How Remote Executive Assistants Add to Company Culture

By Bill Peatman | Updated: 27 Sep, 2022

When Juliet, a Productivity Assistant at Prialto, finished her first year working with the water reuse company Epic Cleantec the company sent her company merchandise, just like they do for all employees.

Julia shared a photo of herself with the swag on LinkedIn, saying, "It has been a year since I started working with Epic Cleantec. I am so grateful to be part of this company and their mission, as they pave the way to promote Water Reuse."

The first comment on the post was from Epic Cleantech co-founder and CEO Aaron Tartakovsky: "We are so glad to have you on the Epic team, Juliet! Thanks for all that you do!"

Teammates First

The exchanges reflect the level of integration Prialto assistants have with our clients. While all are remote and work from our offices in Asia or Central America, they become co-workers with clients' executive teams. Epic Cleantec supports two executives with Prialto Productivity Assistants.

"The Prialto assistants are part of our team," Rob Graham, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at fintech company Ascendant, said. Ascendant ramped up to 12 Prialto assistants. "Gray, the assistant for my team, combines three reports for me to send to my COO every week," Rob said. "I was sick for one week and came back, and the report had been taken care of. I love the initiative."

"I have delegated an increasing amount of my routine work to my PA via our project manager and solutions designer," American Microgrid Solutions CEO Geoff Oxnam said of PA Kimberly. "She is fantastic to have on the team and I consider her as much a part of this company as anyone else."

Risks of Independent Contractors

The use of independent contractors is soaring with the gig economy, now up to 11 percent of the workforce. The drivers for outsourcing work are typically to access specialized skills and save costs.

But there are risks of relying on contractors, including erosion of company culture, disengagement, and lack of availability. "Workplace culture is often seen as an intangible and, as such, is easily put on the back burner in favor of the balance sheet," Business Daily said. "You also risk the sudden loss of an independent contractor. That can spell disaster if you rely on them for a large amount of work."

Proactive Commitment

Prialto eliminates those risks by hiring, training, managing virtual assistants, and placing them with executive teams. The assistants are not independent contractors. They are our employees. We have a decades-old process for embedding assistants with our clients to make the service and the relationships valuable and seamless. We train assistants to embrace client businesses' culture and values and to take the initiative as they increase executives' productivity.

Derek Popek, Director of Talent and People at Zus Health, loves how his assistant Ximena anticipates his team's needs. "Ximena's work quality is very high; she's on top of things, is very proactive, and does what she says she will do," Derek said. "Ximena constantly informs us about emails and scheduling changes to get our approval."

Zus Health has scaled up to support five executives with Prialto Productivity Assistants.

Long-Term Support

Prialto is a long-term executive support service. We partner with clients to improve operational efficiency over time. It is not a quick fix. Like any relationship, it takes time to build trust and alignment.

Our clients do not run the risk of assistants leaving for greener pastures because they have advancement and career opportunities within Prialto. We also train backup assistants to step in when the primary assistant is away or departs.

Sometimes departures are due to promotions. One company was thrilled to see a long-time PA get a promotion and sent this message to the entire company. "A huge team update--I cannot be more excited to share that Alex, our PA, has been promoted to Manager. Alex has been with us from the beginning and has played a critical role in ensuring we are prioritizing our time. While he is not physically with us, his role has been critical to the company's evolution."

Seamless Service

"We all like that the service is seamless. We don't have to worry about what the assistants are doing or if they are out of the office because there is a backup and a team that is managing everything in the background," said James Orsillo, Partner and Chief Financial and Operating Officer at Underscore VC.

"There's also huge value in the flexibility to add resources when workloads grow." Underscore has five Prialto assistants, and James liked his assistant Marco so much that he hired him as a full-time employee of the firm. Direct hiring is rare but indicative of the level of integration we create with client teams.

The Managed Service Difference

The point of a managed service is to provide executives and teams with the support they need without adding more management headaches for executives and talent teams. We take care of the training, supervision, and quality control, and clients focus on their work and building productive relationships. The assistants are part of client teams and contribute to success beyond task completion. They love their job because building relationships with executives are rare in their home markets, as are opportunities to learn and develop marketable business skills.

Want to learn more? Check out “How Enterprises Outsource Executive Assistants in 2022.”

About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.