10 reasons to attend Assist 2017

Over the last few months I have been busy behind the scenes working on the programme for Assist 2017. It is coming together really well, so I thought now would be a good time to share 10 reasons why I think you lovely lot should attend. It is on Friday 24th February in London. We have packed the day full of brilliant content, speakers and lots and lots of practical sessions designed for you to take back to the office with you. Places are still available for only £300+VAT.

  1. Every session is designed to enhance your unique tool kit of skills. You will leave Assist 2017 with practical knowledge that you can immediately put into practice back in the office.
  2. There are also lots of opportunities over the course of the conference to meet and network with every other assistant in the room. By the end of the day you will know every other assistant attending the conference.
  3. We have a dedicated LinkedIn session run by the UK’s top trainer on the platform. Mark Williams aka Mr LinkedIn will provide fantastic examples and advice for any assistant who would like to get more out of LinkedIn and integrate it into their role.
  4. There will be a number of specific soft skills sessions for assistants, including an interactive keynote, from award winning coach and author Jenny Garrett, on confidence in the workplace. Jenny’s mission is to transform the world for everyone, one empowered woman at a time. She uses her years of experience in coaching and leadership to inspire and motivate people, working with them to deliver career and life changing results beyond expectation.
  5. We have four fantastic case studies from brilliant assistants who have undertaken a project that has moved their career forward. We will hear how they got involved in the project, what the work did for their career, what skills they took up during the process and their take home tips.
  6. Once again, the relationship between Assistant and their Executive will be at the heart of the conference. We will have an in depth interview with a top level PA and her brave Executive. They will share how they work together, what key skills the assistant needs to compliment her Executive and they will both offer delegates advice to make the relationship work.
  7. We will have all of the latest office tech and apps on display and ready for you to test, play with and take back to the office.
  8. For assistants who need to update their little black book of contacts we will have a brilliant ‘speed networking’ session where all of the delegates will be swapping details on those great suppliers.
  9. Moving the assistant industry forward must come from within the industry itself. At Assist 2017 we will focus on how we can shape the future of the role, the skills we will need to enhance our fantastic tool kit of never ending skills and how we can finally get the reward and recognition that we deserve.
  10. The Assist Conference will not be your run of the mill stuffy conference. We want to do things a little differently so expect this conference to be fun, engaging and, most importantly, relevant to you as an assistant!

If you would like to attend but are not sure if you will get approval from your Executive hopefully this blog will help. I also have a business case letter that you can send to your boss to help with any conversations you will have regarding training for 2016. If you would like the business case, please do get in touch and I will send to straight to you via email.

Assist Conference 2017

During the conference, we will be discussing all of the important tools that assistants need to succeed in the role – now and in the next 5 years. Taking place on the 24th February in London for only £300+VAT. If you would like to book your place on the conference, check out the programme or the speakers, please do make your way over to the website.


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Thanks again to everyone who completed the Practically Perfect PA Industry Snapshot survey. We had some really interesting feedback and I want to share some of that with you today. We asked you a few questions regarding the environment you currently find yourself working in and what your offices might look like in the future. Here are some of your thoughts…

Has the design of your office changed in the last five years?

  • We are working towards a paperless office within the next two years
  • Yes, we now have an open plan office with hot desks and more people working from home
  • We have had a total office renovation with modern furniture – office desks for standing or sitting. Updates on all of our hardware & software, including touch screen telephones with face-view and better communication system. We also have live chat with our IT support desk
  • Yes with health being a focus so think office gym equipment, stand up desks etc.
  • Our office is much more eco-friendly
  • Agile working is the way forward for our office
  • The meeting rooms in our offices are much more flexible with movable walls, digital whiteboards etc.
  • We’ve reduced the amount of storage space to encourage staff to go digital
  • We have more informal meeting spaces
  • I now work from home
  • We have consolidated people into less space to save money on office rent
  • We now have a zero tolerance policy for paper left on desks over night
  • We moved buildings and all of the assistants were assigned desks next to each other

Do you work in the same location as your Executive?

I asked this question to see whether assistants were working more remotely from their Executives but the answer was a resounding no, with 87% of you still working in the same location. I would imagine that most assistants still sit outside their Executive’s office or pretty close by and I can’t imagine this changing any time soon!

Are you able to work remotely (from home or out of the office)?

64% of you answered yes to this question which is slightly higher than previous years. It looks like organisations finally understand that assistants can work very productively while out of the office!

On average, how often does your Executive travel for business?

I asked this as the number of people travelling on business continues to rise and many Executive’s now spend more time on the road than they do in the office. Your answers certainly seem to reflect this trend with 70% of you saying your Executive travels at least once per month. This will certainly change how assistants work with their Executive’s particularly around the use of technology.

Some of your favourite technology

Here is some of the technology you use on a regular basis…

  • Google docs
  • SharePoint
  • Scannable
  • Bloomberg & Reuters
  • Jabber
  • DocuSign
  • Huddle, Doodle, Prezi, Sway
  • Zoom
  • Telepresence rooms
  • WebEx
  • Evernote
  • Blackboard
  • Travo
  • Echo Smartpen
  • Slido
  • Box.com
  • Google Hangout
  • Skype

In a typical month, which types of apps do you use on your smartphone for work?

I was surprised at the mixture of responses for this question with many of you happily listing your favourite apps while others said they did not or were not allowed to use their smartphones for work purposes. Many organisations, for security reasons, do not allow staff to use their own devices for work including access to emails etc. I wonder what effect this has on work life balance for assistants within these types of organisations? It would certainly stop you checking emails at ungodly hours, which can only be a good thing!

For those of you who do use your smartphones, here are some of your preferred apps:

  • Whatsapp
  • National Rail, TFL, Hotels.com
  • Banking apps, maps, stocks, Uber, restaurant apps
  • Travel Apps: Tripit / flight apps / Hotel apps / City guides etc.
  • Concur for expenses
  • Trello
  • The Calculator – all the time!
  • Skyscanner
  • Outlook mail & calendar, Yammer, OneNote, OneDrive, Google, MSN Weather, Office Lens, Skype for Business
  • MobileDay, Waze, Amazon, Concur, Uber, WhatsApp, Skype and Amex
  • American Airlines, FlightStats, Open Table, Google Maps, Weather Channel, CNN, Apple Notes, FaceTime, InstaCart, Uber, Curb, Amazon, WhatsApp (International Texting when my Executive is travelling abroad), Facebook, Twitter, Marriott, Goodreads, Transit Tracker
  • Citymapper
  • The Trainline
  • XE

We have also put together a handy infographic with all of the information, please feel free to share this with your colleagues and network!

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