Executive/Personal Assistants (EAs) save their bosses time, and as we have all heard before, time is money. EAs can make enormous contributions to productivity at all levels of an organization by:
- Ensuring that meetings begin on time with prep material delivered in advance
- Optimizing travel schedules and enable remote decision making, keeping projects on track
- Serving as sounding boards
- Conducting corporate research
- Funneling busy administrative tasks away from managers who can then, in turn, use their time more wisely
- Serving as crucial resource during the acclimation period for new hires
In an effort to cut costs and reduce headcount, many companies have significantly reduced their executive assistant staff even for highly paid middle and upper managers. But a good business should use a structure in which work is delegated to the lowest-cost employee who can do it well; too often there is too much administrative work to do and not enough assistants to do it.
Managers can capitalize on an executive assistant by thinking wisely about which tasks can be taken on by the assistant, establishing a trusting relationship as opposed to that of a micromanager, and employing effective communication. While answering emails is a basic assistant task, more assistants these days are taking on more supervisory roles; they are managing information flow, dealing with basic financial management, attending meetings in place of their bosses, serving as the face of the company, and doing more planning and organizing. When a manager exhibits trust in his or her assistant, they will gain a higher return. In turn, great assistants look for ways to stretch and improve their skills, taking extra time to learn, for instance, more about the functions of the particular company and new technologies.