At our London recruitment agency, we’re aware that many office-based businesses are taking steps to make their businesses ‘Covid-secure’ by implementing part-time office work, with the remainder of employees’ hours done at home. This allows them to manage the number of people in the office more easily, allowing greater social distancing. We know that for those doing office-based roles, such as PA jobs in London, this brings some unique challenges.
Our PA recruitment agency spoke to a few different PAs dividing their work between home and the office to get their top tips for how to make it work well.
Organisation on another level
“I’ve always been organised, but now I’m taking my organisation skills to the next level,” Martin told us. “You need to be highly organised to make this work. It’s no use if you’ve left something at the office when you need it at home. Everything needs to be rigorously organised.”
Choose your tasks wisely
Sarah is a PA to a team of executives in central London. “I think carefully about which tasks I’ll do in the office and which I’ll do at home,” she says. “In the office, I tend to focus on those that involve networking or require particular equipment. At home, I’ve been focusing on writing reports and putting together PowerPoints. The peace and quiet and lack of distractions are beneficial.”
“Communication is key,” Chris told us. “We work one week in the office and then one week at home. It means that you tend to communicate more easily with those who are on the same pattern as you, although that’s not necessarily a good thing. I make sure I consciously think about the colleagues I don’t see fortnightly, keeping them in the loop and getting in touch with them regularly.”
“I use cloud-based systems that I can use effectively in the office and at home,” says Gemma. “But I also keep an A4 jotter with me that travels between work and home. This ensures a seamless transition between home and office. I always feel like the two places are connected if I have that to hand.”
Honesty is the best policy
Amy told us how she struggled to begin with: “To be honest, it was a nightmare. We didn’t have set desks at work, so it was taking 45 minutes each day just to get logged in and running. Then, you’d discover that the one-way system meant a 10-minute walk to find your manager, who by then had moved. At the same time, some colleagues that I regularly worked with were still at home. I was getting hardly anything done. I spoke to my manager and it turned out that a lot of people felt the same. They’ve now changed things: My entire team are in the office together and located in one zone. IT have sorted out the tech issues, and it works better now.”
Does blended working work for you?
Many businesses are taking a blended approach to home and office-based working for the long term, certainly until a vaccine is created and rolled out. That could be some time. If blended working doesn’t suit you, it may be time to consider a different role. Get in touch on 020 7870 7177.
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