Why hire a personal assistant? We often hear the saying ‘A good PA can half your workload, but a bad PA can double it’. The role of a PA is not an easy one. Essentially their role is to take away part of the duties of the person they are supporting, to allow their boss more time to focus on the things they are good at. So, if a PA is supporting a CEO, we are asking them to be 25% CEO.
The core of any PA role is to do the administration and organisational tasks of running someone’s life; diary and travel management, scheduling meetings, managing an inbox, expenses etc. However, the PA role often entails a huge amount more than this; research, preparing notes for meetings, taking minutes, providing private support, acting as a gate-keeper, working on projects, liaising with direct reports, managing an administration team, getting involved in recruitment, office management, working on events etc.
The list can go on and on depending on the size of the business and the requirements of each individual boss. Ultimately each PA role is different, and a good Assistant will be able to adapt their working style according to the person they are looking after, and how that person likes to work.
The benefits of hiring a PA are clear, it should allow you to do your role better.
A good personal assistant will also be your ambassador, your representative and so can assist in ensuring you are viewed in a positive light – if that is the way you wish to be viewed. A PA if exposed to high level and often sensitive information, so discretion is key and depending on where the PA has worked previously, their little black book may be worth its weight in gold.
Ultimately the PA is the new secretary, still providing the basic admin support, but now also getting involved in so much more. A PA will be your right hand, your confidante, your eyes and ears and it isn’t rare for your PA to move with you - as you progress your career, so do they.
A good personal assistant will make you look better and make you be more efficient in your day to day work. They will know your secrets, aid your strengths and support your weaknesses.
We are aware that hiring a PA is a cost. However, we see it as an investment with many benefits. By hiring an assistant, you're able to spend more time on the things you need to focus on – growing the business, different revenue channels, strategy, brand recognition. Think of how much more productive you could be if you weren't spending several hours a week on menial tasks? The money you would generate with that time would quickly recoup the cost of hiring a personal assistant.
A PA will also allow you to manage your personal life, or the things you love, more effectively. Most people wouldn’t want their focus on the business world, to detract from the responsibility in their private life and a PA should allow you to manage the pressure of time more effectively.
The office culture: A PA acting as the representative of their boss, will impact the culture of the office where they are based. As an extension of you, but perhaps more easily approachable to others, they are also able to understand issues which are going on in the office and combat them. Being aware and reminding you when it is someone’s birthday, someone has had a baby, someone is leaving, a PA will be able to prompt you to all of these things, allowing you to create the right atmosphere in the office. It can only take one bad apple, especially in a small office, to rock the boat having someone on the inside, can only be beneficial.
If you are still not sure about hiring a full-time PA, there is also the option of having a part-time PA or Virtual PA known as a VA. With the advances of technology and with people often travelling, there is no need to necessarily have your Assistant sitting in an office with you and a VA will usually work from their home. Communication channels are so easy, you can still provide clear instructions or arrange a weekly face to face catch up. This cuts down on overheads in the office, and also means that the VA can bill you purely for the hours they have worked, so if you are concerned you may not have the capacity for a full-time assistant, this can be an effective use of funds. It may also show you the level of support you actually require – most people need more than they first imagine. Once you realise the benefits of having a personal assistant or someone to at least take away 25% of your role, you will wonder what you did without that support.