2022 is a different year for Personal and Executive Assistants.

Communication and executing projects will become more complex and frustrating when dealing with the hybrid world. Add to the mix more digital subscriptions as more and more companies are investing in tech solutions, having to learn the new systems, and even becoming proficient in organising online events, Personal Assistants in 2022 will have more on their plate than ever before.

Here are five ways you can become the best PA/EA the world has ever seen this year:

1. Up your skills

From swapping train and hotel bookings to Zoom and Asana subscriptions, moving in-person events to the virtual world, potentially taking on more tasks due to redundancies, and even mastering Canva to help with a marketing newsletter, upskilling has never been more important for Personal and Executive Assistants. It turns out that 73% of PAs receive no training or development in their role. Just imagine where you could take your career path if you could invest in your skills on a regular basis.

And it’s not just Personal Assistants. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), 50% of the working population will need to reskill by 2025. In addition, the latest Business Barometer report shows that UK employers spent £3.2 billion in 2022 hiring temporary staff to fill skills gaps.

So whether it’s Microsoft skills, building resilience, navigating hybrid working, or simply learning how to be an Exceptional PA, the benefits of upskilling will benefit you individually and the organisation as a whole.

Tip: when pitching training courses to your boss, show them how learning new skills will benefit the organisation. For example, it could be easier and more effective communication to speed projects along, or simply becoming more proficient in Microsoft Suite to improve customer service to boost repeat customers.

2. Master organisation

Personal Assistants have one of the most diverse job demands in the world. You’re involved in a number of projects at any given time, and you’re trusted to keep on top of tens of tasks and requests. No wonder organisation is a requirement on every PA/EA job ad.

But how can you ensure you stay vigilantly organised in 2022? Here are some tips:

  1. Categorise your notes

On average, we spend 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things according to OrganizedWorld.com. Consider keeping colour-coded notes, project tabs, or moving digitally to tools like OneNote or Notion to access notes wherever you are.

  1. Theme your days/times of day

Dedicate days or chunks of your day to specific tasks to maximise performance in less time, and to minimise interruptions. Elon Musk swears by this method.

  1. Have a Friday Reflection Time

From reflecting on what’s gone well in the week, mapping out Monday’s tasks, finding ways to optimise your days, to simply acknowledging how you feel, weekly reflection sessions are crucial in any busy professional’s life, especially Personal Assistant’s.

Benefits of weekly reflection include increased self-awareness, higher productivity, boost of gratitude, and an enhanced understanding of one’s values, beliefs, limiting beliefs, and strength. You can read more about this practice in this Medium article.

  1. Inbox Zero

Emails are the biggest time consumer for assistants, that’s why seeing an organised inbox can set you up for a more sane day ahead. We recommend exploring the Inbox Zero method which is proven to keep you more organised, free from distractions, and even more responsive to emergencies. To see how, click here.

3. Network more

Personal Assistants are social creatures. No wonder you’re in high demand. But being social can often be difficult when you’re a one-person team. Here are ways to expand and nurture your social circle:

  1. Join LinkedIn groups like PAOM, Executive & Personal Assistant Network, and even The Hub Events (30% of our members are PA/EAs)

  2. Attend events such as The PA Show, Work Smart PA, and The Hub Events PA events

  3. Attend in-person meet-ups

  4. Organise your own work socials

And here’s why it’s crucial to network more in 2022: 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success (ApolloTechnical).

4. Boost communication skills

Communication is key for Personal Assistants, but not everyone talks about the fact that words only count for 7% of effective communication. How we say things is considered to be the 55% of how we communicate, and a staggering 55% of communication is body language.

As we move online, the nuances of an effective communicator become even more complex.

Here are some of our favourite resources to help you improve your communication skills in 2022:

5. Get strategic

Personal Assistants are no longer admins who sit in front of a typewriter. PAs and EAs now hold a much more strategic position in their company with more influence, responsibility, and a more strategic mindset.

It has become expected for EAs and PAs to be more strategically involved and understand all areas of the business.

"My boss supported and funded my study towards a CMI postgraduate degree qualification in management which covered all areas of the business and included a final project dissertation. I then went on to apply to become a Chartered Manager which is the highest accolade to achieve within management in the UK. Recently I have gained a Level 7 CIPD qualification in Learning and Talent Management - another area which will be very useful to my expanding role.

Constant learning like this will become vital in the future, particularly as the role becomes more strategic – having a greater variety of skills will also open doors to some new roles starting to emerge in line with the needs."

Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants

Here are some tips on how to become a more strategic Personal Assistant:

  • Attend more strategic meetings

  • Live and breathe the company values, mission, and brand

  • Get to know all departments

  • Become more assertive

  • Practice presentation skills

  • Undertake training which shows you how to be a manager - PA as Manager

Exceptional 2022

Here we are, we’ve covered five ways to be a truly exceptional PA in 2022 which will set you up for a more successful year ahead.

We’re on a mission to help Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants thrive in their roles, that’s why we love connecting with PAs and EAs and having them part of our community. Join our LinkedIn group today to connect with others in your field, stay up to date with our list of courses, and be notifed of our upcoming challenges.

Exceptional PA / The Hub Events
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