A rising star, all things administrative performer, with the capability to understand verbal requests, research a complex travel plan, distinguish calendar patterns and solve logistical challenges. Meet Max, my virtual executive assistant!
Max, let’s look at what we need to prioritize for this week. We have a town hall that needs to be coordinated with A/V support, breakout rooms and catering. Max can you find a large conference room that will hold 100 employees for the full day and five break-out rooms between 2:00 – 5:00 pm for the brainstorming sessions? And I’ll take care of the A/V and catering. Got it Max? Yes, BP [business partner].
Okay, moving on to next week, we have BB [big boss] who needs to get to London by the start of the business day on Wednesday, then Paris by 5:00 pm on Friday for the roundtable dinner at 7:00 pm. Max, can you coordinate the flights and hotels and I will get started on the meetings in Paris? Yes, BP.
Max is a virtual executive assistant of the future envisioned for the executive’s office and the workplace. While there will be limitations of what AI can support, why not start to foresee areas that technology can be optimized and start to think of AI capabilities to maximize the depth of its benefits.
Recognizing and adopting AI can enhance an EAs ability to focus on the big picture strategic plan for their executive that AI can’t do. And focussing on the future to effectively evaluate the changes that can be made to evolve technology is not only a win win for EAs but the organization as well.
Reports and findings reveal that AI can increase productivity and efficiency–automating many of the task EAs perform on a daily basis. This begs the question, how? AI will minimize time wasted on finding documents, researching topics, booking lunch reservations and more. Thus enabling the EA to have the time to devote to the proficiency of the office in areas that human capabilities are required.
Bracing for the changes to come and visualizing Max, will prepare EAs for the redesign of the role. The added benefit of this realization and learning more about AI, can help in being part of the redesign and creating the new EA job profile.
The office support position evolved from secretary to executive assistant over decades and will continue to be an integral part of business operations with renewed standards of excellence. Start today and map out the areas that can be automated vs the aspects of the job that require humans to perform. 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 EA can do.
With the onset of automation and AI, there’s no dodging the fact that the routine tasks in the office [and elsewhere] will shift the way we work. Technology is even experimenting with grocery shopping–for example, Ocado is an experiment with robots for grocery picking and packing and Amazon is revolutionizing the warehouse process using AI.
If the supply chain can be automated, then why not the office too? Well the #futureofwork will demonstrate how machines will carry out tasks that humans did for centuries resulting in a number of jobs to change and productivity for some jobs to increase. For Executive Assistants [EAs] to be early adopters and start learning how to embrace the #futureofwork, it is imperative to learn how to incorporate the latest technology into their current role to add higher value to the support tasks. Don’t let the fear of the unknown hinder the ability to rise above but rather figure out how AI can manage travel bookings so you can focus on solving gaps that could never be attended to before. Here’s a couple of articles to add to your resource bank that will help equip for the evolving support role:
Chatbots for Work [Source: Capacity]
Get started today and rewrite the EA role for the future!
Here we are rounding the corner to 2020 where the future of work predictions would change the way we do business. Technology has evolved but the office environment remains to struggle with phasing out the typical office with walls and cubicles.
There are numerous studies and reports that claim that the open office environment doesn’t work. What these claims do not dive into is the fact that the failed designs may not have been about the concept but lack of information to help leaders champion the new way to work. I worked in both environments and prefer to be in an open office because it breaks down the walls and puts everyone on the floor to work together. With any change, leaders need to stand behind the concept and bring fresh ideas rather than be chained up in the old way of thinking when leaders were in offices with closed doors–employees wanted the change to have the ability to access their leader without separation between their workspace and a door. Now the walls are coming down, letting the light shine in across the floors of office space–keep the flame focussed on fine-tuning the design to create a workspace where employees want to be.
Furthermore, there will always be complaints and if they do not offer a solution then the situation may not be about the open office but rather the employee behaviors being resistant to change. As we progress into new concepts and the way of working, employees need to take hold of ideas not only in business operations but in how they get their work done. And leaders need to challenge themselves to think outside the box and their office door to model a new behavior to develop collaboration with their teams.
Breaking down the walls in the open environment not only brings a fresh sense of working next to one another but diminishes the typical hierarchy that sometimes stands in the way of employees approaching leaders who are behind closed doors. Pause and take a moment to revamp the culture, promote a new way to work, offer ideas that will solve for distractions, and learn about how to do things differently where everything is transparent in an open environment–be the one to champion the concept to keep the flame burning not the one to blow it out!
“We used to think about how to make spaces efficient, then it became about how to make them more effective. Now it’s: How do you create spaces where people want to be?” ~ Janet Pogue McLaurin, workplace leader of Gensler, a New York City-based architecture and design firm [Source: SHRM | Fine-Tuning the Open Office ]