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How to keep up with new tech – and the importance of upskilling

Rosemary Parr, Founder of the Global PA Association & Training Academy, discusses the growing importance of Office Assistants as we emerge from the pandemic with new ways of working and an increased focus on technology…

We are now starting to adjust to life post-Covid and as such we are in the midst of a transformation in office working practices. The traditional office we knew has been changed forever. Futurists are predicting that the acceleration of remote working might be more important than the introduction of the internet in 1993. As employers scrambled during pandemic restrictions to implement remote working for all, there is no sign of a return to five days a week in the office for many. What does this mean for EAs and PAs?

With hybrid working becoming the ‘new normal’ in the office, you are now at the forefront of managing software applications and working digitally. Overnight you had to grasp the workings of Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, Go To Webinar and other conferencing applications. In the early days of lockdowns the conferencing technology did not always work well, with buffering, crashing and losing important clients on a video call among some of the challenges you faced – along with managing multiple diaries and communicating across time zones! However, EAs & PAs always rise to the challenges that confront them, with the grace and ease of the swan. 

So many new technologies have emerged mainstream in the last two years – and I often get asked – what is the best software for time management? Project Management abilities have become a ‘must have’ skill. EAs & PAs are tasked with managing company events, golf days, team off-sites, conferences, dinners, lunches – all of which require coordination. Working remotely requires showing your digital skills and professionalism on video calls and by sharing spreadsheets of how you are coordinating an event. The days of the notepad and pen, visiting your Executive at his desk and organising an event in your notebook are long gone, plus printers no longer exist in many offices! Minute taking for many of you is now via video calls, which present new challenges in note-taking. The skill of a minute taker in a face-to-face meeting is the ability to read the room and connect directly with each speaker, and this ability can be lost on video calls. 

In the digital office the future is promising for your profession. You are needed more than ever to coordinate and manage complex situations, so your Executive is freed up to be super effective in their role. Continuous upskilling is now the ‘de facto’ standard for employees everywhere. No one can afford to sit back and stay the same; we are all living in an era of rapid transformational growth in tech and soft skills. At the Global PA Association & Training Academy we recommend you continue to attend soft skills and tech skill courses to maintain your competitive edge and increase your value to your organisations.

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