Survey: Assistants save managers an average of 8+ hours a week

Have you ever realized just how much time your right-hand employee saves you at work?

New research from staffing firm OfficeTeam, released ahead of Administrative Professionals Day on April 25, shows that administrative assistants save their senior managers 101 minutes daily on average, or more than 8 hours weekly. Seventy-five percent of managers said these employees currently have more on their plate than five years prior.

An independent research firm surveyed “more than 600 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada,” on behalf of OfficeTeam, according to the press release. Here are some points that stood out.

All managers realize their assistant plays a critical role

While the research found that 100% of the supervisors surveyed think that “their assistant is important to their success,” 64% agreed that administrative employees currently “have a more promising career-growth track than five years ago.”

Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, commented on the research in a statement:

“Most executives would be hard-pressed to get through a day without the help of their assistant … Administrative professionals go out of their way to make things easier and more efficient for those around them. There’s no question they deserve to be recognized for their daily contributions.”

The research included examples of ways assistants have reportedly gone “above and beyond” at work, including:

  • “Chased a delivery van to retrieve a missing package”
  • “Helped review resumes, post jobs and organize interviews”
  • “Worked with the HR team to set candidate compensation packages and send offer letters”
  • “Trained fellow employees on technology tools”
  • “Gave birthday cards and flowers to each team member”

With all of this in mind, there are also specific things bosses can do to manage their assistants well:

Don’t make them feel like they’re doing a thankless job

Diane Gottsman, author, modern manners and etiquette expert, and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, writes in The Muse that as a manager, you should “show your gratitude.”

“A great assistant eases your workload and makes you look good, so be generous with praise when it’s due. A staff meeting or office event is a great place to publicly show your appreciation, but also never overlook an opportunity to show your gratitude with a simple, verbal ‘great job.’ You can also treat him or her to the occasional cappuccino or pair of movie tickets. A good employer knows that happy employees make their bosses lives much easier!” she writes.

Be sure to listen to them

You might want to make sure you don’t get distracted by your phone while you’re at it because it makes employees trust you less. So don’t make the mistake of cutting off your assistant every time they try to tell you something important — it might just snowball into a larger problem.

Gottsman also suggests that you let them know what you need and are receptive to their “feedback” as well.

Don’t micromanage them

Give them chances to shine on their own.

Breathing down your assistant’s neck might just discourage them from doing more than the bare minimum — it could just push them away.  Since research has found that the top source of employees’ office stress is “unclear goals,” make your expectations are abundantly clear instead.