The Extra Mile: Now’s the Time!

As assistants, we’re used to taking care of others, but it’s easy to get into a routine – check inboxes, schedule meetings, book travel… These days our executives’ needs are changing and evolving by the day, as they lead our companies through a global pandemic.

We know that with an economic downturn, all jobs are at risk; and it’s more important now than ever to make sure we are showing our value to our executive and our company. It’s time to go the extra mile, really shine, provide proactive and next-level support, and surprise and delight the people we work with.

Maybe you’re up to your eyeballs with work right now; maybe you’re finding yourself with more time on your hands if you’re not in the office. Either way, it’s time to step up and increase proactivity!

Imagine you’re in your exec’s shoes – managing employees, making sure the business continues to run well, reporting to investors… along with possibly working from home with family and adjusting to remote work. What would make your life easier right now? What would surprise and delight you?

Ideas on How to Wow Your Exec

  • Ask how she’s doing. Let her know she’s doing a great job. Let her know you appreciate the work she’s doing to keep the team and business intact.
  • Offer to help with meal delivery for her and her family. Does your exec usually get lunch delivered? She’ll still need to eat – can you take care of that detail?
  • Talk through your exec’s daily schedule if she is suddenly working from home. What times are best for calls and video conferences? Is she sharing a workspace with a spouse, or perhaps children? How can you help adjust her calendar to make work flow more easily for her?
  • Offer resources for her if her kids are at home. Can you book in-home childcare for her during an upcoming virtual board meeting? Can you send a list of resources and activities she can share with her children?
  • Offer to help set up any extra tools needed via screen sharing or even a remote desktop setting (where you can take over her screen and set things up for her).
  • If your team is new to remote work, research the best tools for team collaboration and communication, and present your team with recommendations on which would work best given your team’s work style and budget. Become fluent in these tools, so you can give your exec a crash course.
  • Has travel been cancelled? Be thorough with this task, and let your executive know you have cancelled flights, rental cars, and hotels, received refunds or are managing travel credits, and notified anyone she had planned to meet with.
  • Request (and push for) frequent video check-ins (at least once a week!), so you can better gauge mood and priorities, stay top-of-mind as an asset, and be a cheerleader along the way.
  • Take advantage of any down time by working on back-burner projects, creating and documenting standard operating procedures, cleaning up contacts, organizing digital files, performing a calendar audit, or taking time to set up a password management system.
  • Think about the months to come, for your company and your executive. When the team returns to the office, what will be needed? Make a plan for re-opening, including signage, customer communication, stocking office supplies and food, pre-cleaning the office, and creating a report of expenses that were specific to a shut-down.
  • Review your exec’s calendar for the coming weeks; what needs to be cancelled or rescheduled? Do any meeting attendees need to be trained on video conferencing tools? Were any meetings dependent on a whiteboard or other collaboration, and can you find digital alternatives? Can upcoming board meetings be done via video conference?
  • Is your executive worried about layoffs? Brainstorm how to nurture relationships, extend her network, document preferences and passwords, and update LinkedIn and other profiles. (And do the same for yourself.)
  • Still have time on your hands? Find some free online videos or classes to boost your tech savviness – the world will rely on tech tools even more now!

There are so many ways we can support our executives and our companies right now. The world is overwhelming at the moment, and we cannot be expected to understand how to cope and thrive; but we cannot sit back and wait to see what happens to our businesses and our jobs. Take charge now, lead with service, and be a true source of support!

About the Author

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Mallory Greer