1. Wearable technology
Google Glass and the Apple iWatch really do seem like something out of a sci-fi film but they will be available in 2015. If my Executives are anything to go by your Executives will also want to try out the latest technology and incorporate it into their working day. It will be interesting to see how this new technology impacts our role, you would think it would make people more self-reliant but as we know technology tends to make people more reliant on those that know how to use said technology!
2. Be fun but be professional when using Social Media
You don’t hear those horror stories anymore about people being sacked because of something they wrote on Facebook. We all seem to be a bit more savvy with our privacy settings and a little less naive. But it is still worth reiterating every year that social media should be used responsibly, especially as more and more people are using the various platforms. Have fun but be professional and remember to chose the right platform to share your message.
3. Images and visuals
Images are going to be even more popular in 2015 than they were this year. If you do look after your organisation’s social media it is important that you think of new ways to express your messages visually. For assistants who have managers that engage with social media it is important that they have a variety of great images that they can use when tweeting, updating LinkedIn and writing for the corporate blog.
4. Be relevant
This is an oldie but a goldie and it is still going to be the top tip for all social media users in 2015. The best social media message is one that is relevant to the audience you are addressing.
5. Getting the most out of all of your social media platforms
With more and more content generated on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms for assistants it is really important that you have a system in place that helps you get the most out of social media. I wrote a blog about this a few months ago that gives tips on keeping your social media organised.
6. Twitter Ads
I’ve already started to receive emails from Twitter to promote Practically Perfect PA via their new paid for advertising structure. It’s not something for me but I would imagine that new or smaller sized businesses will jump at the chance. The new structure offers a variety of advertising options around business objectives rather than just retweets and click-throughs. For those managing their organisation’s social media this is something you might be asked to research in 2015.
7. Employees as brand ambassadors
More and more organisations are allowing their employees access to their social media sites so that staff can express their love of the company, the business culture and what life is like working for that organisation. We are all much more aware of how to conduct ourselves on social media and organisations are aware of how influential staff can be in promoting their brand. Startup’s open culture is certainly having an impact on more traditional organisations but this transparency will have to be managed. Assistants will most definitely have to think about their manager’s online profile and how to best represent them online as well as in the office.
8. The big three social media platforms
Facebook is still going to be incredibly popular in 2015 and will continue to be a great source of information for assistants. The social media giants are currently developing a new product called Facebook at Work (not related to to procrastination and stalking your ex-boyfriend during office hours) which will be aimed at businesses and will include news feeds, group chat, software to share documents amongst colleagues and a unique business profile which will be separate from your personal Facebook account.
LinkedIn is without doubt the biggest platform for business professionals and they will increase their market share in 2015 . If you are looking for a new role next you have to ensure you are using and engaging with LinkedIn. LinkedIn can and should be used as a resource for training, particularly for assistants who are not included in their organisation’s training budget.
More and more people are joining Twitter and using the platform for business marketing, networking and publishing content. The PA community continues to grow on Twitter and I find this is where I spend most of my time interacting with other assistants. We just need to create a hashtag we can all use to find each other!
9. Mobile ready
Our mobile phones are already an integral part of our lives but in 2015 over 3 billion people will only access the internet by phone next year. Every website and social media platform will be mobile ready either through additional mobile apps or integrated websites. For assistants we can pretty much guarantee that our managers will access all of their information via their phone (especially while travelling on business) so we have to make sure that we are also mobile ready and that we really do understand what they do with their phones, how the phone operates and who will fix them when they break!
10. Smart virtual personal assistants
The new and improved Siri has been compared to a Personal Assistant being promoted to an Executive Assistants. Personal Assistant technology now “helps users get stuff done before they would remember to do it otherwise”. So basically what assistants have been doing for goodness knows how many years! I still don’t think we are in danger of being replaced by a mobile phone but what I do think will happen in 2015 is that more Executives will become reliant on their mobile phone and will be using apps to enhance their own productivity. This could make already self reliant Executives even worse at delegating work and assistants will have to offer different levels of support. Alternatively, Executive may want to find out more about getting the most out of their smart phone and will rely on their assistant for that information – either way assistants will have to have a good level of knowledge when it comes to social media, apps, smart phones and tablets.
11. The end of hardcopy board papers?
Collaborative platforms are not a new concept. Software such as Highrise, Yammer and Chatter have been around for a while and the business world has been using them to enhance project work and to collaborate across departments and offices. Over the years the software has incorporated more elements such as email management, instant messaging, project management tools, to-do lists and document storage – in other words the software is getting better which means the take up within organisations will increase. If your organisation isn’t already using collaborative software expect this to happen at some point next year. For assistants this software will be most useful if your Executive team uses it to collaboration and storage of board papers – goodbye printing and stapling hundreds of documents each year!
With more and more productivity apps on the market expect a few that will be helpful for assistants (and not just their Executives) in 2015. We have just introduced Technology of the Week on Practically Perfect PA and I have no doubt we will feature lots of useful apps next year.
13. Tech Startups
The startup culture has and will continue to invade more traditional corporations from flexible working hours, unique work spaces (who doesn’t have a ping pong table in their office these days!?) to the reintroduction of dress down Fridays. We can all expect to be a little less corporate in 2015. But even better news we can expect to see some pretty cool apps, websites and new technologies on the market in 2015 that can really help support our role.
14. Travel technology
Mobile check-in will be a standard feature for most airlines in 2015 and more flights will have WiFi available throughout the entire journey. Both advancements in technology will have a big impact on assistants who organise business travel for their boss. Again assistants will have to know how to add online boarding passes to their Executive’s phones or tablets and they will have to know which airlines and airports only except paper boarding passes. Getting a small break while the boss is up in the air will be a thing of the past for most assistants with WiFI available on most long haul flights. But on a positive note assistants will be able to keep in touch with their Executive which will be particularly useful if there are any delays, cancellations or last minute changes to the travel itinerary.
15. Getting involved
By the end of 2015 I would love to see more and more assistants involved in social media and using new technologies to enhance their skills. It has never been a better time to join in with social media and use the content generated on these platforms to bolster your training needs. In 2014 we have also seen a number of new and interesting blogs for assistants which suggests that we are taking more control of our profession and we have come to the conclusion that the best training and advice will always come from each other. I hope we see more of you online in 2015!