Over 60 per cent of PAs in the UK are worried that workplace stress is affecting their health – with long hours, heavy workloads, disorganised bosses and being constantly ‘on call’ contributing to the pressure they feel.
Revealed at the PA Show, the results of a widescale survey of Personal and Executive Assistants carried out by PA Life, found that almost half of the PAs surveyed feel that they’re constantly on call, with a further 8.6 per cent claiming that they ‘sometimes’ feel like they are required to respond to their bosses outside of normal working hours.
A huge 83 per cent said that they check work emails in the evening, at weekends and on holiday, and over 66 per cent believe that their bosses’ stress makes them feel similarly pressured and anxious.
Unsurprisingly, these issues mean that over 56 per cent worry that they don’t have a healthy work/life balance, with over 57 per cent concerned that they are at risk of ‘burn out’.
The survey of over 420 individuals also looked at the hours PAs and EAs are regularly working – with 33.4 per cent working 9-9.5 hours each day and 11.5 per cent over 10 hours a day.
When asked what would help them to achieve a better work/life balance, over 60 per cent said that having the option to work from home or to have flexible hours would make a huge difference. Other solutions include working fewer hours, having a reduced workload, getting extra support/staff, a shorter commute to work, and being able to have a lunch break.
Sarah Beall, MD of Forum Events & Media Group, the company behind PA Life and the PA Life Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing Summit, said, “Regular feedback from readers means that we were aware that today’s Personal and Executive Assistants often feel pushed to the limit regarding their working hours and their workload.”
“But, following the survey, even we were surprised at the level of stress these individuals are placed under – and worryingly, how many believe it is affecting their health.”
“The days of PAs and EAs simply typing letters, taking notes in meetings and booking taxis are long gone.”
“The role of today’s Assistants is very often an extension of that of their CEOs and Directors – organising company events, taking on HR responsibilities, booking overseas travel, running conferences and more.”
“Like many in today’s working environment, they are also often expected to answer calls and emails in the evenings, weekends and when they’re on holiday.”
“Sadly, these ‘office heroes’ are often undervalued too.”
“The results of this survey are worrying, but we hope that this insight will also prove to be a turning point.”
“We urge senior managers to recognise and celebrate the contribution of their PAs and EAs – and allow them to turn off their phones and emails, as well as consider allowing flexible working.”