Personal assistants may be known for their resourcefulness and can-do attitude, but even the best rely on a little help from smart tech to boost their productivity. These online services are becoming more and more vital with the rise of remote-working PAs and EAs. As a PA you’ll build up your own personal toolkit to deal with whatever the role throws at you, but to give you a head-start we’ve put together a list of five essential tools for personal assistants.
In the list, we’ll highlight the top software and apps designed to complement the most common personal assistant duties, including:
- Diary management
- Project management
- Travel & accommodation
All the personal assistant resources listed below have desktop and smartphone versions, can be integrated with other apps and, best of all, have a free tier! So, what are the best PA and virtual assistant tools?
Diary management: Calendly
A big part of your role as a personal assistant will be keeping on top of your manager’s diary. With new client appointments, team meetings and event invitations coming in from multiple platforms every day, a co-ordinating tool like Calendly is indispensable. Integrate all your online calendars into one place, and allow contacts to view your manager’s availability and book in a meeting – all without the long emails back and forth.
- Top tip: Include a link to Calendly in your email signature to make it even easier for contacts to secure a free slot.
Tidying up the to do list: Trello
Trello is hugely popular across industries and professions, and for good reason. It’s a customisable, easy-to-use, shareable task manager that helps teams work seamlessly together. PAs can organise theirs and their manager’s day-to-day tasks in a simple, visual style that will help you prioritise work, separate different projects, and set deadlines.
- Top tip: Are you currently using spreadsheets to create project plans and to do lists? Trello lets you convert these into its card-based system simply by copying and pasting it in.
Travel itinerary: TravelPerk
Booking and managing travel and accommodation for your manager can be a messy business. Shopping around for the best airline and hotel deals often means you end up juggling emails from different travel companies for every leg of a business trip. Enter TravelPerk: a one-stop shop for plane, train and hotel bookings! Personal assistants can view all tickets, amendments, and cancellations on their desktop or mobile, making one of the most stressful aspects of the role manageable.
- Top tip: For B Corp certified companies like Tiger, sustainable travel is a must. Use GreenPerk to not only offset your carbon footprint, but make meaningful contributions to environmental projects around the world.
Balancing the books: Expensify
With this fantastic tool you’ll be the company accountant’s best friend! PAs can create automatic expense reports, input physical receipts via photos, and even sync with apps like TravelPerk to import digital receipts. Cutting out tricky manual inputting makes this a real time-saver.
- Top tip: The optional Expensify Card can be used as a replacement for company credit cards, with customisable spending limits and smart fraud protection.
Flawless writing: Grammarly
Corresponding with clients and other senior partners on behalf of your manager is a big responsibility for a PA. You’ll need excellent writing skills and an understanding of tone of voice. Grammarly is the perfect tool to help with this. Not only does it catch any grammatical errors that could reflect badly on your manager, but it will also suggest revisions to your writing to make it clearer, more concise, and appropriate to different audiences.
- Top tip: Use the ‘tone detector’ to choose between formal, neutral, and informal tones of voice – because we all let our emotions slip into our writing sometimes!
With these tools in your arsenal, you’ll free up hours of time spent on admin, and in turn help your manager be more productive.
Once you’ve mastered these tools, don’t forget to add them to your CV! Refer to our personal assistant CV template for extra tips on getting ahead of the pack.