With many who would normally commute into London for their PA job suddenly having to work from home as part of social distancing and lockdown, we thought it would be useful to talk to a PA who regularly works from home. At our PA recruitment agency, we frequently hire PAs to work from home. In fact, it’s not unusual that some temporary PA jobs are advertised as remote working. We had a chat with Louise, who has a huge amount of experience working from home as a PA.
Tell us a little about your PA role
For the last three years, I’ve been a PA to an executive who also works from home. They’ve created a digital agency and employ nearly thirty staff, all working remotely. I do sometimes meet my executive in person, as we’re both London-based, but it’s not strictly necessary.
What do you like about homeworking?
I adore being a PA and working in my own home. I know it’s not for everyone, but it works perfectly for me. I can concentrate so much more easily, as I have complete peace and quiet. I’m more productive and as such, need to work fewer hours to get the same tasks done. Of course, there are other benefits, such as being here when parcels are delivered or when the boiler needs fixing!
What do you not like about homeworking?
There isn’t much, to be honest, although it’s tricky when technology is playing up. However, after a while, you put contingency plans in place. I also find it hard to be strict about taking time off if I’m unwell. My executive knows that I’ve been in bed with the flu before, but kept on working. He now tells me off and says that I’d ring in sick if I was in an office, so apply the same rules at home!
What’s different about working from home compared to working in an office?
Due to technology, there’s not a huge amount that’s different nowadays. However, I’d say two things are really important: communication and organisation. Having your own workspace at home is important. It’s also really important to take active steps to communicate with your executive. You cannot leave it to chance. Pick up the phone regularly, and use apps to sync diaries and schedules.
Can you do every part of your role as a PA from home?
PA roles really vary. I expect some would be a lot harder to do from home. However, because the business I work in is completely digitised, it’s totally possible. Very occasionally, there are events where I go on-site, such as trade shows. However, most of the organisation is done from my home office.
What advice do you have for a PA now working from home who isn’t used to it?
Put some boundaries in places, or you’ll find yourself working every waking moment. Ask yourself regularly whether you need to check in with your executive. If you do, pick up the phone or make a video call where possible. This makes the relationship more productive. Ask more questions, and ask them more frequently than you would if you were seeing your executive throughout the day.
Are you a PA in London and have suddenly found yourself working from home? We’re sure you’ll soon be in the swing of it, and you’ll take elements from homeworking back to the office when all of this is over!
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