Rules to Better PA (aka Personal Assistant)

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Rules to Better PA (aka Personal Assistant)
  1. Do you ask your boss whether he has any time-critical tasks?

    Often a day can go by quickly and important jobs won't get done. Every night at about 5pm you should call your boss and say "Are there any time critical tasks or emails you need me to do before I go home?"

    P.S. The longer after 5pm you leave this call, the likelier it is that you'll be staying late!

  2. Do you make sure your boss is aware of his appointments for the following day?

    Every night at about 5pm you should call your boss and say "I've just checked your calendar for tomorrow. Can you tell me important appointments you have?"

    It is better to ask you boss what they have on tomorrow rather than tell them because making your boss think for themself means he or she is more likely to remember any appointments.

  3. Do you remind your boss of daily events on a "just in time" basis?

    Look at your boss's calendar, if you see a meeting at, say, 3pm, call him at, say, 12 noon and say something like "Do you have anything going on this afternoon?"

    If he knows he has a meeting at 3pm say "How many hours away is that?", "How long will it take you to get there?"

  4. Do you encourage your boss to put new appointments directly into his phone?

    Bosses are busy and forget. Just like you encourage a developer to book their own appointment Do you know to make sure that you book the next appointment before you leave the client? a boss should be the same.

    When your boss takes a call from someone wanting to book an appointment there are two options to offer the caller:

    1. create a 'Outlook Calendar Appointment', or
    2. call his PA and have him/her double check that they are free, and then create an Outlook Calendar Appointment

    It used to be that if the appointment was for the same day, your boss would have to take option 2 to keep the PA informed but now with mobile devices you should generally use option 1.

  5. Do you enter your bosses Timesheets daily?

    Every night at about 5 you should call your boss and say "I am doing your time sheets. Tell me what you did today." You should follow Rules to Better Timesheets when drawing up the times.

  6. Do you indicate when you are sending an email on behalf of someone else?

    You shouldn't have to send emails on behalf of other people because people now have email on their phones. However, on the rare occasions that you do have to send an email on behalf of someone else (eg. your boss), ensure that you BCC the person you are sending it on behalf of and add [ ] in the subject field (at the end) so that such emails can be identified.

    Sending Emails on behalf of someone else
    Figure: Make it easy to identify when you are sending emails on behalf of someone else
  7. Do you keep the office looking great?Unpublished

    The PA is often the face of the business. It is important to encourage everyone to keep the space looking as good as possible.

    If your boss is the host of a meeting, the space must be presentable and set up appropriately (for example, if the meeting will require the use of a computer or projector, ensure there are plugs and a space for them to be used).

    If the space has been double-booked or is already in use, call your boss as early as possible to arrange for an alternative location.

  8. Do you know the best way of booking flights?

    ​Follow Rules to Better Flights.​

  9. Do you try to be one step ahead... doing tasks before they come up?

    It is never easy to be a mind reader.

    Try to help your boss by saving time by removing minor details or distractions before they arise. This means you will sometimes need to perform tasks such as rescheduling their appointment, researching a product they are looking to purchase (to help them make a faster decision) or chasing up repairs on their behalf.

  10. Calendar - Do you check someone's calendar before booking an appointment?

    ​​Imagine someone wants an appointment with a team member who has shared their calendar with you. Offer to look up the calendar and book in time straightaway.

    Try calling him.
    Bad Example
    adams-calendar.jpg
    Sure, I'll just look up Adam's calendar and see when he's free. Obviously it's not a good idea to call Adam now as he is on a plane. 
    Good Example
  11. Calendar - Do you give your PA administrator permissions for your calendar?

    ​There are occasions that you are not able to access your computer to send sick emails, or you get a call from your client on the way to the office that you have to drive to client site straight away; when such things happen, you need someone else to update your calendar when you call in, so others are aware of your availabilities.

    So always make sure the admin people are able to access your calendar with full permission in order to add/edit/delete appointments for you. ​

    Click on Calendar Permissions
    Figure: Click on "Calendar Permissions"
    Set full access to admins
    Figure: Give admins full access to your calendar

    Once the permission is given, open other people's calendar is as easy as 2 steps:

    1. Go to the Calendar tab in outlook and click "open a Shared Calendar"
      Open a Shared Calendar
      Figure: Opening a shared calendar
    2. Choose the calendar you want to open in the pop up form:
      Choose the calendar you want to open
      Figure: Find the calendar you want
      Then you can have this shared calendar shown in your Outlook.