In the intricate landscape of modern business, the PA/EA assistant transcends mere administrative support. Far more than managing schedules and arranging cushions in the conference room, a personal or executive assistant will become an indispensable partner and the pinnacle of efficiency, organisation, and strategic excellence. We delve into the myriad ways a proficient PA/EA can elevate an organisation, from optimising time management to fostering impeccable communication, allowing leaders to focus on innovation and growth.

8 Ways you can add value as an assistant

1. Seek all opportunities to help out

While some support roles can be more dynamic than others, almost all positions will have some opportunities for contribution. Whether this be through projects, presentations, focus groups, or content creation, offering your help allows for personal development in an area you might not have considered. It also goes without saying that it reflects well on your work ethic and establishes you as a team player.

2. Make management’s life easier

Why not start with having a read of this very short piece: Know your boss' likes and dislikes

One of the most evident ways you can add value as an assistant is by maximising time efficiency and therefore increasing productivity. This can transpire as being a gatekeeper to your principle; understanding who they’re interested in speaking to directly, who can be directed to their inbox, and then who can be politely redirected elsewhere. Some people will require this more than others, but it’s always important to pay attention to correspondence so that no one must repeat themselves.

Additionally, it should go without saying that in-person appointments should be scheduled in a manner that makes geographical sense. Even better still, converting meetings from in-person to online can be a real time saver, as well as capping online meetings to 20/30 minutes. Evidently there are an abundance of ways to boost time efficiency, the key is to tailor your methods to best suit the individual or team you’re supporting.

3. Provide confidentiality

An innumerate amount of support roles will mention the importance of confidentiality. This is not a stipulation that can be taken lightly, discretion in day-to-day matters. Some people are better suited to this part of the job than others, if confidentiality doesn’t come too easy to you it might be worth looking for a role that doesn’t require it.

4. Adapt

A good assistant will be able to adapt under pressure!


  • Rescheduling diary or travel plans at the very last minute.
  • Troubleshooting technical problems
  • Liaising with all types of different people to achieve common goals.
  • Learning new skills in order to solve a problem.

5. Understand the business

Though support roles often exist on the outside of the day-to-day business model, it’s important that you integrate yourself enough that you’re able to understand the general running of things. This means; recognising important names in correspondences, understanding the functions of different departments, and how the business measures a successful period. Paying attention really can mean the difference in the support industry!

6. Keep Track of your Achievements

The hustle and bustle nature of assisting can mean that it’s easy to get caught up in what’s coming next. However, we advise that once a fortnight, you take the time to reflect on how you’ve performed, but more importantly what you’ve learned. This trick went viral online earlier this year; create a spreadsheet designed to document your progress in the role, keep logging any new things that you have accomplished/ added to your plate. This is a great way of understanding your own progress and makes reviews or check-ins with management that much easier. Not to mention, it can come in very handy when asking for a salary increase.

Depending on the nature of the position, you might be exposed to a wide range of individuals across industries, or of varying levels within one industry. In any case, networking is an important part of any job role, as it helps to develop a personal brand that people can rely on outside of the one created in your organisation. An easy way to do this is through LinkedIn; connect with anyone you correspond with, anyone you’re introduced to (even casually), and continue to build your network every day. A strong network makes you a valuable part of any business, especially in a support setting. Be sure to check out our latest trending blog which will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to shine during a networking event/opportunity.

8. Tech Proficiency

Try as we might to resist, technology is a fundamental part of our everyday, especially in the office. Even if you’re not a natural tech wizard, an aptitude for problem solving is crucial when assisting someone/a team. Knowing where to source professional help is a good start, and then paying attention to the root of the problem is a sure way to stand out as a valuable assistant.

Points to remember

  • Understand that the role of a personal/executive assistant will go beyond the traditional secretarial tasks – these professionals orchestrate a symphony of seamless operations within a business or organisation.
  • Be a team player and do not be afraid to contribute to different areas of the business.
  • Your goal is to make your manager/management’s lives easier. Master being the gatekeeper that can always anticipate your boss’ needs.
  • Confidentiality is key!
  • Go the extra mile and immerse yourself in the business, its goals, its values and ongoing projects. (For those hoping to one day become Chief of Staff, this is crucial: Read: How to become a Chief of Staff.
  • Use the Tech necessary to better organise yourself and address the needs of the business. We have some further suggestions for you here: Top resources for EAs.