How to Know When You Need a Personal Assistant

How to Know When You Need a Personal Assistant

Having a personal assistant (PA) is no longer just a luxury - it has become an invaluable investment for busy professionals, executives and entrepreneurs. But what exactly does a PA do, and how do you know if you truly need one?

This comprehensive guide will explore the key benefits of employing a PA and the telltale signs that it's time to bring one on board.

Why Hire A Personal Assistant

Improved Work-Life Balance

One of the primary reasons to hire a personal assistant is to achieve a better work-life balance. Many executives find PAs essential for reducing stress and improving their wellbeing. By delegating tedious tasks and time-consuming responsibilities, you can reclaim precious hours for hobbies, quality time with loved ones or simply unwinding after a long day.

"Having a personal assistant allows you to manage the pressures of work and time more effectively, so your focus on the business world doesn't detract from responsibilities in your private life," says Olivia Coughtrie, co-founder of Oriel Partners

More Time to Focus

Your time is your most precious resource. Research shows the average worker is only productive for around 3 hours per day without assistance. A PA takes over time-draining administrative work, project management and ad hoc demands, freeing your day-to-day to concentrate on high-impact priorities and strategic initiatives.

Around-the-Clock Support

Whether you work unconventional hours, travel frequently or simply can't be in two places at once, a PA provides the extra pair of hands and eyes you need.

They can:

  • Attend meetings
  • Coordinate with contractors
  • Manage your schedule
  • Handle personal matters

They help ensure you never miss a beat, no matter how hectic your calendar is.

Signs It's Time to Hire a Personal Assistant

You're Constantly Missing Deadlines and Appointments

Do you frequently forget meetings, miss important events or turn in work late due to disorganisation and overload? If a lack of time management is jeopardising your productivity and professional reputation, it's a clear sign you need dedicated assistance to get (and keep) your schedule under control.

Your To-Do List is Overflowing

From administrative tasks to miscellaneous "brain clutter," an ever-growing to-do list that bleeds into your personal time is a surefire indicator that you could use an extra pair of hands. A PA can cross off those nagging responsibilities, preventing burnout and allowing you to focus on mission-critical work.

You Lack a Proper Work-Life Balance

Are you skipping exercise, quality time with loved ones or hobbies because there just aren't enough hours in the day? 92% of UK employees report feeling burnout or stress in the workplace, with over one-third grappling with poor mental health. Delegating to a PA will help you reclaim that balance and prioritise your health.

What Can a Personal Assistant Do for You?

While responsibilities vary based on each individual's needs, personal assistants offer a remarkably wide range of services, including:

Administrative Duties

  • Email management and fielding calls
  • Scheduling appointments, meetings, and travel
  • Diary management
  • Conducting research and writing reports
  • Preparing expense reports and invoicing
  • Ordering supplies and equipment

Personal/Household Tasks

  • Running errands
  • Making restaurant reservations
  • Coordinating services (cleaning, repairs, etc.)
  • Assisting with event planning
  • Overseeing pet care and home services
  • Handling miscellaneous personal requests
  • Booking luxury travel
  • Household management
  • Liaising with household staff
  • Fleet management

Business Operations

  • Managing projects and task tracking
  • Preparing presentations and proposals
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Basic accounting and bookkeeping
  • Tracking metrics and KPIs
  • Administering online systems and tools

High-Level Support

  • Representing you at lower-priority meetings
  • Acting as a professional gatekeeper
  • Liaising with staff and external stakeholders
  • Offering a trusted sounding board and advice
  • Managing other assistants and admin staff

"A great PA doesn't just react to your needs, they anticipate them. They step in proactively to handle tasks and responsibilities, often before you even realise you need the support," says Auria Heanley, co-founder of Oriel Partners.

Browse our templated PA job description here.

Do I Need a Full-Time, Part-Time or Virtual PA?

Your specific requirements and personal budget will determine whether you need a full-time in-house PA or if you can manage with part-time or virtual assistance:

Full-Time PA: A dedicated full-time assistant is ideal for those with significant personal and professional responsibilities. This allows for consistent, all-day support explicitly tailored to your every need.

Part-Time PA: If your needs are less intensive, you may only require a part-time PA for 20-30 working hours per week to keep you organised and on track. Here are some tips on managing a part-time PA.

Virtual Assistant (VA): Virtual assistants provide remote administrative aid through digital communication channels. VAs are an affordable option offering flexibility to scale up or down assistance as needed.

Here are the skills to look for when hiring for a VA specifically.

Whichever route you choose, the key is ensuring your PA is a seamless extension of yourself, upholding your values, expectations and privacy.

How to Hire the Right Personal Assistant

Finding a genuinely exceptional PA is crucial, as you'll build a working partnership anchored in trust and continuity.

When interviewing candidates:

  • Assess organisational abilities and attention to detail
  • Evaluate communication skills and professional demeanour
  • Discuss specific technical and industry knowledge required
  • Look for someone who takes initiative and has a self-driven work ethic
  • Consider availability and schedule needs (9-5, overnight, weekends, travel etc.)
  • Ensure robust references and a track record of discretion

If you’re running interviews, you may consider asking some of these interview questions for a personal assistant role.

You can also work with a specialised PA recruitment firm to source pre-screened, highly qualified candidates matching your criteria. Read our article on the benefits of working with specialist PA recruiters here.

Stop Juggling - Hire a PA Today

Whether you're a busy executive, entrepreneur, or simply looking to bring more balance into your life, there's no need to go it alone. A professional personal assistant provides invaluable support, allowing you to accomplish more while still having time for yourself.

Ready to take that first step? Our dedicated PA recruitment consultants can help you define your needs and quickly present you with exceptional candidates to interview. Contact us today to learn more about how our PA candidates can streamline your daily grind.

Posted in Hiring, PA & Admin on Jun 26, 2024


If you're looking to hire a personal assistant to help your business, ensure you hire the right candidate with our free hiring guide.

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  • How a PA could assist your business
  • What duties and responsibilities a PA could fulfil
  • What can you expect to pay a PA depending on their experience
  • What questions to ask a PA candidate during the interview stage
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