What can assistants expect in 2013
Well 2012 is over and done with and we are now already two days into 2013. Over the holidays I´ve been thinking about the year ahead and have lots of exciting things planned which will keep me busy. I hope you all feel the same and are looking forward to the next twelve months. I think it will be another interesting year for assistants with lots of changes and further challenges for our industry. In honour of it now being 2013 I´ve got 13 things I think we can expect to see in the year ahead.
1. Role diversification
For those remaining in their role (which the large majority of assistants will do) the opportunity to expand the scope of the job and your day to day activities will increase. Companies will be seeking to get the most out of the employees they already have so assistants should take advantage of this and try new and different challenges, this could be anything from organising corporate events to running the office facilities department.
With the assistant role now encompassing so many varied tasks we should expect to see a rise in training for assistants in 2013. If you have been asked to take on additional work then expect to be trained in the new aspects of your job. If in 2012 you did not attend any events or training sessions then you should speak to your manager or HR immediately to get something booked for 2013. Remember assistants need to keep up to date with the latest innovations in our industries as much as any other profession. Don´t just attend any event though, if you would like to know how to get the most out of an event and what signs to look for when booking a great event, this blog should help.
3. Social Media
Assistants should see the influence social media can have on all aspects of their professional life. In previous years assistants have not seen the point of personal branding and networking but as our roles diversify we will embrace online networking and social media. This could be as simple a step as setting up a LinkedIn profile to using twitter for networking with other assistants through to blogging and taking part in virtual conferences. Those seeking new jobs will find that having a social media presence will only confirm that they take their profession seriously.
4. New Technology
2013 will be the time for assistants to embrace new technology. Our managers will mostly have iPads and have the ability to work remotely from any part of the world. We must learn how to use this technology and be comfortable enough to suggest new and innovative ways to help our managers get the most from their chosen devises.
Keeping up to date on useful apps is a great example of how assistants can value, make a list of great travel apps your boss could use while travelling would be so helpful and could also save you time from writing complicated itinieraries. I wrote a blog recently on useful apps for assistants which you can find here.
6. Virtual Meetings
Along with new technology for personal use your company should be using technology to hold virtual meetings. Again this is something that assistants should be comfortable using and setting up for their managers. It is getting so much easier for Committees to meet virtually and this will become more and more popular over the next year as will virtual conferences and events. Assistants will find that they are booking their managers on to virtual conferences that can be attended from the office rather than the traditional event which meant managers had to be away from work all day.
7. The relationship between assistant and manager
According to the National PA survey published by The Office Show in 2012 the relationship between assistant and manager has strengthen over the last few years as Directors and senior members of staff rely more heavily on their support staff. In 2013 this relationship will continue to evolve and assistants will see a shift in how they are viewed by their managers and the rest of the company.
As assistants we are trusted with confidential information on a regular basis, we see our boss’ emails, we open their post and we often hear private details about other members of staff. The ability we have to keep our employer´s confidence is vital and will become even more so as our manager´s rely on us for work but also to run ideas past us and take our opinion on board when dealing with other staff. This is going to be very important in 2013 and the years ahead.
With so many new ways to communicate with our managers and colleagues assistants must know the best way to keep in contact, how to use that form of contact and when to use it compared to other platforms. for example if your manager is travelling is it best to phone, e-mail, Skype, use FaceTime on the iPad or tweet. There are so many different forms of communication and that is only going to increase in 2013. We must know how to communicate effectively but also what platform is best to use at any one time.
10. The relationship between assistant and assistant
Over recent years I´ve noticed a shift in how assistants work with other assistants in that they are a lot more supportive of each other, covering each other when out of the office and generally working as a team and bonding over the same problems and experiences. I think this will become more and more common in 2013. The team of assistants I currently work with are all very supportive of each other and I found this a great help last year. I really do hope other assistants see this in their company over the next year.
11. Salary and financial reward
As assistants are becoming more appreciated and colleagues understand the importance of the job itself we should look to be rewarded for the general work we do and also the extra work we take on. According to Forbes as the economy picks up in 2013 employees will no longer be thinking that they need to keep their heads down and get on with the job while working under a payfreeze but will be asking for additional financial reward from their current employer or looking else where. This is the same for assistants and we should be seeking salary increases if we are taking on extra work.
12. Value of the assistant role in the company
Although I do think assistants are and will continue to be appreciated more and more in 2013 I do not think we will see a change in the difficulty assistants face in being promoted and moving out of supporting roles. Unfortunately I do think this will still be a challenge faced by many assistants in the coming year.
13. Work Life balance
A work life balance has always been important for assistants as many of us have families and other commitments outside of work (this is why many of us become assistants in the first place). The balance will remain an important part of our lives and I think many of us will look to achieve more flexibility in 2013. This could be as simple as working from home more frequently to striking out on our own and setting up a VA company. One thing is for sure, assistants will begin to fully realise that their skills can be matched to a variety of roles and positions.