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How Senior Execs Can Be More Productive in 2022 With Help From A Fractional Executive Assistant

Each day is like a whole pie. It’s limited in size, just like the amount of time available every day. You can slice it up however you want, but there will never be more than you started with. 

Time is limited, but there’s no shortage of tasks — meetings, invoicing, client contracts, email — that want a piece of it.

Maybe you have a few people on your team and try to delegate tasks to them, but they’re busy too or not up to speed on handling things the right way. Maybe you are the team, totally overburdened by administrative work. Whatever the situation, you’re not as productive as you could be.

This is where a fractional executive assistant comes in. Just as you need to divide that pie up into pieces, a fractional executive assistant does the same with their time, giving you pieces of their own pie to help you out.

And that extra slice or two? That can make all the difference, moving you from just getting by to sprinting towards growth.

What Is Fractional Employment?

Fractional employment doesn’t mean you get a fraction of good work. It means you only pay for the help you need.

At its most basic, fractional employment is when someone works for multiple employers for a set time each week. This is done discreetly, with full attention given to the employer they are working for at each set time.

It’s different from temp or contract work in that it isn’t as project-focused. A fractional executive assistant will have the same broad skills and experience as a full-time executive assistant would. Your expectations are the same as when you hire someone. A part-time employee or independent contractor tends to focus on specific types of projects.

Small to midsize businesses (SMEs) have been benefiting from fractional employment for a while. It was a logical leap: they had limited revenue to work from, and found that the fractional model let them tap into high-quality talent in an affordable way. 

This was particularly important in stages of growth, where they didn’t quite have the ability to pay for a full-time employee capable of handling the challenges that were popping up, but still needed someone. Challenges like complicated bookkeeping, financial management, or human resources for example.

The fractional employment model has long since moved into the C-Suite, with large companies sharing positions like CFO with one another.

Fractional employees are able to work “part-time” at several companies but still get full-time hours when it’s all said and done. It allows them great flexibility in choosing how many hours they want and even offers retired or older workers a chance to use their experience while still having the work-life balance they prefer. For fractional employees, their talent isn’t wasted, and it ends up being a win for everyone involved.

How A Fractional Executive Assistant Makes You More Productive

As a busy executive, a fractional executive assistant sounds very 21st century, but how is that going to help you become more productive in 2022? Let’s start by taking a look at some things that reduce productivity:

  1. Thinking more hours equals increased productivity. In fact, studies are showing the opposite. More hours means more tiredness, more stress, more mental exhaustion, more time wasted. Admin duties add hours. They don’t make you productive.
  2. Rushing around to make up for lost time. When you jump from task to task quickly, eye always on the clock and calendar, you’re less productive. Worse, rushing around can negatively affect your team through stress.
  3. Constant surveillance. Just as rushing around creates stress, so does knowing your boss can always see you, or is micromanaging you. Everyone feels like they have to be busy; no one wants to be the lazy one. The micromanager is exhausted, and so is everyone else.
  4. Uncontrolled meetings. When it comes to meetings, control over the duration, the number of people involved, and what gets discussed can make or break productivity. Without self-discipline, meetings wander around and waste time.
  5. Focusing on problems instead of opportunities. If all you do is solve problems, you never get ahead of the curve. But it’s hard to focus on opportunities when your time is wrapped up in admin tasks.
  6. Not delegating work, action, or decisions. Unless you want to be that aforementioned micromanager, you have to delegate the right work to the right people. Otherwise, you’ll spend all your time on tasks instead of growth-oriented work.

Executive assistants can help with all of the administrative work, which much of this list is tied to. If you let the admin slide, you get the mess that is that list. That’s why you could say that a great executive assistant equals more productivity for you.

More productivity is good, because lost productivity leads to lost opportunity. That leads to lost opportunity costs, and they’re no joke. So if loss of productivity and opportunity has a cost, having an executive assistant—which increases your productivity and opportunity—has a significant ROI.

Fair enough. But why wouldn’t you just outright hire an executive assistant, instead of going the fractional route? 100% of an EA’s time would be better than 20%, right?

For starters, hiring takes a ton of time and expense. Let’s add that to your already slivered pie and watch productivity tank even more. Plus, unless you’re an expert at sourcing and hiring the best executive assistant, you have no idea if you’re solving problems or creating new ones.

Then there’s the question of whether hiring is in your budget. Depending on your team, you may not have enough work for hiring another employee, even a part-time one. You could go the independent contractor route, but with contractors, there’s the messy compliance issue of following all federal and state employment laws for 1099 contractors.

This all leads back to getting a fractional executive assistant, something we’ve become experts in at Boldly.

One of the negatives of fractional employees can be that if you’ve agreed to ten hours a week, you might be stuck if you need more or less; they have agreements with other employers and can’t always change them. 

At Boldly, we take the fractional executive assistant model up a level, with something we call subscription staffing. Need more hours? Increase your subscription for the month. In a slow period? Dial it down until you need to increase it again.

It’s total growth-oriented-budget-friendly flexibility.

You might not be ready to take the leap to a full-time hire. HR might be dragging their feet in finding you an executive assistant that you needed yesterday. Your bottom line might be tight despite expectations to continue growing. You might be wary of relinquishing all control to an executive assistant, and just want to start small.

That’s fine. None of that is a roadblock. You can get a fractional executive assistant in just a few days, one who has made it through our strict hiring process and proven to be the best of the best, with just one conversation.

Topic: Remote Staffing

About the author Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.

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