In the Office Support world, we are often engaging with candidates who place a high priority on work/life balance when seeking a new opportunity. Let’s face it, most Executive Assistants don’t sign up to this role because of the short hours. Being an EA or an Office Support professional means that you cannot rely on starting at 9am and being out the door by 5. The hours are unpredictable and you can often be on call at all hour’s due to navigating international time zones and complex, sensitive emergencies. This can make it difficult to have any form of work life balance, and burn out is an all too common factor we then see arise. Hence the knock on our door!
So how can one still be successful in their day to day role as an Office Support candidate, yet still achieve work life balance? After discussing this topic with many EAs and PAs who have it down-pat, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to assist you with hitting this nail on the head.
Work smarter not harder
A phrase that is often overused, but not many people know how to implement it. In the case of an Assistants profession things like having procedures in place make life easier to get tasks done. Creating manuals for certain tasks so when it can’t be done by you there is a step by step ‘go to’ for someone else. This way the tasks won’t just pile up on your ‘to do’ list! Anything from how to put in a stationery order, to re-filling the printer cartridge, through to coordinating travel.
‘No’ does exist
Now we aren’t suggesting saying ‘No’ to your boss and his or her needs, because well hey, providing seamless support is part of the job description. However, you can say no to others, colleagues, co-workers and the like. Too often does the Assistant turn into the ‘Yes’ person and everyone takes advantage of that. If this is chewing up your hours in the office and the person requesting your assistance can likely complete the task themselves, or find an alternate support person with a lighter workload, have the conversation. Starting to push back when its relevant, achieving those small wins and extra minutes will give you valuable time back.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
The hardest one of all to tackle, nearly every Assistant will know it’s an innate trait to have high standards of yourself and of the work you produce. That’s not a bad thing; but, it will take a load off your shoulders if you can learn to recognise the priority of smaller things that will not have a detrimental impact on your work or personal life, if they aren’t attended to straight away. Learning how to accept that not always will you finish a work day with every box checked, and that is okay – will aid in banishing those unwanted stressors you carry around with you.
Don’t take your work home with you
Yes, you often will need to work long hours, but the worst of it is taking the work home with you when there should be a clear distinction between work and home. Not saying that working from home isn’t an option if it’s reasonable hours and provides you flexibility. It’s the 12+ hour days in the office and the countless extra hours at home that chew into your balance. This is in the physical and mental sense. When you make the decision to leave the office, switch off completely. Your body and mind will thank you for it the next day when you come back fresh and ready to tackle whatever you were doing the prior day. Work doesn’t need to be the only thing that defines who you are, make sure you embrace hobbies and spend time doing the other things that fulfil you.
Assistant Sydney is a boutique recruitment firm that specialises purely in Office Support. Day in, day out, our expert team provide advice, guidance and strategy to our candidates to assist them in gaining the best results from their job search.
Please get in touch with one of our team members today, should you be looking for a new opportunity – or simply require an additional opinion on your resume.
We would love to help!