5 Things You Should Know About Personal Assistants

Call it overlap or a gray area, but the responsibility of an assistant—executive, family, personal, or otherwise​​—often spills into other roles to get the job done. From helping to hold down the fort, coordinating travel arrangements, and taking care of event planning, an assistant becomes an integral part of their client’s life.

1. There’s More than One Kind of Assistant

Depending on their needs, clients will seek out different types of assistants to help them in their day-to-day.

Personal Assistants

A personal assistant can take up many different roles but at the end of the day, they’re meant to be 100% focused on the needs of their clients. A personal assistant becomes their client’s proxy, often representing their interests in face-to-face interactions or phone calls.

That could entail performing administrative tasks and managing their client’s schedule or running errands and maintaining peace and order on the homefront.

Virtual Assistants

In recent years, becoming a virtual assistant has become more popular. Young professionals are enjoying the ability to create their own schedules, offering bespoke digital solutions for even a few clients at a time. Their major responsibility is to assist their clients by managing and optimizing their digital workspace.

Virtual assistants work remotely but continue to deliver the same level of support as a personal or executive assistant. By nature of their remote setting, they are particularly equipped to help clients who travel often.

Executive Assistants

An executive assistant is typically more senior than a personal or virtual assistant. Executive assistants typically work in corporate settings. In addition to being their employer’s proxy, they often act as a gatekeeper, a measure of security to ensure that work is being done efficiently and without needless interruption. Executive assistants should also be prepared for a degree of interdepartmental collaboration, navigating the delicate relationship between various stakeholders in a project while prioritizing the interests of their employer.

Family Assistants

While executive assistants have a handle on all things in business, family assistants step in to support the entire household.

As a result, the role is an exceptionally diverse one with a range of responsibilities including working with household contractors, helping with homework, driving and running errands, planning events, mailing out holiday cards, taking care of the pets, and so much more. In short, the family assistant is like an additional head of the household.

2. Staying Organized is as Important as Being Flexible

An effective and reliable assistant is one that’s willing to roll up their sleeves to assist their client any time and in any way possible. Most job descriptions do explain that an individual must be flexible with their hours of availability and scope of duties, however, those duties can range from responding to an email or scheduling an appointment to cleaning up after the family dog or helping in the kitchen.

With all these moving parts, staying organized is paramount so that clients can better focus on their responsibilities knowing that they have a trusted agent keeping things running on all other fronts.

Depending on a client’s level of comfort and the personal assistant’s skill set, it is not uncommon for some to be trusted with managing personal finances like budgeting, bill paying, and bookkeeping, which are just a few skills that require excellent organizational skills.

3. The Stakes are Always High

An assistant is someone whose trusted with their client’s private information. They’re welcomed into homes and workplaces and are expected to perform their duties efficiently, professionally, and with their client’s best interests at top of mind. From time-sensitive project proposals to routine carpools, every aspect of the assistant’s responsibilities is of equal importance.

When working with someone as closely as assistants do with their clients, there’s an understandable overlap between personal and professional lives. Both parties may find themselves in situations that will challenge their sense of boundaries. Sometimes, the most valuable skill an assistant can have is an understanding of prioritization.

Knowing when to step back, even when their employer might insist otherwise—or vice versa—can make the difference between a good employee and a great one.

4. In-Person and Online, There’s an Image to Uphold

An assistant represents their employer in every aspect of life. To their personal and professional contacts, the assistant may be the first person they interface with. Everything they do is a representation of the person they work for. As such, the mannerisms, polish, and professionalism of an assistant must be aligned with that of their employer.

For some clients, where their personal security is a top priority, their assistants must be trained and advised in manners and protocols that mitigate security risks. This might be something as small as disabling social media profiles or making them private. Either way, having an employee handbook that clearly outlines the personal, professional, and security obligations of the assistant is key to facilitating a successful working relationship.

5. An Assistant is a Lasting Investment

Family assistant or executive, while these roles may be unique, their goal is to always support their clients. An assistant helps save time by supporting their client in whatever way is needed. For this reason, their flexibility paired with their ability to stay organized, helps them develop into a critical member of a team or family.

When prioritization forces their client to move things to the back burner, the assistant steps in to support some of that workload. Even the smallest task can have a monumental impact in the grand scheme of things. Having someone to rely on increases output so that the to-do list stays manageable throughout the course of the project.

Find the Perfect Assistant with Private Staff Group

An assistant can make your life easier so find a top-notch candidate that is trustworthy and highly skilled.

The Private Staff Group can help you find the best and most qualified candidates. Our recruitment process has met precise estate employment requirements across the globe. For more information, contact us online or by phone at 1-866-282-7729. Our team is always ready to provide you with the professionalism and courtesy you deserve!