There is no doubt about it: the workplace is changing. The relentless march of technology has brought about fundamental shifts in how we work, where we work and who we work with. Yet, it’s not just technological advance that has led executives to adopt the remote assistant model.
The way we communicate has transformed markedly. The advent of smartphones and tablets has not only altered the physical appearance of traditional office space, but also the virtual outlook. Even if we are in close proximity to a colleague, it’s likely we’ll communicate with them via email.
Meanwhile, most work is now done over the cloud. More and more meetings are taking place over webcam. Access to executives is becoming ever easier. Only last week, I had a conversation with Vodafone’s CEO via Linkedin. In short, remote working is not only practical, but it’s fast becoming the norm.
Technology, though, has not only reshaped the workplace, but the role of an assistant too. Gone are the days when ‘personal assistant’ was a byword for tea-making and printing documents. Nowadays, assistants should be an extension of their executive: acting on their behalf; a sounding-board and generator of ideas.
As such, an assistant needs to perfectly complement the executive’s skills. With the in-house assistant model, an executive is tied to the abilities of one person. For example, an assistant may have a strong background in financial accounting, but is perhaps lacking in the proofreading department. The result? Proofreading must be delegated to another employee unnecessarily.
With the remote assistant model, there is a pool of specialised talents at the executive’s fingertips. At FYXER, if something falls outside the remit of your assistant, one of their skilled team members will work as a consultant on the project. What’s more, another member of the team will be able to cover your assistant during periods of holiday or sick leave to minimise disruption and maximise productivity.
Potential clients often acknowledge that ‘90% of their work can be done remotely’, but they are worried about ‘what happens to the next 10%’. Unlike other companies, we appreciate that the physical office is more than just tables and chairs and, on occasion, a traditional in-person role is required. Therefore, not only do our clients tend to meet face-to-face with their fyxers on a monthly basis, but our assistants can be mobilised for special occasions, such as sitting in on an AGM meeting or queuing at the passport office.
This engagement is just one reason why executives develop a strong connection with their remote assistant. Although working ‘remotely’, the relationship between client and fyxer is as strong as if they were working in-house, with the fact that an executive invited his fyxer to his wedding this month testament to this bond.
Workplace trends used to filter down from the largest companies, but now entrepreneurs and small businesses are the pioneers. With advances in both technology and an assistant’s role, it’s no surprise that executives are turning to the remote assistant model.