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In today’s world, clever tech and cloud computing enable many of us to work from anywhere. Can executive assistants do their job remotely too?
We all know what the acronym WFH stands for but what about WFA? In an era of rapid technological change, working from home has quickly given way to working from anywhere – anywhere with an internet connection, that is. It’s an exciting prospect, particularly when you consider the cost and time savings to be gained by avoiding the commute and finding somewhere closer to home, and it’s a way of working that could be applied to executive assistant and executive secretary roles too.
As the primary function of the EA/ES is to effectively manage the workflow of a CEO or MD, there’s plenty of scope for flexible working when many of the tasks required to fulfil that function can be performed remotely – and with many CEOs and those in similar positions spending a significant amount of time on the road and away from the office, the EA/ES in one sense already does work remotely. As long as the two are able to connect when they need to, what’s the problem?
These days, the connectivity afforded by technology has made flexible working more accessible than ever. The concept of flexspace as an employee’s only “fixed” space is a growing trend all over the world, and it’s not hard to see why. A new environment provides new opportunities to network, and the agile nature of the type of businesses flexspaces tend to attract make for a buzzy atmosphere too. When you do require the extra hardware and software more commonly found in an office, a good flexible working provider will have flexible meeting rooms and flexible office space available to book as demand dictates. (It’s worth thinking about which provider you choose: should you find all the rooms booked out in one flexspace, a provider with a bigger network is far more likely to be able to find you a room in a neighbouring location.)
Despite many employers’ fears that employees left to their own devices might blur the boundaries of the work/life balance, the evidence suggests exactly the opposite. In their Harvard Business Review article ‘Is it Time to Let Employees Work from Anywhere?’, Prithwiraj Choudhury, Barbara Z Larson and Cirrus Foroughi report on the findings of their recent study. What became clear was “a correlation between working from home and increased productivity relative to working in the office” – in other words, stay away from the office to get stuff done.
The research gives an interesting example of the effect increased productivity has on the bottom line. Based on the behaviour of patent examiners at the US Patent & Trade Office (USPTO), it found: “The 4.4% productivity increase represents up to $1.3 billion of annual value added to the US economy, based on the average economic activity generated per additional patent granted.” This is a stunning revelation, and one that can be easily applied to the work of the EA/ES. When you consider the cost of a CEO’s time, anything you can do to save some of it is likely to have a significant effect on the productivity of the business you both work for.
With a worldwide network of flexible office space in locations ranging from central business districts to greenbelt business parks, and with options ranging from a desk to a suite of rooms, Regus is a firm believer in the flexspace revolution. Not only is it efficient when it comes to expenditure (only pay for what you need), it also absolves you of the office-management tasks like cleaning and maintenance responsibilities that aren’t in the job description but so often fall to the ever-capable EA/ES. If you can present the case that working from anywhere can work for the business as a whole – as well as for you on a personal level – there’s no reason your CEO won’t become a firm believer in flexspace too.
Work from anywhere: book your day office or meeting room at Regus