Back to Business
Hello, and welcome back after the holiday – we hope you’re ready to hit the ground running after one of the nicest summers that the UK has had in years!
The 'back to school' feeling doesn’t have to be depressing though – instead, think of it as a fresh start to get your business where it needs to be before the end of the year.
And you can always treat yourself to some nice stationery.
We realise that sometimes an outsourced service isn’t for everyone – some businesses rely on having people in the office to share ideas and generally become part of the team. Which is why we have decided to launch SmartPA Recruitment.
SmartPA are experts within the PA, secretarial and office support function, so our approach is somewhat different to traditional recruitment companies. We focus on identifying candidates who we feel reflect our values and skillset developed through our years of experience in the field – fill in the form below for more information.
Top 3 Resourceful Moments
Emergency SOS call from a client who was lost in London with no internet access on their smartphone – they called our office and we were able to direct them.
Delivering over 1 million words of audio transcription.
Producing a detailed report of the results of a staff opinion survey for one of our property market clients.
Meet the Team
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
From early on in my career, while studying for a degree in psychology, I worked as a secretary and PA to managers, directors and CEOs at various large corporations. I also have experience working in HR and the property and IT industries as well as with small companies and start-ups. I have been company secretary of an IT company since 2006 and a partner at SmartPA since March 2013.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE JOB?
I thrive on variation, so I enjoy being able to deal with different people and varied challenges every day.
WHAT ARE YOU KNOWN BEST FOR IN THE OFFICE?
For some it will be my ‘can-do’ approach but others would say my ‘crazy hair’ on rainy days!
BEST AND WORST THINGS IN LIFE?
Best: Solving problems – anything from helping clients to solving work challenges to crosswords and Sudoku.
Worst: Weeds – especially those on my driveway!
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A FILM OF YOUR LIFE?
Meryl Streep – for no other reason than she’s my favourite actress!
Top Tips: Don’t use your phone as a comfort blanket when you’re at a networking meeting or conference. Yes, you may well look busy and important tapping at your emails or talking to your accountant – so busy and important no-one wants to talk to you.
How's Your Customer Service?
According to a recent survey by American Express, great customer service beats kissing when it comes to feeling good. Surprised?
Physiological and psychological evidence suggests that both providing and receiving good customer interaction triggers the same reactions in the brain as being loved, resulting in decreased stress and increased wellbeing.
Not only does this improve the health of the people involved, it also improves the profits for the company – the same research also showed that happy customers will spend an average 12% more money.
The Changing Role of the PA
The word 'secretary' originally comes from the Medieval Latin word secretarius, or 'clerk, notary, confidential officer', which in turn came from the original Latin secretum, meaning 'secret'. The original secretaries of the 14th century, far from being pencil skirt-clad Mad Men clones, were highly respected male officers, trusted with recording confidential documents and letters for the King.
Fast forward several hundred years, and you arrive at the stereotypical 1950s Girl Friday, with the boss who 'may act like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they’re looking for something between a mother and a waitress.' (Peggy Olsen, Mad Men, Season 1.)
Typical duties would have included typing correspondence, answering telephones and taking shorthand. And don’t forget the coffee.
Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Today’s PA is often degree-educated, IT fluent and chooses this role because they enjoy seeing the results that their work has on the overall productivity of their managers and therefore the company. Richard Branson of Virgin Group has gone on record as saying that he couldn’t get through the workday without his personal assistant.
With the introduction of modern technology such as the PC and email a PA can, and is expected to, work as a secretary, travel agent, social media manager, receptionist and event manager all rolled into one. However, another contender for the multi-tasker crown is the smartphone – with the latest versions, you have a device which contains your diary, business email, little black book and countless travel apps to help you do everything from book a family holiday to find the nearest sushi restaurant.
Does this mean an end to the role of PA? Will the future see business people relying on handheld robotic assistants instead of the real-life version?
In a word, no. In lots of ways, the introduction of technology like smartphones has made the PA’s job easier. They can transcribe meeting notes from audio recordings rather than from their manager’s scribbled notes, they can sync their manager’s calendar so that it is automatically updated when they make a change from the office and, although the smartphone has the convenience of being pocket-sized, no amount of apps will make up for the personal touch. Even Siri.
Before long, the dreaded 'C' word will be everywhere – Christmas. We know you don’t want to think about it, but the key to a happy holiday is in the preparation. So parties, presents or trips abroad to escape the snow – let us know now and we can take care of it all.