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Building long-term resilience into your homeworking.

October 13, 2020 / United Kingdom

How can personal assistants working from home support business recovery?

Resilience is the topic on everyone’s lips, as businesses start to rebuild and recover from the initial shock of the COVID pandemic.

But resilience isn’t just organisational. In fact, building resilience at strategic and operational levels depends on individual resilience. That is, the ability to recover fast from difficulty and overcome tough situations. 

Individual resilience isn’t just essential for the business’ long-term health. It’s essential to personal wellbeing too.

Individual resilience is all about flexibility and fast learning. How comfortable are employees with change? Can they adapt fast to new ways of working?  

Nowhere are those skills more crucial than to PAs, who must embody individual resilience yourself and help facilitate resilience in the people around you. 

What does resilience mean for PAs working from home? 

On an individual level, the most crucial aspect is safeguarding your own wellbeing. Working from home brings new challenges and pressures.

PAs can’t be the backbone of the business if you’re struggling yourself. One of the biggest dangers is being ‘always on’, especially if you support global teams. In the UK, the average employee is working two hours longer than usual every day. Extrapolate that across everyone PAs support and you’re probably working many hours longer.

Find that fine line between staying connected and tuning out, protecting your own need for space. Looking after yourself is part of PAs’ job description: it empowers you to facilitate resilience in the executives and teams you support. 

How can PAs facilitate resilience as teams settle into WFH?  

If you’re working from home for the foreseeable, now is a great time to take stock. What’s been working? What hasn’t? Many businesses thought WFH would be short-lived so might have taken a ‘make do and mend’ attitude to process change. PAs can champion a long-term perspective.

For example:

  • Should the channels teams use to communicate evolve? Perhaps long-term, businesses need to lean more heavily on informal chat channels that allow quick chat and instant availability, like you’d get face-to-face.
  • How can PAs also champion work/life balance, to protect employees from burnout and protect the business from increased absences and lower productivity? Technology is a great resource for PAs to amplify their impact over new distances. For instance, scheduling regular virtual check-ins to catch potential wellbeing issues before they spiral. 
  • How can PAs keep teams together despite these new distances? Research has long shown that social support, social connectedness, is fundamental to individual resilience. PAs should look to build moments into the working week that promote this sense of connection – like scheduling team lunches, or a month-end treat dinner. When everyone’s WFH, that might look like ordering individual meals to everyone’s home office, for example, then connecting online to share the experience.

Bear in mind though, those shared experiences can be powerful but it’s important not to add too much to your already-laden workload. Technology – like platforms to manage employee food programs – can empower PAs to have a positive impact while easing the associated admin burden. 

This blog is part of The team that Eats together initiative, a content series exploring what normal looks like now, and how to enhance the working world to meet evolved employee expectations.

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The views and opinions expressed are based on the research conducted and they do not intend to present an official policy of Uber or any of its subsidiaries. Examples of advice mentioned in this article are based on open source information and assumptions made within the article are not reflective of Uber’s position.