What makes an effective Executive Assistant in 2023?
In a recent interview with Derek Gallimore on the Outsource Accelerator’s podcast, Kristel Kuit, our CEO and founder, shared her insights on the growing importance of remote executive assistants in the modern workplace.
Kristel kicks it off by explaining where the idea to create Headroom came from.
The Headroom Origin Story
“I started off as a full-time, in-house EA and I often had to train myself. Next to that I also was often in the office without my manager being present because [they were] either in meetings or traveling internationally. So for me it felt really inflexible to be there without enough work to do,” she recounts.
So I’ve really started the company to show that the executive assistant role is really a profession, right? It’s a trade. ” From her perspective, Kristel recognized that “education and flexibility was becoming increasingly important, for both companies but also for the workforce. And that is exactly what Headroom helps with.”
The Executive Assistant role: then and now
As she explains to Derek, executive assistants are vital in supporting high-level executives who need help with administrative tasks such as managing their inbox or calendar, and the role has become even more essential in the remote work era, after the COVID pandemic.
Kristel also notes that the traditional secretary role is still relevant, but outsourcing has made it possible for flexible, remote-first companies to hire highly-trained virtual assistants who can provide the same level of support with higher flexibility at a fraction of the price of a full-time EA.
She notes that it’s still the same nowadays, but “With COVID, the remote work accelerated, and it’s not necessary for EAs to be in the office as much as it used to be.”
“So this is where outsourcing becomes very interesting, right? You don’t need somebody full-time in-house anymore, but you still would like to have that support to manage your inbox or travel or take notes during important meetings. That’s where you see an increasing demand for VAs.”
Fixing the single point of failure of Executive Assistance
Recalling her past as an assistant, Kristel remarks there was “total chaos” whenever she would come back from her days off because there was nobody to cover for her and keep supporting her executives.
“So we wanted to offer that at Headroom: continuous support on a daily basis for how long you need it. And you need a little team for that.”
That’s why at Headroom we offer dedicated teams of EAs to make sure our members receive continuous support, even when their primary EA is away. Kristel also emphasizes the human connection aspect of their structure and values the bond that develops between assistants and clients.
Remote work and Global outsourcing
She sees outsourcing and remote work as the future of employment and notes that with a global workforce, companies can access the best talent from anywhere in the world.
“This way, you have the entire globe as a potential workforce! Versus just being limited to that specific geographical area.”
“You have the best of both worlds. So I think it will become increasingly important also because the next generation will be used to working like that. You have a lot of young CEOs running their tech startups from Bali, and they’re loving it.
Listen to the full story on the Outsource Accelerator’s podcast to learn more about the benefits of remote executive assistance.