• Zoey Hughes

How to Work with an Executive Assistant

Article originally posted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-work-executive-assistant-zoey-hughes

Executive Assistants are growing in popularity, with more businesses than ever choosing to put their executive administrative needs in the hands of a professional, rather than take on the financial commitment of a full-time staff member. But for many who are yet to embrace an EA, the difficulty lies in the logistics. How do you get started? What do you choose to outsource? Here’s a rundown of the differences between an employee and an Executive Assistant, and how you can best make use of your outsourcing option.


Weighing up the Costs

An Executive Assistant works on an hourly rate, or with a fixed fee. My hourly rate is £25 with retainer and fixed price options available.An Executive Assistant’s fee factors in costs such as taxes, training, holiday and sickness time, hardware and software costs and, of course, their experience.An employee also has hidden costs such as space in the office, supply of equipment, coffee breaks, pensions, PAYE and NI contributions, holiday time... so even at minimum wage, their actual cost is much higher and fixed. Executive Assistants account for all this and more from our hourly rate.


Efficiency is Key

Efficiency is the number 1 way you save with an EA. While an employee must be paid regardless of the workload, you will only pay us for the work you need done. We can be available as and when you need us, whether that is for a one-off project or taking over when seasonal work means your hands are full. You won’t be limited to certain hours and will be able to scale or reduce your retainer as needed, or simply pay by the hour.


Experts in Admin

Employees often have to take on tasks in multiple areas to ensure they are productive throughout their hours. Executive Assistants specialise. This means services are performed to an exceptional standard, and if the task you request is outside of your EA’s skill set, they will help you find a solution.I excel at both traditional PA tasks such as calendar and email management, alongside writing and editing and traditional admin. By finding an EA whose skills align with your needs you’ll find tasks are completed quicker and to a higher standard.


What Tasks Should I Outsource?

There is no one size fits all answer to this, but here are some good starting points:


- If you do the same tasks regularly, it is easy to outsource them. Show your EA how to do it once and let them know how often it needs to be done. Then you can forget about it, knowing it will be completed in a timely manner.


- If a task is time-consuming your time would likely be better spent elsewhere. Whether this is research, data entry, or something else; if it will take more time than you are comfortable giving it then outsourcing it will relieve the burden. Not only does it take it off of your to-do list, but it is also likely your Executive Assistant has done it many times before and can complete it quickly and efficiently.


- If a task just never gets done! We all have tasks that we know we should do but they just sit on our to-do lists. If you have a task that you have been consciously or subconsciously dodging for the last few months, it’s time to get it done. You’ll feel a weight lifted when you can say goodbye to those nagging reminders.


- If you just don’t feel you have the skillset for a task, find someone who does. As EAs spend their working hours on nothing but admin, you’re unlikely to show us anything we haven’t seen before. Use our experience to your advantage and know your task is completed correctly every time.


What to Check When Hiring an Executive Assistant

For UK businesses, you will need to check that your EA is upfront about their compliance with GDPR. I am fully compliant and hold a detailed record of my GDPR procedures.


Your EA should also be registered as a data handler with the ICO. Again, you will find me on this.


While testimonials can be hard to come by if an EA is new to the role, any established EA should be able to provide you with a list of testimonials. Please feel free to check out my testimonials here.


Your EA should also send you a contract setting out the terms of business and an NDA if you require one. Make sure you have a signed contract in place before any work is begun so both you and your EA are legally covered.


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