Common Challenges Personal Assistants Face – Part 1

Posted on Monday, September 14, 2020 by The Career GuideNo comments

Personal assistants often find that their role is widely misunderstood. At our PA recruitment agency, we understand this can result in them facing various challenges. It’s common to take on more than your job description shows, and being a PA is fantastic and rewarding, but these challenges need to be overcome. So what are they and how can you overcome them?

We’ve broken this article down into two parts. That way, we can offer real solutions to the challenges faced by PAs.

The top challenges of PAs

The PA role can be complex, as can the challenges. We’re focusing on four issues that most PAs experience at one time or another:

  • Making a mistake and coming back from it
  • Hostile working environments
  • The boundary between personal and professional lives
  • Maintaining a positive attitude

In the first part of this article, we’ll deal with the first two.

Making mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes. PAs in London usually work in highly pressured environments where mistakes will happen. Those mistakes tend to be highly visible or involve important people, due to the nature of the role.

As a PA, multi-tasking is inevitable, increasing the risk of mistakes. How you handle your mistakes matters.

  • Own up and own it: Be honest when you make a mistake but be solution-focused. When it’s clear that you have intentions to fix something, people are more understanding.
  • Stand tall: Your confidence may well take a battering if you’ve made a mistake, especially if it was highly visible. Know that it doesn’t reflect the whole of who you are. Focus on your broader reputation not just this moment in time.
  • Learn from it: Put learning and new systems in place to prevent the mistake from happening again. Whether it’s an additional checklist or running certain actions through others, make a change.

    Hostile working environments

    While respect and pleasantness should be a staple of every workplace, that isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, the PA, often the conduit between management and employees, can bear the brunt of it.

  • Know your rights: Be familiar with your legal rights in terms of discrimination and harassment. You can always chat to ACAS.
  • Be firm with individuals: Ask people to stop their negative behaviour. If they don’t, then speak to your boss or HR. Keep a record of what you do and what happens. Raise a grievance if necessary.
  • Keep impartial: Don’t get involved in gossip or hostilities between different parties but remain impartial. If you witness harassment or discrimination, report it to HR or your boss.
  • Move on: Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to navigate a hostile working environment without it negatively impacting your wellbeing. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to look for a new role.

If you’re in a hostile working environment that has become untenable, give us a call on 020 7870 7177. In the next part of this article, we’ll look at managing the boundary between your personal and professional life, as well as maintaining a positive attitude at work.


Love Success is a leading London PA & office support recruitment agency.
Our expert recruiters can help you find permanent and temporary jobs in London.

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