As an executive assistant, you may have the opportunity to support multiple executives at one time. This is especially common for those who are freelance EAs. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to make a difference in the lives of several busy executives, but it can be challenging. Luckily, Base is here to share some best practices that will help you manage multiple executives with ease.
Set Expectations and Boundaries
One of the most important steps when managing multiple executives is setting expectations and boundaries from the very start. As you establish your relationship with your second (or third or fourth) executive, be sure to be transparent about the fact that you support more than one individual. If your executive comes into the relationship with an understanding that you are supporting multiple people, it will help her or him understand how you allocate your time and why you follow certain processes.
When setting expectations with a new executive, there are many topics that should be covered. Two are specifically important. First of all, it is imperative that each executive has clear expectations on turn-around times. Give each client an estimate of how long it will take you to manage email responses, recurring tasks, projects, and more.
You should also clarify which projects and initiatives each executive considers to be urgent. Once you understand the priorities of each executive, be sure to set up a protocol for when something urgent arises. In these scenarios, be clear about how the executive should get into contact with you, whether that be through call, text, or email. Communicate what will happen in the event that you’re with another executive when an urgent matter arises. It can be difficult to handle all of the emails, projects, and urgent matters related to multiple executives, but setting expectations and boundaries from the start will help.
Manage Your Time
Time management is always important as an EA, but it becomes increasingly so when you are managing multiple executives. The time you dedicate to the various executives you support is precious and should be treated as such. If you aren’t managing your time effectively, it can be easy to get caught up supporting one executive who is in a particularly busy season and not give your other executive the attention she/he deserves.
Try to evaluate all of your executives’ needs and align your week based on their individual priorities. If you are expected to work 10 hours per week for one executive and 30 for another, your time should reflect that. Dedicated time blocks can help you to stay on track. If you’re supposed to work 10 hours a week for one executive, try blocking one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon for that individual. You can then dedicate the rest of your work day to the executive that expects 30 hours of your support.
It sounds like a perfect plan, right? It is, until those unexpected tasks or urgent matters arise. With that in mind, remember that you have to be flexible with your time. Things come up and you can’t always stick to your schedule perfectly. As long as you take the time to re-evaluate and rearrange your schedule, you will still be able to meet your executives’ expectations.
It is easy to get lost in the chaos when you are managing multiple executives. Staying organized is key. Three great ways to stay organized when managing multiple executives include color coding, Google Chrome profiles, and Base.
One of the easiest ways to stay organized when supporting multiple executives is to dedicate a specific color to each individual. Color coding can be applied to almost everything – calendar items, inbox labels, Chrome profiles, and even the pens you use to take notes! Having a visual representation of who you’re working for at any moment can help you keep your sanity and stay on track.
On the more technical side of things, Google Chrome profiles are a great way to stay organized, ensure focus, and manage your time. Instead of opening a single web window and completing work for all your executives in the same location, try creating a Chrome profile for each executive. This will allow you to compartmentalize and personalize the profiles for each person you support. You won’t have to check which Amazon account you’re signed into fifteen times before making a purchase or drive yourself crazy looking for the correct TSA PreCheck number. You’ll also be able to focus solely on one executive without seeing another executive’s emails coming through.
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention Base. One of the platform’s main functions is giving assistants the ability to manage multiple executives efficiently and effectively. Within the platform, you can set up a workspace for each executive you support and store individual preferences, habits, travel data, key contacts, software, and more in a central location. Being able to navigate between the profiles of several executives quickly and without much thought is a lifesaver. You no longer have to sign into different tools to manage executive workflows, you simply have to toggle back and forth from workspace to workspace. If you haven’t tried Base, start your free trial today!
Setting expectations and boundaries, managing your time effectively, and staying organized are all important best practices for supporting multiple executives. Take the time to set yourself up for success and see the difference these practices can make!