The world is experiencing life in leaps and bounds like never before as society grapples with the diversions upon our personal and professional lives. If we take stock of the last 12 months, there’s an unprecedented amount of change that impacted all walks of life and ages, in particular the workplace and education.
Everyone embraces change in different ways and deal with it in a positive or negative light. And our minds perceive information distinctly from others because of the way our brains process the input from the sources. This is what cultivates unique and diverse ideas and solutions to our ever evolving world to optimize our lives.
The way we respond to events that unfold upon us, will determine a successful path forward. For instance, for those who embraced the fact that it doesn’t matter where work gets done or how learning is conducted, then their journey will be steps ahead of the naysayers. Noticing that there is an opportunity to enhance or enrich our lives will surface untapped potential.
Discovery of a new beginning is not always innate when our minds are clouded with the day-to-day craziness that we create. But when we come to a halt and the actions that we would normally take each day are impacted because the external world around us shifts, then we have the time to pause and reflect. Our minds have the potential to unleash our dreams if we let the power of knowledge take shape. We are surrounded by technology and have the ability to turn passions or side hustles into a new founded gig.
The evolution of business has already pivoted from the conventional ways of propelling organizations forward. Office environments are now flexible, meetings and conferences are virtual and supply chains are transforming to adjust to the demands. This is where the untapped potential that lies within us can expand our playbook to include unconventional methods to shore up the workforce of the future. Here are some tips:
A new beginning is within an arm’s reach for anyone who takes the leap of faith or finds that they are not performing a job they are meant to be doing… the 27 Incredible Small Business Ideas for 2021 & Beyond by HubSpot is worth the read for those who are ready to tap into their potential today!
It is incredible how much the office has evolved since I decided 30+ years ago that my career focus would be of service in the business world.
As I look back, I don’t know how I survived the manual typewriter, carbon paper or the ink press! Needless to say, the advancement of technology, tools and resources has transformed my life as an executive assistant and broadened my knowledge to levels unimaginable from the day I started out as a legal assistant. To help you visualize my first gig, the office had a manual typewriter, a rotary phone, stencil pad, rolodex, calculator and a postage meter–no printer or photocopier that are now standard office essentials.
Fast forward to today, the tools and equipment provide a gateway to possibilities to get stuff done and rise above challenges. Not only do the latest discoveries in technology offer advancements in the executive assistant role, but also for the small business community and startups. It is imperative for organizations, big or small, to evolve with innovations in office automation, otherwise the ability to propel their operations forward would fall behind as noted in this article published by Inc.
For instance, the array of Microsoft office 365 products allow for a small business to get started with a website, design apps, collaborate with colleagues and improve office automation. And the executive assistant can leverage the online learning modules and resources that coincide with their products to advance in the role. This video outlines how to get started in app design and preview of the automation possibilities:
The office landscape will continue to broaden and technology will change at lightening speeds so it is important to carve out the time to learn. Researching and finding the right platforms and products to streamline everyday tasks will not only help exceed expectations in performance but also bring the business into the workforce of the future.
Time is one of organization’s most precious resources and planning ahead is key to optimizing an executive’s schedule–building in flexibility for the unexpected helps to mitigate the unforeseen. And the article posted by BCG, ‘The Heart of CEO Effectiveness” shares great insights and best practices to ponder, especially for those who are faced with exhaustion at the end of each day.
I am going to dive into another piece of ‘finding time’ that is paramount to efficiency and productivity, in particular for those who are in charge of orchestrating heavy Microsoft outlook calendars. The Microsoft Garage team are always hard at work exploring options to enhance tools and/or discover new ones to maximize our performance. The latest tool I am excited to share is a Microsoft Office 365 product “FindTime”. Although everyone is open for help with finding time in their day, this tool is primarily a productivity boost for scheduling meetings. For all the #executiveassitants who are outlook calendar schedulers, this maybe a breakthrough in calendar management and overcoming a hurdle with coordinating external global stakeholders/meeting attendees. Sourcing for time either starts with an email or call to the executive’s administrative point of contact but if they do not have one, then the hurdle widens.
The following image is a visual of the Microsoft outlook add-in FindTime poll shared in the post “About FindTime” which also has a video that demonstrates the powerhouse behind it:
The tool will automatically schedule the meeting based on the first available time slot agreed upon but this feature can be turned off for those who prefer to send the calendar post with additional details to include the purpose of the discussion.
A ‘how to’ overview can be viewed here to learn more about the tool that helps take calendar productivity to a new level and minimize the exhaustion out of coordinating meeting times across multiple calendars.
In 2020 I introduced Max, my virtual assistant. While Max does not exist today the discovery and evolution of AI is gaining strides in bringing Max closer to reality sooner than I anticipate.
The Microsoft Hackathon winning team in 2020 introduced a customized digital assistant–initial design focussed on leveraging the Microsoft Edge browser and teaching it to do a number of tasks. Thus viewing the browser as a ‘window to the world‘ [source: Microsoft article published September 1, 2020 by Leah Culler].
Google is also attaining traction in the AI space with ‘Reserve with Google‘ providing users with an option to adopt something new into their day to ease up on tactical tasks. The tool, while logged into your Google account, connects to a wide variety of online services that let you schedule, coordinate and do stuff on a regular basis–a number of tasks #executiveassistants currently manage for their executive.
As AI evolves, there will be areas that can be automated in the office but not all tasks can be replaced that require humans to perform. For instance, influence, emotional intelligence [EI] or negotiating are sought after soft skills that are weaved into the role to produce optimal impact to the organization. Executive assistants will continue to be an integral part of business operations with renewed standards of excellence as innovation and technology advances because the administrative field always adapts to the business operative. By taking charge of the change and being part of innovation will help to identify how to leverage the power of AI to broaden and enhance what an all-star #executiveassistant can do–take part of the online US based survey here.