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How happy are assistants in the workplace?


How many hours are you working, compared to how many you’re employed to work? Do you have flexible working conditions? And are you contacted regularly outside of working hours? PA Life asked almost 170 PAs and EAs exactly how happy are assistants in the workplace and more. Here’s what you said…

Working hours factor in how happy assistants are in the workplace

We asked how many hours you’re employed to work – and how many you actually work. For those working a standard full-time week, 37.5 hours is how long Assistants are officially contracted to work. However, many of you are regularly working 10 hours more each week, some even more. And one poor (and presumably exhausted) Assistant reported working 80+ hours a week. Give that person a rise – or another job!

Are you contacted by your executives or employer outside of working hours?

Sadly, but maybe unsurprisingly, the large majority (66%) of Assistants are regularly contacted in the mornings, evenings and even when they’re on leave. Some respondents could be working with execs in other time zones, of course, but otherwise it’s surely unreasonable for anyone to feel they need to respond to calls and emails outside of standard working hours?

Yes – 66%

No – 33%


What are your working arrangements?

I work some days in the office, some at home.

– 64% I work full time in the office

– 15% I work full time remotely

– 9% Hybrid working conditions are surely here to stay, providing a good balance between being in the office to meet with execs and colleagues

– and having the opportunity to work remotely, avoid the commute and better manage the work/ life balance.

“I work from home and from the office, but my managers and close team members are based in a different country, so even when I go to the office I don’t see them in person”

“I work at home and out of normal working hours”

“I work one day at home, can be flexible if I need more around childcare”

“My working arrangements are hybrid, but I choose to be in the office most of the time so that I can speak to my boss as and when required”

“I can choose when I work in the office and when I work remotely. I choose to work mostly in the office, usually four days a week”

Are you happy with these arrangements?

As you can see, those who have hybrid working conditions are more likely to be happy with the arrangement.

Yes – 87%

“Yes, before the pandemic I was in the office full-time. I prefer hybrid working and I am more productive at home”

“I’m happy with the flexible working arrangements and the ability to pick my office days to suit me and my boss”

“My work/life balance is much improved now. I could never go back to five days a week in the office”

“It gives me flexibility and the opportunity to be at home for tradesmen, etc.”

“Yes, we are treated like adults and trusted to get work done, wherever that may be”

“Yes, travel costs are now prohibitive and train times have changed, making the commute expensive and difficult”

“Good balance of time in the office to connect with colleagues, but get more work done at home without interruptions”

“Yes, saves money on travel, dealing with crowds on the tube and can concentrate better at home”

“Yes, as it empowers me to use judgement and flex my time as needed”

“I live an hour from the office and have caring commitments, so working hybrid suits me”

“I can work longer without being late home”

“Flexi working suits me, due to childcare in the mornings and evenings, although when working at home, work/life blurs into one”

No – 15%

“I’m tired constantly and the commuting is difficult and costly”

“Would prefer more days working from home as currently it is four days in the office”

“I am mandated to come into the office part of the week, when it would suit me better to come in more if my execs are in, and fewer days if they’re not”

Do you have flexible working arrangements? (i.e. not obliged to work 9-5)

Yes – 52%

No – 48%

A Brexit Referendum style result here, with almost an equal split between the haves and have-nots of flexible working. Here’s what those who can flex their hours have to say about the benefits: “I can make up hours where needed”

“I do compressed hours so can get one day off a week without losing pay”

“I get to pick up my kids from school”

“As long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter when it is completed. It means I can easily juggle work objectives with home/children commitments and family life”

And those who don’t have flexible working options had this to say:

“I am more productive in the afternoon/ evening so would prefer if I could flex my hours to suit this occasionally”

“It would boost productivity and morale”

“It would help with childcare arrangements”

“It would be amazing! I would be happier to work extended hours too if I could manage it around my personal life and commitments and family”

“More flexibility would allow me to plan my day better and therefore increase efficiency”

Do you feel valued by your employer?

It’s a big question, and an important one – and it would seem that despite being contacted outside of office hours, and maybe not having their ideal working conditions, the large majority of you (62%) do feel valued.

Yes – 62%

No – 22%

Some 168 PAs and EAs took part in this survey. If you’d like to have your say, email  with a subject ‘Assistant survey’.


The survey was published in our Summer Issue