PA Life Survey: What Assistants want from their working conditions

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PA Life surveyed its readers to find out what EAs and PAs are looking for when it comes to flexible working post pandemic.

Our new research reveals that most Assistants expect – and want – to continue working remotely at least part of the week. Below is the full survey onto Assistants working conditions.

Read to the end to see who’s the winner of a bottle of Wimbledon Brewery’s Garden Gin. All survey entries wishing to take part in the prize draw were entered and a winner was drawn at random.

 

1. Have you returned to working from the office?

I work some days in the office, some at home – 76%

Yes, full time – 18%

No, still full time at home – 7%

The Covid-19 created a one-in-a-lifetime change in how most people worked, as lockdowns meant that working from home became a necessity. Companies pivoted successfully, thanks to the efforts of their IT and operations teams (plus the legions of Assistants around the UK!) and many businesses were thankfully able to continue working as normal, albeit adjusting to this new way.

The UK, like most other parts of the world, is now back to normal and working from home is no longer a necessity. Yet many individuals – and their companies – have embraced more flexibility in their working conditions and are adopting a more hybrid approach, rather than working in the office full-time.

 

2. If you have a hybrid working environment, how many days do you work in the office?

Two – 37%

Four – 27%

One – 20%

Three – 17%

Of those who have hybrid working conditions, the majority are working two days a week in the office regularly. The rest are split evenly in terms of how often they are expected to commute to their place of work.

 

3. Are you happy with your working conditions?

Yes, I’m happy to work some days in the office and some days at home – 64%

Yes, I’m happy to be back at the office full-time – 13%

No, I’d like to have fewer days in the office – 10%

Yes, I’m happy to work remotely full-time – 7%

No, I’m not happy to be back in the office full-time – 3%

No, I’m not happy to be working remotely full-time – 1%

No, I’d like to have more days in the office – 1%

The vast majority of Assistants surveyed say that they are happy with working some days in the office and some remotely, with this clearly providing individuals with a good balance in terms of meeting with colleagues and their execs, and having the flexibility of working from home on other days, avoiding the cost and time of a commute and being able to spend more time with their family.

Thankfully, it appears that a very small minority are not happy with their working conditions, whether that’s because they don’t want to be back in the office full-time, they don’t want to work remotely full-time, or they would like to have more days in the office.

 

4. If you are working from home, or have a hybrid working environment, do you expect to return to the office full-time?

No – 74%

Yes – 26%

It is unusual nowadays to see a job ad that doesn’t offer flexible working options, with most companies recognising that, post-pandemic, the UK’s office workers are not willing to go back to the old way of working five days a week in the office. And the vast majority of our readers who have a hybrid way of working don’t ever expect to return to the office full-time.

5. What benefits did/do you enjoy from working remotely?

Avoiding the time/cost of commuting – 80%

Having a better work/life balance – 80%

I can work more productively with fewer distractions – 61%

Spending more time with my family – 29%

I’ve been able to take up new hobbies/sport – 24%

Lower childcare costs – 7%

We asked our readers to highlight all the benefits they see of working remotely, whether that’s full-time part-time. Unsurprisingly, avoiding the cost and time of commuting, plus the ability to have a better work/life balance were highlighted as the key benefits.

But a large proportion also suggested that they can be more productive at home, where they can avoid disruptions from colleagues.

6. What are the benefits of working in the office, even for one or two days a week?

Being with colleagues and friends – 93%

Having a change of scenery – 72%

I am more productive in the office – 17%

I have no dedicated office space at home – 17%

It is difficult for me to do my job remotely – 14%

Whatever the benefits of working remotely, there are some things that are missed by not being in the office, with the number one benefit of being in the office listed as being able to meet up with colleagues and friends at work. Enjoying a change of scenery is also important for many.

Interestingly, only 17 per cent said that they are more productive in the office.

7. If you could dictate your ideal working arrangements, what would they be?

Working in the office two days a week – 30%

Working in the office three days a week – 24%

Working in the office one day a week – 20%

Working remotely full-time – 12%

Working in the office four days a week – 7%

Working in the office full-time – 7%

So, what are an Assistant’s ideal working conditions? Over half said that working in the office two or three days a week, with the remainder at home, would be the optimum offer. Just seven per cent opted for working in the office full-time.

 

8. Would you consider changing your career to achieve your ideal working conditions?

Yes – 61%

No – 39%

 

9. Would you consider a new job in the future if it didn’t offer flexible working options?

No – 68%

Yes – 32%

The final two set of stats show that Assistants – and many other office workers in other roles – are now taking the lead when it comes to accepting, or not accepting, their working conditions. Nearly two-thirds of our readers said that they would considering leaving their job to achieve their ideal working conditions. And over two-thirds said that they would not consider a job in the future if it didn’t offer flexible working options.

Working conditions, plus the demands of individuals in terms of what they are willing to accept, have changed dramatically since March 2020. It is heartening to see that so many Assistants are happy with their current working conditions – but it is clear that employers need to ensure that they offer flexibility if they are to attract talent going forward.

 

We would like to thank all of those who took part in the survey!

… and congratulations to Naomi Knight, PA at ITV who’s our prize draw winner of a bottle of Wimbledon Brewery’s Garden Gin.

You can find out what PA Life Club has to offer to EAs and PAs. We have great networking, meet ups at top venues, FAM trips, partner offers and discounted courses.

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  • AUTHOR

    Marja Toseland

    All stories by: Marja Toseland