Practically Perfect PA Survey 2016 Reminder

Thank you to everyone who has completed the Practically Perfect PA survey. So far we have received just over 350 replies and some great feedback, but we would love to hear from more of you so please do take ten minutes out of your day to complete the questionnaire.

I’d appreciate your honest feedback, I really would! I’ll share a summary of the results in November, with a mixture of blogs and infographics!

Please complete the Industry Snapshot 2016 survey

To encourage you to complete the survey, we are also giving away £50 worth of iTunes Vouchers (or the equivalent in your currency) for one of you to win! All you have to do is complete the survey and enter your details so that we can contact the winner! More details can be found in the survey.

This year Sidekicks have sponsored the survey, which means, with their support, we can look at the results from a recruitment and career development perspective too. Here is a little more information on what Sidekicks do.

A word from our sponsor…

Founded in 2015 by an Assistant frustrated by the poor standard of secretarial recruitment in the UK, Sidekicks proudly source and supply the finest support talent in London.

We specialise in the provision of the best Personal Assistants in the market; our Assistants are educated, intelligent people with real commercial nous and often quite extraordinary skillets – just like you.
In addition to our recruitment expertise, all our consultants have previously worked within support roles, so we understand the unique demands of the job you do. Our mission is to promote the role of the Assistant as a profession and to bring a much higher level of quality and genuine understanding to the support recruitment market.

If we can assist you in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You’ll find us at www.sidekicks.london.

Sidekicks-logo-animation-1

Practically Perfect PA Survey 2016 Reminder

Thank you to everyone w has completed the Practically Perfect PA survey. So far we have received some great feedback, but we would love to hear from more of you so please do take ten minutes out of your day to complete the questionnaire.

I’d appreciate your honest feedback, I really would! I’ll share a summary of the results in November, with a mixture of blogs and infographics!

Please complete the Industry Snapshot 2016 survey

Squaremeal Venues + Events Live

For most assistants working in the UK the Squaremeal website and guide is a well-loved and trusted resource. For many years I have consulted the guide for restaurant and venue ideas, it has always been my first port of call when managers have asked me to book restaurants for them.

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Practically Perfect PA giveaway: The Brother winners are…

Practically Perfect PA giveaway: The Roomex winner is…

Thank you to everyone who entered the Roomex and Practically Perfect PA giveaway! I can now announce the winner… drum roll please… is:

Yvonne Reay Scott

Congratulations Yvonne! We will contact you to get your details!

Thanks again to Roomex for hosting such a fantastic giveaway. If you do book business travel to Berlin remember to download their city guide for business travellers.

Practically Perfect PA giveaway: The Roomex winner is…

Roomex

Roomex.com is the leading online hotel booking platform for business travel. Roomex works with over 400 global clients including, David Lloyd Leisure, TGI Friday’s, Sisk Group and NES Global. Roomex measures every booking our corporate clients make against the best available rate at the hotel and we have measured savings averaging 21% over the past 12 months. By booking with Roomex our clients secure the best available corporate rate at over 550,000 hotels worldwide. In addition to the cost savings Roomex is designed to save time for bookers with our personalised booking flow, meaning reservations are confirmed in under 60 seconds. Use the portal to enter your cost-codes, preferred hotels and negotiated rates and then view your spend through our online reporting tools which break down spend by any criteria you choose. Best of all Roomex is available at no cost, with no contract and absolutely no catch. For a free demo of the system visit Roomex.com. Learn more.

This post is sponsored by Roomex.com. Follow the link for more information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts.

The Industry Snapshot 2016

It’s that time of year again! Practically Perfect PA is nearly 5 years old (and yet I haven’t aged a day!) and every year I ask you lovely lot to give me feedback on the industry, the blog and other activities we have been working on – from our events to our new launched eBook. Your feedback is always welcome, but this year it will be particularly helpful as I am working on lots of new projects for the rest of 2016 and into 2017. The survey covers a lot of ground. I want to know how you guys feel about the industry, what is happening to you and your current role, how you feel about the current training on offer and any other resources we can offer. In other words, your thoughts are really important!

The results of the survey will be shared with you all in November. I will also use them to create some infographics that I will share with the wider business community so that they can understand how important assistants are to the office. The answers you give will shape the blog content for next year and the programmes at our events. So without further ado… Here is the link to the Industry Snapshot Survey:

Please complete our survey 

To encourage you to complete the survey we are also giving away £50 worth of iTunes Vouchers (or the equivalent in your currency) for one of you to win! All you have to do is complete the survey and enter your details so that we can contact the winner! More details can be found on the survey.

This year Sidekicks have sponsored the survey, which means, with their support, we can look at the results from a recruitment and career development perspective too. Here is a little more information on what Sidekicks do.

A word from our sponsor…

Founded in 2015 by an Assistant frustrated by the poor standard of secretarial recruitment in the UK, Sidekicks proudly source and supply the finest support talent in London.

We specialise in the provision of the best Personal Assistants in the market; our Assistants are educated, intelligent people with real commercial nous and often quite extraordinary skillets – just like you.
In addition to our recruitment expertise, all our consultants have previously worked within support roles, so we understand the unique demands of the job you do. Our mission is to promote the role of the Assistant as a profession and to bring a much higher level of quality and genuine understanding to the support recruitment market.

If we can assist you in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You’ll find us at www.sidekicks.london.

Sidekicks-logo-animation-1

So the Big Questions happened…

I’m just back from a week in the UK where we held the first of our regional events in Edinburgh and Leeds. The PA Big Questions took place at The George in Edinburgh and Horizon in Leeds. I was really pleased that we had 50 assistants at the events, all there to discuss the issues that face assistants and the industry as a whole. As this was the first event of its kind I wasn’t too sure how the events were going to pan out, but I was really pleased to see so many assistants sharing their experiences, giving each other advice and having a good old chit chat about the job. I wouldn’t say it was quite a group therapy session, but a lot of the attendees said that it was a cathartic experience!

So what did we do during the big questions?

Prior to the event, I asked all of the attendees to select five questions from our list of ten (you can see the full list here). During the event we took each question and discussed the reasons why these issues are still so prevalent in the industry and what changes we can make to ensure they are resolved. We had the fantastic support of the Green Hat People who provided iPads and a lot of useful technology that helped the attendees collaborate and share their thoughts.

So the Big Questions happened...

The results

In both Leeds and Edinburgh the attendees picked the follow question as the most important to the role:

How do we get our organisation to value the work that we do? 

Here are a few of the points raised around this issue…

  • The differentiation between PA roles within the same organisations.
  • The PA role is seen as old fashioned. It is still considered secretarial rather than the full service offered by modern PAs.
  • There is a lack of dedication from some PAs who do not see the role as a career
  • Objectives are not aligned across organisations so prevents a consistent approach to the role.
  • There is a general lack of understanding of the role.
  • Assistants should take more initiative and be more proactive with projects and working on tasks that show off their skills.

It was interesting that attendees in Leeds and Edinburgh went on to pick different issues. I meet Assistants from all over the world and generally we share the same frustrations with the role, but there are also little differences that I think affect different areas and industries. Here are a few more issues that we covered and an overview of the conversations our delegates had.

How do we ensure career development is central to the role? 

  • We do not have a clear career path
  • There are no specific PA skills development
  • No ongoing training required for the role, e.g. Our IT skills. We are just expected to be an expert.
  • We are often isolated in roles so the responsibility is on the individual to be continually motivated
  • PA networks can be the only face to face resource to find out about new technology, processes, procedures, best practice
  • We should use our annual reviews to keep the subject on the table
  • We should sell the benefits of developing assistants (in monetary terms)

What impact will technology have on the role? 

  • Increased remote working
  • Bosses have a lower dependency on their assistants
  • People will expect things faster
  • Expectation we will know all the changes overnight as if we are THE expert
  • Bosses more tech savvy, perhaps more so than us
  • Fuels higher expectations
  • Can be overloaded, expecting instant response/action
  • 24 hour demands

So what happens now?

Well, first of all I want to say a big thank you to the assistants who came along to the two events. Your contributions were incredibly helpful. The next step is to collate all of the information and take it with me to the Assist Conference in February. We will hold workshops on each issue and we will come up with really practical solutions that assistants can use when faced with these frustrating aspects of the role.  By next year I hope to have a guidebook that gives solid solutions to the issues we face as PAs today.

News from Assist Travel

With Assist Travel just a few month’s away, I thought I would share everything that I have been working on behind the scenes. We have been busy, busy, busy finalising the programme and speakers – I am so excited about this year’s line-up. We really do have world-class speakers talking all thing business travel. The venue has been confirmed and we have some brilliant suppliers attending the exhibition. 

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The big PA questions

I’ve been thinking about the industry a lot recently. This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering I blog about being an assistant! There is so much going on at the moment – from events to week long training programmes; blogs to published books; new networking groups to professional associations. There is something for every type of assistant in every level of the profession and point of their career. It can be easy to feel pretty overwhelmed with all that there is on offer for you lovely lot!

I’ve been trying to get my head round all of the amazing resources and where Practically Perfect PA fits in to it all. This has been going on for a few weeks and I really got to thinking that actually it would be great if I took a step back and had a look at where we are and what is actually happening on the ground (or should I say in the offices!) I know from experience what it is like being an assistant but times move quickly and this industry seems in overdrive at the moment so I thought it would be great to get a sense from you guys – what the heck is going on?

So I’ve come up with the idea of The Big PA Questions. I’ve put together a very quick survey (it is literally one question!) that I would love for you to complete for me. The question asks you what are the big topics for discussion at the moment. What stuff should we be debating, what is going on, what should be changed and what is working well.

What I do with this information will really define future events and Practically Perfect PA, so your help really is vital.

Here is the link… 

Top travel tips please!

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about how to get you lovely lot more involved in the blog. I put out these posts every few days and I get some great comments and feedback and it is pretty obvious that you all know a thing or two about being assistants. There are roughly 7,000 of you that subscribe to Practically Perfect PA – and you live all over the place! The wealth of knowledge that our community possesses is limitless and I think you would all benefit massively from each other’s expertise. Each month we are going to do a little crowd sourcing and I will share your top tips with the rest of the readers in a follow up blog. We are going to make a start today with your top travel tips… it can literally be anything that you have found that works when it comes to arranging travel for your organisation. To give you an example here is my top tip… Ensure that your Executive has two passports, one that they can use for travel and one that you can use for Visas. 

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