication
Tips For Working For Home More Effectively
What are the best tips as a work-from-home administrative assistant? Here, we share how you can work more effectively to enhance your productivity levels and work-life balance.
Take regular breaks
Maintaining designated working hours with regular breaks enables you to get the very best done, as well as ensuring that you’re not working all hours of the day. It can be easy to suffer from burnout while working from home so designating your working hours clearly can help prevent this from happening. Try using a timer to schedule break times. This will keep you motivated and enable you to stick to a schedule.
Whether you’re working full time or part time, getting dressed for work keeps your productivity levels high. It can be tempting to stay in pyjamas all day but the act of changing clothes helps to create a line between work and home life. Additionally, you’ll feel more confident, productive and ready to join an important Zoom call at any moment.
Stay in communication with others
If you’re new to working from home, getting used to working by yourself can be a challenge. Even if you work from home regularly, staying in communication with others prevents feelings of isolation. Try using video calling software to regularly converse with others, such as team members or clients.
Get a designated office space
One of the main problems of working from home is creating a divide between your work life and home life. Establishing a designated office space rather than working from the kitchen table or in front of the TV gives you a simple boundary. Make your workspace comfortable by finding an area with good natural lighting and using an ergonomic chair. If you really struggle working from home, it might be time to consider a co-working space near to home.
If you’re living with family or friends, it's essential to communicate your boundaries with them. Being interrupted during the day by the people you live with will affect your motivation and productivity levels. Ensure they’re aware of your office hours and that you can give attention to other matters when you’re in your downtime.
Get your systems in place
Online working means you need to get digital systems into place. It’s imperative to understand how certain tools work, and how they can help the day to day running of your work schedule. Some of the tools you’re likely to use as an admin assistant or PA include video calling platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts, Slack for collaborating with team members, and Google Docs for your documents. A few other tools that may come in handy are Dropbox for cloud storage and iDoneThis which helps you to see what team members are up to. Read our ultimate list of PA tools here.
Working remotely in an ever-changing world can mean you need to use your decision-making skills. To do this, be flexible and prioritise your work in order of importance. That means ensuring you attend virtual meetings, respond to team member changes and ask the right questions. Ensure your executive’s needs are being met and how you can adapt to fulfil their requirements.
Keep notes on projects on-hold
Keep track of projects that have stalled due to COVID-19. You may be able to add those to your calendar at a later time. You can track projects digitally in apps like Asana or Trello. This means you’ll be ready for action when those projects are back on track.
Getting a good work-life balance in order prevents putting your health at risk. Being healthy is important, particularly in the time we’re facing. Turn off notifications at the weekend, give yourself plenty of time to rest and make time to relax. You could always start an online exercise, yoga or meditation class with your team members to give yourselves a mind and body boost during the week.
Get a separate work number
Having one phone line for your business and personal life can make things complicated. Create a boundary between your work and home life by using a separate work number for business matters. Set up a voicemail on both phones for periods when you’re not working or relaxing during weekends. It can be tempting to catch up with messages and emails during your downtime but this can eat into your personal life, making it impossible to have a healthy work and life balance.
Understanding remote calendars
Diary management can get complicated, particularly when working from home. While you won’t need to worry about competing for conference rooms, you will need to work around certain circumstances, such as potential childcare issues which some executives may face. Getting several people together at once may be challenging. Remember, that virtual meetings can be recorded – this can be highly beneficial for allowing people to access calls that they cannot make.
Get in the right mindset
Building a remote working mindset helps you to organise your work schedule so you communicate in a clear way to your clients or team members. Take a strategic approach to business to keep your productivity levels stable. Furthermore, ensure you’re documenting your work so that everyone knows exactly what is happening and when.
Make time to get out of the house
Working at your desk all day and not having a daily commute means you’re probably spending more time indoors than you have previously. Take some time to get some fresh air on your breaks. Whether it’s just 5 minutes in the garden or taking the dog for a walk on your lunch break, getting outside is a great way to destress during a potentially hectic workday.
If you’re not used to remote working, your mood can start to dip. Working from home as an administrative assistant or PA can be isolating so keep your spirits high by reading and listening to inspiring content. Additionally, make time to check in virtually with friends or team members outside of working hours. You could start an online book club, do a cooking session via Zoom or pick up a new hobby that you can start together.
Distractions can come in many forms, especially when you’re working from home. As a remote PA, it’s important to limit these as much as possible. Turn off the TV, avoid booking medical appointments during working hours (where possible) and treat being at home as you would being in an actual office environment. If you don't enjoy working in total silence, have the radio playing quietly in the background or try using coffee shop noise videos or apps to provide some gentle background sounds.
Give yourself time
Adapting to a new work environment can take a while. Give yourself time to settle into your new routine. Remember that having bad days is completely normal so don’t beat yourself up if you find it difficult at first. Having support from others is paramount. Reach out to others, including your bosses if you’re struggling. Don’t be afraid to try new things either. Not every routine is the same and it may require testing different methods before you find one that suits your preferences.
Land Your Perfect PA or Administrative Role Through Oriel Partners
Now you’re aware of how to work effectively as a home administrative assistant, perhaps it’s time to find your next role? Discover your next PA or administrative job at Oriel Partners. Check out our job board now.