How to Be a More Efficient Executive Assistant: Stop Doing What You Pay Others To Do

May 25, 2014

- Posted by Stephen Chapek

efficient executive assistant

Workplace productivity is an important topic these days because with the state of our economy as well as the advance of technology, we are all forced to do more with less. For those who are able to make the leap into a hyper-productive, pared down office place, there reward can be substantial to the bottom line.

For support staff like Executive Assistants, it can be a mixed blessing because we have more to do and less time to do it in. However, there is a silver lining. This growth in the efficiency workplace has been paired with the growth of outsourcing and virtual cooperation. This is helping office workers in their quest to be more productive because now we have additional resources to call upon when we need help. Whereas at one time, many support tasks might have been handled in-house at a corporation, now these can outsourced at lower cost.

How To Be a More Efficient Administrative Professional

As an Admin Assistant, you’re often the arm that connects many moving parts for the success of the executive you serve. This includes travel itineraries, meeting agendas, catering, ground transportation, staffing, scheduling, and the list goes on. However, the secret to being efficient is in building an infrastructure around yourself that supports your success, and ultimately your executive’s success.

To accomplish that infrastructure, you have to build relationships with the various stakeholders, ensuring that you won’t get caught up in both doing your job, as well as stressing, worrying about the obligations of the other players.

Outsourcing Is Efficient If Done Right!

That gives executive assistants the ability to do more with less, but also makes them more dependent on help from outside contractors. That can also be a mixed blessing, because when it works, it is fabulously quick and efficient, but when things don’t work as intended, then it can really slow us down and make us less efficient. So the efficient management of our outsourced and distributed networks becomes a critical issue. It also points to the importance of having quality vendors or contractors that you can really rely upon and trust.

Case in point, if an executive assistant is going to hire an outside company, say an accounting firm to do the books, the two entities have to be able to work together well for the efficiency gains to be realized. In real terms, this means the outside company has to be able to understand the task they are required to do, and to be able to do it well without lots of supervision!

An Executive Transportation Example

In the world of executive transportation, where we operate, outsourcing is a well established way of doing business because transportation is an expensive, labor intensive industry that is difficult for companies to afford when their needs are only periodic or occasional. Unless a company is doing transportation or distribution of their own goods and services all the time, it is often more economical to farm this work out so that the said company doesn’t have to invest in a lot of overhead that won’t get used on a consistent basis.


Making Transportation Simple

In simple terms, this might mean an executive assistant is called upon to book executive transportation perhaps only a few times per month, or maybe more for periodic travel. Or perhaps the client company is organizing a large event and will require extensive transportation, but over a short period of time, like a week or a few days. Either way, unless your department is starting from scratch, it will require the executive assistant to call upon his or her network of transportation providers to get the job done.

Ideally, the assistant will have a file of trusted transportation vendors she can contact, who are familiar with the client’s needs and vice versa. If that is not the case, then it should be your goal to establish those relationships and find your comfort zone of knowing how to work with your established supplier so when the big order comes in, you can be confident that the job will be done properly and that your company’s very important transportation needs will be handled.

Hire Someone You Can Trust

If an executive assistant is going to hire a transportation company, she needs to hire a company that will own the project, and make sure it’s done right. The whole point is is remove the stress and worry over transportation and making deadlines from the assistant and put it upon the transportation vendor, who is the expert in this area.

Imagine the scenario the assistant would face if, having to hire a new transportation company, the assistant would have to spend valuable extra time checking up on the vendor to make sure they got the order right, that the vehicles would be dispatched on time and have the passenger contact, that the specific instructions for the transfer or the event transportation were dealt with properly, that everything was going according to plan and on-time, etc.  

That assistant would probably be a nervous wreck! Not only would they not be extending their productivity by concentrating on other urgent matters, they might even have to neglect their current duties in order to babysit the transportation vendor. Not a good situation!

Build Your Relationships/Networks Before You Need Them!

It is definitely a good idea to start researching and building those networks of transportation contacts before they are urgently needed. Arranging transportation can be a simple solution if you put the work in ahead of time and find a quality company that values efficiency and on-time performance that you can use over and over again.

While price will always be a factor in contracting out work, the most valuable lesson an executive assistant can learn is to focusing on finding a quality company that values customer service and getting the job done above all else.

There are many different transportation companies out there, covering different territories and market niches, so it can take time to find the right one.

Getting Rid of Unnecessary Stress

When you work with a transportation company that values customer service, they will take the burden off your shoulders. They’ll make sure they have all of the correct trip or event information, that the vehicle type and drivers assigned are appropriate and prepared for the job, that the vehicles are clean and well maintained and will perform the job required of them without difficulty. These are the types of worries that the executive assistant shouldn’t have to worry about.  

The only thing the assistant should have to worry about is making sure the transportation order gets booked, that the dates and times are correct, and provides all the client/passenger information that the operator requests.

And then, they should be able to turn away to other tasks, comfortable in the fact that their transportation needs are taken care of. It’s about being able to stop doing what you pay others to do! 

We've compiled a list of online tools for Executive Assistants that you may want to reference. 

The Executive Administrator's Guide to Luxury Transportation

Topics: Executive Transportation, Executive Assistants

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