Have you signed up to watch our free PA Clinic series yet? If not, why not? All four have taken place and can now be watched on the Academy website. In each episode, C&C Founder Lucy Chamberlain speaks to fellow industry leaders and answers your burning questions.
In the first episode — watch it here — we spoke about how assistants can support their execs and demonstrate their value during the pandemic. Lucy was joined by trainer and speaker Bonnie Low Kramen and CEO of Marcham Publishing, publishers of Executive Secretary, Lucy Brazier.
Here are our 4 key takeaways.
Now’s your time to shine.
We asked you to send in questions in advance of the webinar. We had a huge 300+ responses (big thanks)! A lot of you asked, how can I help my exec during this time’?
Lucy Brazier put things into perspective saying, “remember that this is a strange period for everyone. Your exec is also trying to get to grips with working from home. They’re also restructuring the company, protecting employees and in some cases saving the business. So if somebody asks them what they need, their reaction is likely to be telling you to work it out.”
Lucy suggests that rather than asking, assistants should be proactive in offering support. She went on to say that, “assistants want a seat at the table. They want to lead with their boss, be part of the conversation and do strategic partnership. This is your chance. Do what you’re phenomenal at. You are chaos tamers and no one else can do that.”
The group went on to discuss tips such as looking at your exec’s to-do list and seeing what you can take off their hands. In the new normal procedures will change. Can you get ahead on drafting them? Think about admin procedure manuals, codes of conduct, working from home, even virtual onboarding.
Whilst you may work for your boss, you are employed by the business. What tasks can you do that allow your boss to do their job better and make you an invaluable asset?
Connect with other assistants
We mean virtually of course. If you work in a business with many assistants band together and share and learn from each other. Perhaps you can take on one larger task as a group?
If you’re riding solo at your company there are plenty of assistant networking groups you can join. These can help to boost your skills. As Bonnie suggests, “you don’t know what you don’t know. I was winging it every day and was self-taught back in the day. I’m so lucky I found people to be my teachers and mentors. Assistants of the world can be assistants to each other. You are subject matter experts.”
Get together and share document templates, ideas and ways of working. It can be an isolating role, let alone if you’re working from home. Find your people and share your experiences. You’ll feel empowered, be able to give back and learn from your peers.
Staying motivated when working from home
“Cut yourself a break,” says Bonnie. Bonnie has been working from home for years and although she says this time is different to before, she still has tips for making it work.
“Play to your strengths. What most assistants know how to do well is plan and organise. Take a fresh look and understand your priorities. They’ll change daily; they can’t be set in stone.”
Lucy Brazier goes on to suggest time blocking your diary and include lunch breaks and exercise. That way it’s more realistic, you’re not working all hours and you’ll feel accomplished at the end of the day.
Bonnie added that “Never before has it been crucial to understanding our times of days when we’re at our best. I happen to be an early bird. We need to ask those questions we can’t assume. To stay motivated, slow down to give each other respect, communicate with those in our orbit so they know what you’re struggling with. Are you losing sleep, feeling distracted and preoccupied? We know it’s hard to focus when you feel like this.”
Keep track of your wins
The group closed the episode with a handy tip to make sure you are valued for the work you do. They suggested that each week you should record and share not only your outcomes but the impact they had on the business. That way when work picks up again you can show your direct value for the company. You’ll also have a much stronger sense of self-worth and be able to share it with your boss.
Bonnie summed this up by reminding us to, “ Be loud and proud about what you put into a business.”