PA Life November/December 2017

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LEADER Be part of our community and follow us on @PALifeMag /palifemagazine /in/pa-life /palifemag

EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to my first issue of PA Life – the past few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind. It’s been great to get stuck into the brand and I am really looking forward to executing some exciting changes to the magazine and our online content. I would also like to thank everyone for welcoming me into this vibrant industry and for their words of congratulations. I have already had the opportunity to meet a number of PAs and EAs at various events, and am eager to meet many more faces of the industry in the upcoming months. This issue kicks off with the latest PA Profile, starring Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, PA and project management for mobile payments at Barclays. I headed to the impressive Barclays head office in Canary Wharf to find out how winning the WATC Rising Star Award has inspired her to archive more. Turn to page 12 to read on. With more PAs choosing to take the leap and transition to becoming a VA, Toby Cruse heads up a roundtable with a trio of PAs (on page 38), to take a look at what PAs can expect from the life of a VA. Similarly, our opinion this month comes from Charlotte Wibberley, who discusses why more PAs are choosing to launch their own VA company. Find out more on page 11. 45 per cent of Brits have dated a co-worker at some point in their professional life, and it’s no wonder that this statistic is so high considering how much time we spend in the workplace. Over on page 40 we chat to some EAs and VAs who have found love at work, to gauge their thoughts on romances in the workplace. office* is just a few months away, so we catch up with event director Duncan Siegle, to bring you an in-depth guide to next year’s show and what guests can expect from the annual event at London’s Olympia. Head to page 42 for more details. The issue is rounded off with our addition of regular guides – we take a look at corporate hospitality, private dining and office supplies. Turn to page 25 for more. With Christmas less than a few weeks away, I hope you all find the time to take a breather, spend time with family and friends and enjoy a glass or two of bubbly to finish off the year. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Jade Burke, Editor

The UK’s award-winning title for personal and executive assistants Forum Events Media Forum House 71 Mead Lane Hertford, Hertfordshire SG13 7AX Website: Twitter: @palifemag E:

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All material in the publication is covered by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise – whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher © 2017 Forum Events Media Ltd. While considerable care has been taken in the production of this issue, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or equipment. All correspondence is assumed to be for publication unless clearly stated otherwise.


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Dave Bevan, Alive Network Bevan established Alive Network in 1999, and today the company is the largest supplier of live music and entertainment for events in the UK. Alive provides entertainment for 10,000+ events a year.

Adam Fidler, Adam Fidler Academy Fidler is the principal and founder of the Adam Fidler Academy, which offers teaching and learning for PAs, EAs and business support professionals. He also qualified as a teacher in 2008. @adamDfidler

Chris Horlick, AXA PPP Healthcare Horlick is a director at AXA PPP healthcare, where he is responsible for the distribution of intermediated and corporate business and workplace wellbeing, counselling and occupational health services. @AXAPPPhealth

Richard Morris, Regus Morris is UK CEO at Regus. He began his career as a trainee accountant at the Royal Mail after graduating in 1996, before becoming finance manager in 1998 and divisional finance manager the following year.

Yvette Pearson, ESF Captial Pearson is currently two years into an office manager career at a FinTech start-up, where she has taken the team through two office moves and a five-fold increase in headcount. @execyvette

Charlotte Wibberley, VIP VA Wibberley is a business coach, online business strategist and VA trainer, based in the UK. In 2015, she founded VIP VA, a training academy and community supporting virtual assistants. @vipvaorg


Jade Burke, Editor 01992 666723

Toby Cruse, Junior Content Writer 01992 374095

Charlotte Russell, Media Sales Manager 01992 374080

Emily Mayhew, Media Sales Executive 01992 374064

Freddi Jackson, PA Life Club Manager 01992 666720

Katy Phillips, Publisher, 01992 374050 | Carlos Dieguez, Event Sales Manager, 01992 374091 Laura Spratt, Delegate Portfolio Manager, 01992 374053 | Sarah Beall, Managing Director


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42 Heading to office*? We give you the low-down on what to expect from the annual event



PA Profile Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, PA and project management for mobile payments at Barclays, on her plans for the future

Roundtable VAs discuss what it was like to make the transition from a PA



Corporate hospitality PA Life highlights a variety of venues with a unique offering for your next corporate event. Whether you’re looking to visit the races or watch a match, we’ve got it covered

Reader, I married him A look into why more employees are finding love in the workplace and how it has gradually become less of a taboo

44 Hotel review We travel to Bath to check out the iconic Royal Crescent Hotel


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Face the Facts Latest insight into the issues facing office support workers across the UK

68% of British workers are happy to take part in Secret Santa

Festive spirit at work Brits are getting into the festive spirit this year, as one in five of you have revealed you are more than happy to spend around £10 on a Secret Santa present, while the second most popular choice was £20. An online survey carried out by business energy comparison site, Love Energy Savings, found that 68 per cent of British workers are happy to take part in the popular gifting trend. Similarly, data from Google Trends, found that more and more co-workers are turning to online shopping to find the

perfect present, with searches for ‘Secret Santa’ doubling since 2012. “The key to a fun and inclusive Secret Santa is allowing employees to opt-out anonymously, rather than in a group discussion or company email thread,” said David Ingram, MD of marketing agency, Bring Digital, a British company which has adopted the tradition. “Setting a budget also helps to prevent an imbalance in spending, which can lead to some employees feeling disheartened or excluded.”

Despite the majority of co-workers looking forward to the annual gifting event, nearly a third said that they would prefer to spend £0 on a work colleague – Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud.

SQUEAKY CLEAN 53 per cent of PA Life followers on Twitter have revealed that they like to keep their desks neat and tidy. In comparison, not everyone prefers a pristine work environment, with 20 per cent citing that they favour a messy desk.

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH SUNLIGHT? A number of PA Life readers are struggling to find enough sunlight during their working day. According to a recent Twitter poll @PALifeMag, we asked our followers how often

they get to leave their office to soak up the rays – only 35 per cent of you said you get outside at lunchtime. Meanwhile, 30 per cent revealed they don’t have time.


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Divorce is less stressful than Christmas Christmas Day is just a few weeks away, meaning shoppers will be braving the stores to buy their presents and festive goods. However, a quarter of Brits have reported that the big day is more stressful than divorce. Giftcard retailer, Zeek, found that 15 per cent of those interviewed claimed that Christmas is worse than moving house, while one in ten revealed it is more taxing than a child’s first day at school.

Tea or coffee? After research by syrup producers, Monin, found that 61 per cent of British workers now prefer drinking coffee to tea, PA Life asked its Twitter followers which beverage was their preferred choice. 43 per cent stated that tea was their favourite, while over 29 per cent chose coffee.

Would you flirt to get ahead? We asked our followers on Twitter if they would ever consider flirting with their boss to get a pay rise – 83 per cent of you said absolutely not, while 13 per cent thought that it would depend on the pay rise. Just four per cent revealed it would all boil down to who their boss was.

Facing harassment in the workplace

Over 2.5 million women have reported being a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace

Women are not just experiencing sexual harassment in the entertainments industry as more are coming forwards after facing abuse in workplaces across the UK. Opinium Research has found that over 2.5 million women (20 per cent) have reported being a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. Three fifths (58 per cent) of those interviewed revealed they had experienced sexual harassment, but did not report it to their company, while of those who did report it, 33 per cent of the cases were never acted on by senior management. Findings also revealed that 12 per cent of females had been denied a job or interview due to workplace sexism.


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Separating PAs from business partners Distinguishing the difference between a PA and a business partner has become clouded, claims Adam Fidler. Here, he details why the term doesn’t apply to PAs or EAs

I’ve got a bit of a bugbear at the moment, and it’s the title ‘business partner’ when referring to PAs or EAs. You’re not business partners, and the title is incorrect for many reasons. Where has it come from, this referring to PAs as business partners? I think it’s come from the US, but let’s go back and understand, first and foremost, what ‘business partner’ really means. From a theoretical perspective, the title was created by David Ulrick in 1997 to redefine the role of human resources professionals; hence the role ‘HR business partner’ was created. The HR business partner model, which now applies to other functions, such as finance business partner or risk business partner, means the job holder sits outside the core business – and is ‘called in’ to give advice when required, but then sent back to the support function they came from, when their job is done. Many PAs in large firms will know this – their bosses often ‘invite’ the HR business partner along when they need HR advice. The role of the EA or PA, however, can never sit outside the core business, which means you sit alongside and shadow your executive or the team you support. So, the business

partner model, if researched, doesn’t match what we are now trying to achieve with the status, inclusivity and adoption of the PA/EA being an integral part of the management team. But aside from all of that, the title business partner to me has a different connotation, and it drives the wrong perception when applied to PAs. The title partner or even business partner means you have an equal stake or share in the business – so it’s common for an entrepreneur to refer to his or her business partner; meaning they share the business with them, including being responsible for profit, loss and taking joint responsibility for the company’s success. With the best will in the world, PAs and EAs even at the highest-level, don’t have an equal responsibility for the business. If your CEO leaves or gets the sack, you are not responsible, nor are you accountable if the company doesn’t make a profit. So, on many levels, business partner to me for EAs and PAs, just doesn’t apply. I can see why it’s been brought about, as we strive for a greater definition of what EAs and PAs really do, and to align their roles more strategically. But, it would be much safer, and more appropriate, if we stuck to the term business manager. My teachings and talks about the world have brought me into contact with many executives, many of whom laugh at the title business partner for their assistants. We have to remember that working in partnership with someone is very different to being their business partner.


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Leaping into the

virtual world Charlotte Wibberley, CEO of VIP VA, reveals why more PAs are seeking flexibility in the workplace by launching their own VA business

In the working place today, the ‘f word’ (flexibility) is key to keeping people motivated in their jobs. It’s therefore no wonder that so many employees are now choosing to move to self-employment when their employers can’t (or won’t) give them the flexibility they need. For PAs, when you throw the frequent lack of recognition and possible stunted progression opportunities into the mix, I find it unsurprising that so many PAs are now taking that leap to start their own VA businesses. Running their own VA business is becoming the preferred career path of many PAs, as they begin to realise how many benefits they can glean from working for themselves. PAs are weighing up those benefits against the current lack of recognition and advancement opportunities they’re facing in their current positions – and the current position is coming up short. Making that leap to their own VA business means ultimate control – control of their income, their working patterns and their overall career. They get to pick who they want to work with, what type of tasks they want to take on and, with the option to work solo or with a team of associate VAs, how big they want to grow their business too.

For many, flexibility is a huge governing and deciding factor for them, especially those with young children at home. They’re looking for a role that suits the growing needs of their young family, as well as providing them with the means to work flexible hours. Self-employment is becoming a more attractive option for many PAs. For so long it was seen as a drastic or riskier option to that of full-time employment, but that’s no longer the case. Finding a company that employs staff for life is something that is becoming rarer than hens’ teeth. Job security and its associated benefits are no longer outweighing the attraction of self-employment – that tide has now turned. Not only has self-employment got the freedom many PAs desire, it also enables them to utilise the skillset they already have. They can branch out into specific niches, based on their strongest talents and their biggest enjoyments. With niche areas as varied as corporate, small medium and large business, right through to authors and other creative types, or lawyers, marketing professionals and accountants – there’s ample opportunity for PAs to step into VA roles. When you factor in how easy it is for a PA to make the transition to VA, flexibility is the key behind the leap. Working for themselves gives VAs the opportunity to shine at what they do, with the flexibility and opportunities they need to flourish in an industry – so it really is little wonder, that so many PAs are now taking that leap.


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ELIZABETH MENDES DA SILVA Based in London’s Canary Wharf, no day is ever the same for Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, PA and project management for mobile payments at Barclays. Jade Burke finds out how winning a WATC Rising Star Award earlier this year has inspired her to launch her own business with her son, and now plans to offer more mentoring to women in the industry Photography: Dave Willis Location: Barclays London office ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Known as London’s financial area, it’s unsurprising to find Barclays’ head office nestled between the glittering skyscrapers in Canary Wharf, home to a string of other banks, from HSBC and NatWest to Citibank and KPMG. Walking inside the grand doors to the reception, I am soon greeted by Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, my interviewee for the day, who is a PA and handles project management for mobile payments at the bank. Travelling up to the 30th floor, we find a break-out spot in one corner, providing us with a crystal-clear view of the City and its striking vistas, including The o2 Arena and the River Thames – what a view to be greeted with every day. But what is it like to work in this fast-paced environment? “It’s quite a tough one to answer because no two days are the same,” Da Silva explains. “Even my role at the moment has expanded so I’m not just a PA anymore, I’m a PA with planning support, but I would say a typical day is normally negotiating deals, diary management and overseeing projects. I try to fit in a bit of mentoring as well.” Having previously studied fine art at university, Da Silva found herself taking on a part-time job at a private members’ club, which is where she found her talent for organisation after doing some PA work for the owners, striking up her interest for the industry. “I realised I was naturally quite assertive and good at organising, which steered me in that right direction. I then broadened on that and got the opportunity to work in a bank,” she reveals. However, being a PA wasn’t always the career Da Silva had in mind, as inbetween Barclays and her part-time role, she was training to be a junior broker. She continues: “It’s quite fast

paced and exciting, but when I had my son that made me think that the PA role would be a little bit more suited to me.” It certainly looks like this career route was the correct one, as earlier this year Da Silva scooped a WATC Rising Star Award. Around 850 candidates were reviewed by a panel of 21 independent judges, which was followed by over 28,000 public votes that were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees. This was then whittled down to the top 100, which saw Da Silva secure the accolade. Despite winning, Da Silva still remains surprised at the achievement, stating: “I didn’t think I would win it, with so many votes and such strong competition, but it was wonderful. The process was great to be a part of because, off the back of that,

“I have met some great people on the way – it’s really inspiring and has made me realise that being a PA is a great career path and there’s a lot to be achieved.” I’ve joined Twitter and some debates and have had my voice heard. Barclays had three winners overall and it made sure that our level was recognised and boosted our profiles. “I have met some great people on the way – it’s really inspiring and has made me realise that being a PA is a great career path and there’s a lot to be achieved. We have come a long way from using shorthand and the stereotype that people have of us, as we do so much more than that,” she continues. Recognising the rising stars in any industry is becoming increasingly more prevalent, with companies choosing to ackowledge the millennials striving to make an impact, something Da Silva feels is incredibly beneficial.


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“A bit of advice I was told was the five-year rule – if it’s not going to matter in five years don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.”

“I think it’s important because we are the next generation’s leaders. It makes us feel valued and that the work we put in is recognised.” Clearly a memorable highlight in her career, Da Silva notes that not everything has been smooth running. Working at a bank comes with many restrictions she recalls, for example with budgets. However, she feels that these struggles are fundamental in making employees stronger. “I think we have all experienced struggles and that’s what makes you good at your role,” she adds. “I would say try to be unfazed by changes and try to be transparent. If you are feeling uncertain, have that open line of communication – I think that tends to levitate some of the stress. “A good bit of advice I was told was the five-year rule – if it’s not going to matter in five years don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it – I like that.” Never one to rest on her laurels, Da Silva is committed to making a difference – she currently works with the National Childcare Trust tutoring young children with dyslexia, something that is close to her heart, as some of her family members also have dyslexia. “It’s something I feel passionately about because my sister and my mum both have it. I love children as well, I have a six-year-old son, and it’s something that I wanted to help with because not everyone has the money to pay for private tutoring,” she explains. “I have also extended my mentoring to get women back into work. As a single mum I found I lost quite a lot of confidence and here we have great access to so many things that others don’t, and I thought it was a good opportunity to give back.


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“Because I think a lot of people don’t have access to that level of coaching and have that person they can look up to, so I think it’s great to offer it. Those are my two passions outside of work and they keep me honest and working hard.” But that’s not all, as Da Silva recently decided to embark on another venture, but this time with her six-year-old son. The duo are putting their creativity to the test and are set to create kids’ designs. To kick things off, Da Silva has enrolled in a short course to, as she puts it, ‘brush up on pattern cutting and art skills,’ to develop personalised designs for customers. She remains tight-lipped about the business’ name; however, plans are already underway for an upcoming website. “I actually wanted to do a project with my son, he’s very creative and cool,” she explains. “I think being a PA has definitely given me confidence and I think there’s a lot of aspects of business management in what we do, because we have to multitask and it gives you a hunger for it.”

“I think being a PA has definitely given me confidence and I think there’s a lot of aspects of business management in what we do, because we have to multitask and it gives you a hunger for it.” But with such a crammed schedule, what’s next? “I love working at Barclays, and I think in five years’ time I would like to stay as a PA but move up the ranks in terms of being an AVP, which is an assistant vice president and then after that a VP. If I reached one of those two I’d be happy,” she enthuses. “I’d like to do a bit more training or speak at a few seminars, while continuing to volunteer and to write articles – but not profit motivated just for the love of being involved.”


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Our history, your story Host your next event at one of London’s most iconic historical landmarks. Over hundreds of years, the Tower has provided the backdrop to glittering banquets, fabulous celebrations and splendid royal occasions. From intimate dinners to magnificent receptions and large conferences, we have a variety of unique event spaces, ideal for all occasions. The New Armouries’ event spaces are modern and versatile, perfect for hosting conferences, large meetings or lavish banquets. The banqueting suite can accommodate up to 300 guests for a reception and the boardroom and syndicate rooms offer spaces suitable for smaller meetings. At the centre of this ancient fortress and World Heritage Site is its oldest and most recognisable building – the White Tower. With spectacular views of the River Thames and Tower Bridge, this impressive and historic space has capacity for up to 90 for dinner and 250 guests for a standing reception. Explore the history of the Tower and enjoy exclusive access to behind the scenes areas on a private tour. The secret of the Tower tour is a rare and new opportunity to access out of bounds areas that are not open to the public. Accompanied by a Yeoman Warder you will explore private areas including Queens House, St Thomas More Crypt and famous prisoner cells to uncover the hidden secrets of the Tower. Guests can also enjoy a private tour of the Crown Jewels on a morning Jewel House tour. Visitors are welcomed to the treasury by the Duty Exhibitor and our warding staff will guide you through the exhibition before any other visitors that day. Speak to a member of our expert team to discover how you can plan a truly memorable event for your organisation.

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…manage flexible work hours Remote working is steadily increasing, with 46 per cent of UK professionals now operating from home 2.5 days a week. Here, Richard Morris, UK CEO at Regus, shares some advice on how businesses can make remote working a success June 30, 2017 marked three years since flexible working rights were extended to millions of workers across the UK. Flexible working has soared in popularity as businesses and workers recognise the productivity advantages to be gained from a more agile approach. Our own figures at Regus reveal that, on average, 46 per cent of UK professionals work from remote locations 2.5 days a week or more. This new way of working has introduced many new management challenges for business leaders who are looking to get the best out of their remote teams. Provide professional workspace Companies who are looking to make remote working a success for their business must be careful not to confuse flexible hours with homeworking. Certainly, the option to work from home once in a while is welcomed by most professionals, but home set-ups are rarely optimised in terms of important factors such as ergonomics and lighting, and for many, isolation is an issue.

In order to get the best out of remote workers, the onus is on companies to provide a professional, productive workspace, which has been designed with both productivity and wellbeing in mind. These spaces now exist in almost every town and city in the UK, enabling

“Studies have shown that working flexibly in this way stimulates productivity and enhances employees’ wellbeing.” people to turn up at a time that suits them and to work productively among other professionals. Compared to many homeworking set-ups, the latest workspaces deliver fast broadband, ergonomic desks and seating, optimised lighting and a variety of space areas either for collaboration or quiet concentration. Studies have shown that working flexibly in this way stimulates productivity and enhances employees’ wellbeing.

Keep in contact We recently surveyed professionals to ask them about how – and how often – they expected to communicate when working remotely. 74 per cent of respondents agreed that remote workers and managers should stay connected via instant messaging apps and telephone. Frequent phone communication was considered important, with 84 per cent of professionals believing that managers should speak with remote workers several times a week. And over half, (55 per cent), believe video calls should be implemented at least once a week. Rethink performance evaluation When measuring the performance of remote workers, it’s important to move away from the old attitude that equates productivity with time spent at the desk. Instead, establish new protocols that move away from judging productivity on ‘presenteeism’ and use results as the benchmark for performance. By following these simple steps, you will ensure that you get the most out of your remote workers.


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HOW TO… …book a party band Bands are crucial when it comes to party entertainment. They guarantee to get the party started, giving guests a night to remember. But how can you find the perfect party performance? Alive Network’s MD, Dave Bevan, offers some top tips A party lives or dies on the quality of the entertainment. Alongside the food and drink (plenty of the latter, of course), it’s this that will avoid your colleagues and guests awkwardly mingling around the bar area. And live bands are top of the pops for corporate party planners. Just over 43 per cent rate this as their entertainment of choice, with ‘mix and mingle’ artists, (magicians and lookalikes), reception musicians and DJs also featuring highly in their wishlists. But finding and choosing the right band needs to be carefully considered. After all, there’s no point in booking a pop band if your guests are more Bublé than Bieber. Similarly, that local band of university students might be super cheap, but there’s a reason. You’re risking your reputation by unleashing an amateur band or DJ on your guests. And that’s not to mention any health and safety issues you could face with dodgy equipment. You can get cutting-edge and professional bands for under £1,000 that are not only amazing performers,

but are also insured, with PAT-tested equipment. You can shave even more money off the cost by booking a band local to the venue who won’t be charging extra for travel expenses. Our business, Alive Network, is all about parties, so a good agency can also help you with planning. First of all, think about the venue – are there any sound

“Choosing the right band needs to be carefully considered. After all, there’s no point in booking a pop band if your guests are more Bublé than Bieber.” limiters or noise restrictions? Always check this before you book your venue. If yes, don’t worry – you’ll be able to find a host of sound limiter-friendly bands. Is there enough performance space? Is there a power supply near the performance area? Is there a changing space or room? All of these things are important to consider.

Similarly, before booking your band, ensure you check their availability and research their performance and style. Reading and sourcing reviews are also a great way to check out their previous performances. Be sure to also ask your artist if they offer a DJ set in-between and after live music sets. One month before, the artist should contact you to run through the finer details of your event, which will also provide you with the opportunity to give your artist/band advance notice of any party music preferences. Ensure you also put your band in touch with your venue so they can communicate if needed. On the day, one to two hours is required for the band to set up and soundcheck. Allow your band to park close to the venue, so that they can unload their gear easily, plus keep their energy up for a crowd-wowing performance with additional food and drink supplies. These simple steps will help you host a party to be proud of. You just need to find the perfect pair of dancing shoes.


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lead a more active life at work Finding ways to keep energetic can be an arduous task for many, especially with the winter months rolling in. Chris Horlick, director at AXA PPP Healthcare, offers his thoughts on how employees can tie fitness into their working day Finding time to get active during a working day can be challenging. Even if you have good intentions, unexpected tasks can throw your plans and, of course, winter weather can often dampen the enthusiasm to get up and out to stretch your legs. Whatever the hindrance, we know from our own research that many UK workers spend an awful lot of time sitting – racking up an average of nine hours sitting-time a day, (the equivalent of a UK flight to the Caribbean). Therefore it’s hardly surprising that when, in a separate survey, we asked workers about their activity levels, nearly half (45 per cent) admitted to falling short of the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, five times a week. Yet, it’s no secret that sitting for long periods of time can create muscle and joint problems and/or exacerbate existing ones – and there are links to health risks too, including obesity, type two diabetes and some types of cancer. But, fortunately, we can, with a little ingenuity and perseverance, get on the

front foot to break the long-haul sitting style, with regular spells of activity to re-energise and promote better health – and to lower the short and potential long-term risks. Kickstart a trend of exercising with a like-minded colleague, or group. A supportive friend or network can help you get – and stay – motivated. Be

“We asked workers about their daily activity levels. Nearly half admitted to falling short of the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise.” assured that you’re not alone if you’re deterred by the prospect of donning gym gear in front of colleagues, as we found that one in ten employees feel this way. So, choose your exercise buddies wisely and you’ll feel more comfortable and confident. We also found that embarrassment around poor fitness (25 per cent) was a

barrier to exercising at work. So perhaps you can reduce the pressure on yourself and start out by walking, gradually increasing the duration and intensity as you progress. A brisk walk with a colleague is a great way to get away from the desk too and, before you know it, you could be well on your way to achieving those 30 minutes of exercise. Finding opportunities to ‘move more’ during the working day will go a long way to improving your physical health without unduly eating into your work time. Whether you walk to the train station, bus stop or live close enough to walk to work every morning, challenge yourself by, for example, varying your route to cover extra ground. And, the simplicity of opting for the stairs whenever you can is a good habit to have on your side, as you build the range of activities you can adopt that best work for you and your working life. To find out more about how fitness and exercise can help you, visit:


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Don’t let this be a metaphor for your next work party.

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Whether you are new to franking or looking for your next batch of labels for an existing machine, Avery UK has launched its new range of Franking Labels. Compatible with most franking machines, these labels are made from QuickDry™ material making your print smudge-free and easy for the postal service to read. They will also look professional when they land with the recipient. Avery White Franking Labels are FSC® certified and the brown Kraft material is made from 100% post-consumer waste. *For information on our Gift Collections, Christmas offers, express service and personalisation,

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27/11/2017 11:02



...use social media to make yourself more employable We are all guilty of sometimes divulging too much information via our social networks. Here, Toby Cruse, reveals his top tips on how employees should strive to keep their feeds as clean as possible when seeking new job opportunities Since LinkedIn can act as a second CV, you don’t want an employer to read an out-of-date version, so include all of your recent activities.

How often do you use social media? As you’re waking up, making your way into work, sitting at your desk, relaxing at home or even nipping to the loo, odds are you have quick access to it. A study by the University of Derby revealed that a social media break in the office has a positive effect on our mental health and productivity. But while many of us use social networks to escape from work life, we forget how much of an impact it has on our employability. With that in mind, I’ve examined the way we portray ourselves online and have put together my top tips on how to use social media to your advantage when applying for a job.

“Looking yourself up online can help you see what’s immediately public, and it’s normally your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, so make sure they’re clean and updated.”

Google yourself Search your own name, because you might be surprised at what results will appear first. Looking yourself up online can help you quickly see what’s immediately public, and it’s normally your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, so make sure they’re clean and updated.

well. As a general rule, I tend to look at my social media from the perspective of my grandparents, so if I see any content I know my Grandma would be disappointed to read, I remove it. Remember that your profiles are public, so you have to assume anyone can and will read it, unless you set it otherwise.

Clean your content It seems obvious, but try to avoid setting your profile picture to you on a drunken night out; it doesn’t usually go down too

Adjust your privacy settings Every social media site has its own privacy settings, so if you don’t want your bosses viewing your Instagram account, make it private. Most sites have varying degrees of privacy, so adjust as necessary if you only want to share things with your closest friends. Plenty of your profile could still be viewable even with privacy settings however, so make sure to investigate just how private your posts really are. Most bosses these days will Google a candidate’s name before their interview to check out what they’re posting, but do you realise exactly what employers can see? Be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or anything in between, a boss can easily have a bad first impression of you before you’ve even sat down for your interview. A little online preparation prior can go a long way. Don’t let a tweet you sent when you were feeling rebellious get in the way of your dream job.


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Take a culinary journey through the Bazaars of India Enjoy innovative & authentic market cuisine in your own little piece of Covent Garden

Your home from home

Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Trader’s high tea • Daily chaat cart • Private dining room & bar • Bar open all day • Pre & post theatre dinner

Gaucho believes that every guest should experience a little bit of Argentine life. Its food, its wine, its culture and, most importantly, the passion of the people.

SIGNATURE COCK TAILS Exclusively curated by the world’s top mixologist Mr Lyan

For bookings please contact our VIP Line on 020 3281 6682 or for more information on our PA club, please contact

28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7JS t: +44 (0) 20 7395 1400 | e: Cinnamon_Bazaar CinnamonBazaarRestaurants CinnamonRestaurants

@gauchogroup We have the experience to know how to bring the best out in teams. Whether it be cerebral challenges, competitive, creative or just a bit of fun, we have something for everyone.

For team building activities that will work well together in achieving your teams goals, talk to the team today 01676 540333 Quarter PA Life October.indd 3



01676 540333 Meriden Rd, Coventry, CV7 8DX 27/11/2017 11:05


Corporate hospitality Your company’s corporate hospitality choices can say a lot about a business, making it a vital tool when looking to create new relationships with clients. We round up a selection of venues to help you with your next corporate event Finding the right way to say thank you and show appreciation to business clients is a sure-fire way to create new relationships and maintain existing ones, so why not take a day out from the office and head to a sporting event? With cricket, tennis, racing and bowling all proving to be popular pastimes across the UK, groups will enjoy a day of sporting activities that will no doubt lead to more team-building and networking. “Corporate hospitality is the life and soul of the leisure industry nationwide. We rely heavily on corporate entertaining and events for our regular, high value business,” says Lucy Harrison-Dwyer, head of business development and events at All Star Lanes. “Corporate hosting is an ideal way to showcase a venue’s strengths and encourage repeat customers from the businesses themselves, as well as future personal visits from individual attendees.” By planning a corporate trip, clients and employees will get the opportunity to mix business with pleasure, while also helping your company stand out from the competition in a crowded market. Sourcing a memorable venue with superb service will keep you at the forefront of new and existing clients’ minds, cementing your relationship for any future relations.

Suzanna Reid, commercial director at Unique Venues Birmingham, comments: “When planning business trips, companies should consider corporate hospitality as it differentiates your business from the rest of the competition. It also provides a great opportunity to make a lasting first impression and nurture those relationships, as well as maintaining key ones.” Likewise, Eleanor Pinnock, operations manager at Williams Conference Centre, believes companies shouldn’t underestimate the importance of corporate hospitality when it comes to entertaining. “Corporate hospitality is more than just a meeting with some catering. It is an opportunity to build relationships, develop partnerships and differentiate yourself from the competition. By enticing guests to a venue with a difference, the event will ensure high attendance rates, good levels of engagement and an outstanding setting,” she adds. “It can be difficult to create an event that balances business and pleasure. Venues that can offer an upgraded package, such as interesting tours, a personal connection to the environment, or an interesting speaker, can be vital when it comes to making a memorable event.”

>>> WILLIAMS CONFERENCE CENTRE The Williams Conference Centre offers a range of unforgettable experiences at the home of one of Formula One’s leading teams in Grove, Oxfordshire; Williams. With eight event rooms and catering options from two to 350 guests, the centre offers great flexibility in a modern and inspiring surrounding, suitable for product launches, executive meetings, fine dining and more. While attending events at Williams, guests have the opportunity to visit the largest private collection of Formula One racing cars, the Williams Grand Prix Collection. Visitors can feel the rush of racing with one of the virtual reality motion driving simulators, and put their teamwork to the test with the Williams martini racing pit stop challenge.


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WILLIAMS CONFERENCE CENTRE & BUSINESS EVENTS The award-winning Williams Conference Centre is a unique meeting and events venue nestled in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. With eight flexible event rooms catering up to 350 guests, the Williams Conference Centre offers full support in event planning and execution with in-house AV facilities, dedicated event managers and five-star catering and service.







WWW.WILLIAMSF1.COM F1, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula 1 company. All rights reserved.

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>>> >>>

UNIQUE VENUES BIRMINGHAM Unique Venues Birmingham (UVB) is a new commercial venture between Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Library of Birmingham, designed to exploit the excellent conferencing and hospitality opportunities offered within the shared building on Centenary Square in the centre of the city. The venue you choose for your event is as important as wearing the right pair of shoes – despite all of the time and effort spent on selecting the perfect outfit for a special occasion, all people will remember is the battered old boots you wore. UVB complements your personality and gives an event the profile it deserves, lifting it from ordinary to extraordinary. 0121 245 2066


TWICKENHAM STADIUM The Old Mutual Wealth Series will see England Rugby welcome back to back world champions, New Zealand, for the first time since 2014, as part of next year’s autumn internationals at Twickenham Stadium. Alongside the iconic All Blacks, the Old Mutual Wealth Series will also see Eddie Jones’ men take on Australia, South Africa and Japan as they ramp up their preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. For the first time, all on site match day hospitality at Twickenham Stadium will be delivered exclusively by England Rugby Hospitality, with a number of new experiences that truly embody the history, heritage and brand values of the game now available to purchase. 0203 553 5640

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS, WIMBLEDON Attracting a worldwide audience of over 500 million, the two weeks surrounding The Championships, Wimbledon is an exciting and fabulous date in any sporting and social calendar. Wimbledon packages offer an array of award-winning hospitality experiences, providing the perfect way to entertain clients and friends. Whether it’s the spacious and sleek Gatsby Club, with a three-course menu designed by Albert and Emily Roux, or the luxury of one the hospitality suites situated within Centre Court, watching the action just a few yards away, our hospitality experiences are guaranteed to match everyone’s needs. 0208 843 7699

>>> GAUCHO With 12 restaurants conveniently located across some of London’s key areas, our aim is to bring a touch of Argentinian life to the capital. From romantic tables at riverside venues, to our lively City oases – our name is synonymous with style and quality, with tables and private dining available for a multitude of occasions including business functions, celebrations and special events. Our mouth-watering Argentine beef and exclusive wine selection have helped make our name, but it’s our unique atmosphere that has made us famous. Each and every one of our staff is trained and extremely passionate with just one key goal – that, whatever the occasion, your visit to us will be one to remember. 020 7925 3900


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LORD’S CRICKET GROUND Be our guest at the home of cricket next summer, and experience a world-class performance both on and off the pitch. Lord’s has a packed fixture list and is delighted to be hosting three international matches during 2018, in addition to Middlesex and MCC fixtures. The ground’s premium hospitality venues, hosted by former international cricketers, offer businesses and guests the chance to enjoy world-class cuisine and fantastic seats from which to watch the sporting drama unfold. Hospitality options include private boxes for 18 people for long-term and daily hire, with a range of packages also available for groups of all sizes on a match-by-match basis. 020 7616 8598

>>> ALL STAR LANES Drink, dine and bowl at All Star Lanes, the home of boutique bowling. Feast on all-American eats, sip on cocktails inspired by the speakeasies of the 50s and enjoy a game on the retro lanes, of course. Bored of the board room? Do something a little different for your next teambuilding day, corporate meeting or private event. With exclusive private rooms and full venue hire available, day delegate rates, breakout spaces and presentation equipment, All Star Lanes is the perfect choice for your next away day. 0207 186 2360

>>> EPSOM DOWNS RACECOURSE Epsom Downs Racecourse is closer than you think, with rail connections in under an hour from both London Waterloo and London Victoria. Encompassing the greatest flat race in the world, this two-day festival will entertain in excess of 125,000 guests who flock to experience this historic and quintessentially English event. With a plethora of hospitality experiences on offer, designed to suit all budgets, each is uniquely styled and fully inclusive of a range of drinks and dining packages. What they have in common is a prime viewing location from which to watch the finest racing action. 0208 843 7699

HEART OF >>> ENGLAND When it comes to team building and activity days, Heart of England offers some of the largest collections of indoor and outdoor activity equipment. With over 30 years’ experience in the events industry, Heart of England prides itself on delivering the most inspirational team building and activity days in the UK. Whether you’re looking to energise, inspire, educate, integrate, reward or simply have fun, it has the activities to suit you. Want a half day conference too? Not a problem, the business offers excellent facilities for up to 650 delegates. 01676 540 333

STAMFORD BRIDGE, CHELSEA FC >>> Set over an 11-acre site, Stamford Bridge is one of London’s most complete venues, offering versatile meetings, events and hospitality spaces including music venue Under The Bridge and the Chelsea FC Museum. A recent refurb has seen the stadium’s hospitality and event space upgraded, with the opening of a new event and matchday hospitality space on site, known as the 1905 Club. Changes have also been made to the West Stand, which is home to 50 individual event spaces, including the exclusive Directors’ Lounge, Executive Boxes and Millennium Suites that overlook the pitch. 0371 811 1955


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We’ve been making quality coffee simple since 1923. To celebrate our new look we’re giving away a £1923 Amazon voucher.



Win an Amazon voucher for £1,923. To enter your business must purchase one of the following: Kenco tin range Kenco Smooth 750g, Kenco Rich 750g, Kenco Decaff 500g or Kenco Millicano 500g and submit your details to All entrants must have the permission of their employing business to enter. The winner must be able to provide proof of purchase in order to collect their prize. Competition runs from 9th October to 31st December 2017. Terms and conditions apply, see

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cutting-edge Product launch or private board meeting, having the right space supports the outcomes you wish to achieve. Elm Grove is the purpose-built, state-of-the-art environment that delivers. 020 8392 3505 @RoeVenues Find your space at Quarter PA Life October.indd 3 Roehampton Venues_PA Life_1/2 page advert_210mm x 148mm.indd 1

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PRIVATE DINING With so many venues offering private dining, it can be tricky to find the right one. We round up some restaurants and historic sites that can take your private party to the next level Whether you’re on the lookout for an intimate business dinner, work party or a treat for a client – private dining can meet every need. With many venues now catering for a private setting, from unusual locations such as bowling alleys and historic sites, to more traditional restaurants and hotels, there is something out there to suit every need and budget. Across the UK, there are numerous venues offering a bespoke service to impress clients, with many boasting exceptional locations and stunning views for guests to enjoy during their meal. “Private dining is known to leave a lasting impression on clients as it adds a uniquely personal touch to business lunches and dinners,” states Tim Reynolds, food and beverage director at InterContinental London – The O2.

“We’ve seen private dining bookings surge over the last year, which is a reflection of a greater demand for both flexibility and privacy. With private dining you can be as creative as you like with different themes and layouts – there are technically no limits to it.” Treating team members and business clients to a meal that has been tailored to suit them is a special way of saying thank you, something that The Cinnamon Collection’s commercial director, Tina English, believes is crucial to ensure a workforce continues to remain balanced and happy. She adds: “The importance of internal engagement has never been more paramount. Giving your team time, space and a great atmosphere on key occasions doesn’t need to be costly, but it is vital for a healthy and happy business model.”

>>> PENINSULA RESTAURANT, INTERCONTINENTAL LONDON – THE O2 Recently awarded three AA Rosettes, Peninsula Restaurant, located on the vibrant Greenwich Peninsula, boasts an elegant and secluded private dining room for up to 24 guests, with breath-taking views overlooking London’s Canary Wharf. The space can also be divided in half to cater for two parties of 12 simultaneously. Headed up by head chef Tomas Lidakevicius, Peninsula Restaurant offers a delicious menu of modern European cuisine, with hints of exotic flavour reflective of the spice trade that once passed through East London’s docks. The restaurant also caters for up to 80 guests in the main restaurant area, and boasts an impressive wine cellar, perfect for pairing a great glass of wine with every dinner choice. 020 8463 6868


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NO.11 CAVENDISH SQUARE Situated in the heart of London’s West End, No.11 Cavendish Square is a Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse with stunning original features, complemented by a contemporary design. The Orangery offers a modern style bathed in natural light from the glass ceiling and a citrus aroma from the orange trees. Plus, the spacious, open-plan room provides a great setting for dinner parties. The Courtyard Garden features a lush green ‘living wall’ installation and water feature with high wooden stools and tables for seating. It is a delightful space for an informal drinks reception. The Burdett Suite, adjacent to the Orangery, is ideal for grand-scale celebrations and entertainment as it can be configured in many ways, providing clients with the freedom to design a dinner party the way they want. The Garden Room, with high ceilings and bay windows, overlooks the grandeur of Cavendish Square and is a superb choice for small dinners. The President’s Room boasts views and period features – it is the perfect choice for private dinners. Overlooking the Orangery and Courtyard Garden, the Treasurer’s Room is bright, stylish and is suited for small gatherings. We offer the services of one of London’s most highly regarded caterers – Dish. Dish has developed an outstanding reputation for producing high-quality catering, offering great value to clients. 020 7307 2474





CINNAMON BAZAAR Enjoy innovative and authentic market cuisine in your own little piece of Covent Garden at Cinnamon Bazaar. The authentic restaurant plays host to the Khari Baoli private room, which is perfect for 12 to 30 people and is available all day, every day, for parties, celebrations, group dining, dancing, conferences and more. The room features its very own private bar and dedicated team to cater to every guest’s needs, plus diners can order from the delicious feasting set menus, starting from £35 per person. Inside, the room can offer standing receptions, cocktails, drinks and nibbles, plus packages include a signature Bazaar cocktail, designed exclusively by famous mixologist, Mr Lyan. 0207 395 1400


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In print, online and in person, PA Life is at the very centre of the vibrant community of Personal, Executive and Virtual Assistants from across the UK. These budget holders and key influencers use PA Life’s product and services spotlights to help make informed choices. Here’s what you can expect to see in the first 6 months of 2018…

JANUARY / FEBRUARY: THE BUSINESS TRAVEL ISSUE • Business Travel – With many PAs being placed in charge of their company’s travel budget, knowing which suppliers to turn to is becoming incredibly important. We cover everything from airlines, rail operators and TMCs to chauffeur services and serviced apartments. • Recruitment – PAs need reliable recruitment agents to turn to, so we’re presenting the UK’s top agencies. Plus, this issue will provide advice on landing your dream job from CV writing to the interview and beyond. • Training – Our readers want training and career development. We will provide them with practical tips for self-development and some advice on how to ask their employer to support them through financial benefits and encouragement.

MARCH / APRIL: THE SUMMER ISSUE • Summer Parties – Our readers will be thinking ahead to the warmer months. We look at the country’s best options for corporate summer soirées. • Outdoor Spaces – To sit alongside our spotlight on summer parties, we check out top outdoor spaces that are perfect for al fresco events of all kind. • Country Retreats - We hand-pick the finest country breaks, holiday cottages and log cabins as well as taking a look at some of the latest spas and their offerings. • Team Building – Bringing the team together for bonding outside of work is a great way to build on professional relationships. We highlight our favourite team-building activities, suitable for indoors and out.

MAY / JUNE : THE CHRISTMAS ISSUE • All About Christmas – Forget Christmas in December, PAs start planning their company’s festive celebrations much earlier. We present everything an assistant needs to put together the perfect Christmas party, from pre-planned packages and blankcanvas venues to the best and more indulgent catering and entertainment options.

If your business operates in any of these sectors and you would like to target PAs and EAs, contact us today to discuss how we can help with your marketing messages in 2018. Charlotte Russell

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All inclusive hospitality from £299+VAT per person Please contact, 020 7820 5670 or visit

* Conditions apply

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PRIVATE DINING >>> TOWN HOUSE KENSINGTON The recently refurbished Town House restaurant can be found in the heart of South Kensington, where diners can feast on a selection of dishes served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Described as a ‘home away from home’, guests can make the most of the three interconnected drawing rooms for any private occasion. Accessed via the hotel or its own private entrance on Manson Place, the restaurant offers a specially curated menu to match all tastes with an emphasis on fresh produce focussing on the seasons. 020 7589 6300



BANQUETING HOUSE One of the most exuberant and atmospheric venues in central London, the Banqueting House has played host to magnificent events for centuries. Today, the beauty and scale of this venue continues to inspire guests, just as they did for the kings, queens and courtiers who have celebrated and banqueted here since 1622. Specially created for entertaining, the Main Hall, with Rubens’ awe inspiring celling and perfect proportions is a versatile and inspiring event space. Spacious enough to accommodate large receptions, award ceremonies and dinners, yet intimate for smaller celebrations. Additionally, the Undercroft, which was originally designed as a drinking den for James I, is an atmospheric space for receptions and dinners. 020 3166 6152

LES 110 DE TAILLEVENT Inside Marylebone’s French restaurant sits the Lamennais Room, which has been described as a ‘perfect private dining room for a lunch, dinner, wine tasting or cocktail party’. An extension of the main restaurant, the space boasts natural lighting and seats up to 28 guests and approximately 35 as a drinks reception. Exclusive hire of the entire restaurant is also available, where diners can enjoy a bespoke group menu featuring three courses, with matched wine. Whether booking out the private dining room for a larger party, lunch meeting or product launch, Les 110 de Taillevent offers a graceful and deliberate experience where everything gives off an atmosphere of class. 020 3141 6016


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Office supplies 34 per cent of Brits say that the right office equipment can lead to them being more productive and creative, indicating how crucial supplies are to the workplace. Here, we review some current goods available on the market for you to snap up Ensuring your work environment has the right equipment is a huge factor in guaranteeing that staff remain productive on a daily basis. Whether that is selecting the right photocopier to get the job done quickly, or choosing the right filing cabinet system to keep important documents safeguarded – it all adds up to maintaining a healthy work balance in the office. A study carried out by office equipment specialist Fellowes, found that 34 per cent of UK office workers say that the right office equipment would help them be productive and creative, indicating the importance of sourcing the best office supplies. Finding an appropriately designed desk has also proved to be a huge bugbear for office workers, with many struggling to find

the space to cater for all of their office goods, including a keyboard, laptop, mouse, screen, binders and more. According to Fellowes’ research, 17 per cent cited a badly designed desk as one of their biggest office frustrations. Meanwhile, 82 per cent of those interviewed for Fellowes’ data believe that organising your desk makes you more productive and creative in the office – the moto ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ certainly seems to ring true with the majority of employees in the UK. So, whatever you are on the lookout for, whether that is a printer, laminator, stamp machine, or projector, our office supplies guide is packed with the latest goods on offer.


>>> FELLOWES Fellowes is a global manufacturer and market leader of products for improving life at work, at home and on the go. Fellowes’ innovation office solutions include shredders, laminators, binders, trimmers, sit-stand workstations and air purifiers. Celebrating 100 years in the industry, Fellowes manufactures products to create an office environment to enable employees to reach their full potential. 00800 1810 1810

AVERY UK Franking your mail could result in a big time-saver in 2018. Not only can you avoid periods spent queuing in a post office for stamps, you could also save up to 32 per cent of the cost of using stamps, as you only spend exactly the required amount rather than overpaying. Franking also adds a professional look to mailings, as businesses can add a company logo, which builds up trust with the recipient that the mail is from a reputable source. Avery UK has launched a range of labels that are compatible with most franking machines. These are made from a QuickDry material, so prints won’t smudge, making it clear and easy for the postal service to read. The strong adhesive ensures they will also last throughout the delivery process. White franking labels are made from FSC certified paper and brown kraft material is made from 100 per cent postconsumer waste.


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>>> >>>

BROTHER Brother UK is a supplier of technology solutions, helping businesses deliver greater productivity and efficiency through documentation, digitisation, collaboration and mobile work solutions. From its versatile selection of printers, scanners and label printers to web conferencing and other business solutions, Brother can cater for any office with its wide range of supplies. 0333 777 4444

CROSS Looking for a gift that your conference delegates and VIPs will cherish? A gift that will demonstrate how important they are to your business? A gift that rewards and recognises employee achievement? In which case look no further – Cross offers pens to suit every budget, business occasion and style. With a wide range of finishes and technologies, from ballpoint to fountain pen, Cross can meet any brief. Starting from as little as £9.99 per unit, each pen is packaged in a stylish gift box and comes complete with a lifetime mechanical guarantee. Cross has been designing and manufacturing pens since 1846, gifting generations of customers with its distinctive collections and personalisation techniques to make the gift that little bit more personal. If you are short on time, Cross can also offer an express service, which will turnaround selected lines in five days so you never miss a deadline. For more information on Christmas offers, personalisation techniques and express service, contact Lauren today at or on 07771 92 87 15 quoting PA15 to guarantee 15 per cent off your first order. Offer valid for orders invoiced before 31/12/17 with a minimum order quantity of 25 units. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. 07771 928 715


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Vicki Doudelle became a freelance virtual assistant and founded The VA Bee after moving to Bordeaux. With over ten years of corporate experience, Doudelle now offers business support to entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, plus administrative and backoffice services.

Joanne Munro is the founder of The VA Handbook website. She has a community of nearly 7,000 people in her ‘VA Handbookers’ Facebook group, and helps women from all over the world take control of their own lives, by setting up and then running a successful virtual assistant business.

Joanne Hawkins left her position as a VA to found Executive VPA five years ago to showcase the benefits of working with VAs as ‘business partners’, rather than as ‘just a VA’. Hawkins educates both businesses and VAs on the importance of working side by side.

Are you ready to become a

virtual assistant? Talking to Toby Cruse, experienced VAs Vicki Doudelle, Joanne Munro and Joanne Hawkins give their top pointers on how you can make the most out of becoming a virtual assistant, and what to look out for on your journey

Most VAs start off as a PA before making the transition, what encouraged you to make the change? Joanne Hawkins (JH): I was working in an organisation that had suffered immensely with the recession, I was covering the office manager role. I knew I would end up having to take a huge step back to a more junior role and I wasn’t prepared to do that. Joanne Munro (JM): I didn’t actually start out as a PA, I actually worked as an event manager at a racecourse and before that I worked in hospitality. Since I was small I always had the feeling that there had to be more to life than working all day for someone else and not feeling as if I was truly living my life. I’m a problem solver and I like helping people achieve their goals and I just fell into it really. What impact has becoming a VA had on your life? Vicki Doudelle (VD): Massively. I was very much a career EA before children and moving to France, so to not be able to find a job here was really hard on my moral and in turn life was not great. My confidence took a real knocking and I

doubted everything I set out to achieve. I entered the VA world with pigeon steps, but five years on I felt in control and my confidence sky rocketed. I love being a business owner and choosing how I run my work and personal life.

“It gives me greater flexibility to spend time with my family, and has enabled me to position myself as the expert I thought I could be.” Joanne Hawkins, Executive VPA JH: I am in total control of my destiny, I make the decisions that are right for my life and my family, it gives me greater flexibility to spend time with my grandchildren and family, and has enabled me to position myself as the expert I always thought I could be. What’s the biggest misconception you come across when talking about your job with others? JM: People either seemed to think that I was like a £10 an hour temp or they

couldn’t really get their head around what I did at all. I think a lot of people seem to live in a very old-fashioned world when it comes to work nowadays. They seem to have an idea of what you do based on very outdated models. VD: The biggest misconception is that anyone can do it. This just isn’t true; It takes guts, dedication, a thick skin and a strong mindset to make it work as a business. If it’s pin money you are after, then sure, anyone and everyone could do part of it – but the actual ins and outs of running a support service are challenging and not for the faint hearted. More PAs are becoming VAs – what do you think newcomers need to be aware of when taking their first steps? JH: Mainly it is a feeling of desperation to get work, we have all taken on work for less money than we are worth in the beginning or worked with people that don’t appreciate or understand how to work with a VA. We need to see ourselves as partners and credible business owners, equal to our clients and get them to understand that we work alongside them, not for them.


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ROUNDTABLE work together to grow our skill base and associates to ensure that clients get the best job done by the best person. VD: There are so many of us now – I’m not an old-school VA, but neither am I a newbie, but there are so many VAs now with different strengths, it’s incredible. Social media has had a massive influence on my VA life, without it I wouldn’t have the networking or support community I have now. Most of my clients have found me either via the VIP VA client matching service or LinkedIn. Plus, it’s also taught me how to tell a story online and create a brand that is authentic and true to what I do. Jo Munro, you actually left your job as a VA, but would you ever go back? JM: I used to get a lot of emails and calls from people who wanted to set up their own VA business. They said my website was really modern and didn’t look like all the other VAs and could I give them advice on how to set up their own business. I loved being a VA but I love what I do now even more, and being in a position where I can change people’s entire lives is just incredible.

JM: To be a good VA you need to be very much focused on details – and most VAs naturally are because they come from an admin background – but you need a big picture mindset to be a successful business owner. These are two very different things and you need a combination of both, details to be able to manage clients and the work, but bigger picture skills to manage and steer your own business. PAs are usually told what to do throughout their entire working career, so it can be harder to make business decisions once they start working for themselves. Were colleagues, bosses or general office life a big part of your decision to leave the traditional workplace? JH: In some aspects yes, as outlined above. I also had a three-year-old granddaughter at the time and wanted to spend time watching her grow up. My daughter also worked with me as an office junior and I didn’t want her to miss out on the important parts of her daughter growing up. She is now also self-employed as a VA and has the same flexibility as I do.

JM: Definitely. I personally have always hated working with other people; I find office politics petty and unproductive, managers often have their own agenda, and many colleagues are lazy and incompetent. The profits over people

“I’m not sure if I would do many things differently. I didn’t follow what everyone else was doing and I think that was definitely key to my success.” Joanne Munro, The VA Handbook culture of my last job was definitely a deciding factor in me leaving to set up my own business. How much has the industry changed since you became a VA? JH: Social media has a massive impact, it makes the marketing of what we do a lot easier, especially through video. The support network that VAs have access to has also increased, VAs now do not see colleagues as competition, we all try to

If you were starting out again tomorrow, is there anything that you would do differently? What would you tell yourself? JM: I’m not sure if I would do many things differently. I didn’t follow what everyone else was doing and I think that was definitely key to my success, and how I eventually ended up creating The VA Handbook. JH: I would tell myself to be more comfortable being just me, don’t try to be a second rate somebody else. Believe that you are an equal to other business owners and that you have just as much right to be out there helping others as any organisation. Don’t undervalue your worth and charge what you deserve. VD: I would have done it so differently – I would have invested in myself and treated it like a business from day one. There are so many available options for starting out, from moving from PA to VA, that there are no excuses not to do it this way, most even offer payment plans which make it totally affordable. I would have invested some of my redundancy money in a website, training and a business mentor – there is absolutely no question about that.


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Reader, I married him Forming a romantic relationship at work is becoming more commonplace, with colleagues spending time with one another from nine to five, five days a week. But is it still looked on as a taboo? Jade Burke speaks to some EAs and VAs to gain their thoughts Forget signing up to the latest dating apps, singletons are now looking to the workplace to find their future partner or spouse. Working in such close quarters with colleagues all day, it isn’t hard to see why many employees are finding love in the workplace. With the average day lasting from nine to five, employees are spending the majority of their time at work, where they are forming relationships with others who quite often, have similar interests. According to a study by Reboot Digital, an SEO company, who spoke to 2,017 professionals about finding love at work, data revealed that 45 per cent of participants had dated a colleague at some point in their professional life, with

12 per cent admitting that they had wooed their boss. Similarly, around half of all workers have fantasised about sleeping with a colleague, client or superior, according

“Workplaces draw in people with similar goals and it is natural to assume that some work relationships will develop into an attraction.” Abigail Corfield, People Business to new research by office supplier After examining what the British public think about their colleagues, the study detailed that while

around half have thought about sharing their bed with a co-worker, a quarter have actually had an office romance, regardless of their personal lives. “Psychology tells us that proximity is power when it comes to relationship building,” Abigail Corfield, junior consultant at People Business, a human resources and consultancy company, tells PA Life. “Workplaces often draw in people with similar goals and values, and it is natural to assume that some work relationships will develop into attraction in these circumstances.” With the festive season in full swing, Christmas parties are set to crop up all over, where employees are likely to enjoy a few beverages together, which


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she would have usually dodged. “At the time I was the EA to the CEO and he worked in IT, so we met when I had issues with my computer. “We got to know each other as friends initially before it became more of a dating relationship. His visa then came to an end and he planned to return home to New Zealand. Months later we decided it would be worth me joining him there to give the relationship a good go,” she continues. “For me, it certainly was not my intention and something that I would try to actively avoid. I think as a general rule it is best to separate your home life from the workplace, because if things turn sour the implications can negatively affect your career, or at the very least the perception of you at work. Being a heart-over-head person myself, I didn’t take my own advice.” Forming a relationship with a coworker can have complications – other colleagues may gossip or may even disapprove, as 26 per cent of employers stated that they would prefer their staff not to date each other, according to Reboot Digital.

can often lead to a kiss underneath the mistletoe with another colleague. For example, Reboot Digital’s data found that 31 per cent of first kisses between co-workers take place at the office Christmas party. Meanwhile, those interviewed revealed they are more than twice as likely to embark on an office fling during the winter months. Despite this, many have found their partner or husband and wife in the workplace, as Helen Miller, senior executive assistant from Citi, explains: “My husband and I worked for the same company. I was a sales secretary and he was an IT engineer. He in fact saw me first and when we went to a social event he asked me out. That was 36 years ago and we have been married for 34 years now with two grown up children. “People spend more time at work than they do at home. If you are working constantly then the only place you will meet someone is in the workplace.” Likewise, for one EA who wishes to remain anonymous, also found romance at work, revealing it is something that

“I would encourage colleagues to embrace an attraction, as long as it’s reciprocal and they realise that they’ll still have to work together if it all goes wrong.” Jade Hockie, Elevate PA “At first, we kept it a secret then we announced we were getting married,” Miller adds. “One of the sales managers did not like this at all and frowned upon it, (he was very old school), but others were very pleased for us.” In comparison, our anonymous EA found that work colleagues were incredibly happy for her blossoming relationship. “We deliberately kept things very quiet given my relationship to the CEO, my newness within the organisation, and my partner’s profile within the company,” she says. “We were both concerned about professionalism and gossip. However, once he left the company and I remained there, we became more open with people and the reaction was positive. Most people were surprised we had managed to keep the news quiet,

but happy that two nice people had met in the office.” Divulging such information with co-workers can be daunting, with some being pleased to hear the news while others may disapprove. As such, to try and limit any negativity in the workplace, Corfield believes couples should be honest, remain professional at all times when communicating with their partner, carry on as normal without disruption to their work or behaviour, hold unbiased decision making and agree to report to someone else if one has managerial authority over the other. Corfield continues: “There is, of course, a level of risk involved which shouldn’t be underestimated. Relationships at work can become problematic where there are concerns regarding favouritism, biased decision making, inappropriate flirting and subsequent office gossip. “Individuals should also think of their professional reputation, which can be tarnished by an embarrassing office break-up story.” Jade Hockie, VA at Elevate PA, who met her partner, a contractor that visited her office regularly, concurs: “I think it’s best to be open. People guess – you’re never going to fool people, no matter how discreet you think you’re being. Having said that, I think you should still behave professionally at work. There’s a massive difference between being open about it and drawing attention to it.” After meeting her partner in the workplace, Hockie also believes that colleagues shouldn’t be afraid of acting out on an attraction with someone, providing they are aware of the possible consequences. “I would encourage colleagues to embrace an attraction, as long as it’s reciprocal and they realise that they’ll still have to work together if it all goes wrong,” she advises. With our jobs consuming the majority of our time, it’s no surprise that people are finding love at work. Of course, approaching a romantic relationship in a professional environment can be tricky. But it is important to note that those interviewed have all found love in the workplace and have since remained with their partner or spouse - proving that forming an intimate relationship should not be so much of a taboo, but something that can be accepted, as long as it is handled delicately.


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OFFICE* 2018

What to expect from

office* 2018

Recognised as one of the biggest events of the year for PAs and EAs, Olympia London will welcome office* once again, and it’s set to boast more training sessions and suppliers than ever before. Jade Burke catches up with event director, Duncan Siegle, to find out what sets next year’s event apart from previous shows

After welcoming 5,520 unique visitors through its doors earlier this year, office* 2018 looks set to be another successful show with an all-new speaker line-up and training sessions set to enhance visitors’ development. Returning to London’s Olympia on February 28th to March 1st, 2018, PAs, EAs, VAs and office managers will enjoy their visit to the complimentary annual two-day show. Recognised as the largest event of its kind, office* 2018 will play host to a variety of exhibitors, ranging from venues and accommodation to office equipment and furniture, and with more training sessions available than ever before, it looks set to be another stellar event for the industry. “There will be more suppliers, more training sessions, and more networking opportunities for visitors to get involved with,” Duncan Siegle, event director of office*, tells PA Life. “The 2018 show is going to reflect the diversity of the PA/EA role. Keynotes, training and suppliers will enable visitors to develop, so they’re prepared as their role evolves for the future.”

Next year’s exhibitors include the likes of Byron & Brown, Dstrkt London, Gilgamesh and Shaka Zulu, Leetchi, The Elvetham, Travel Perk, Westgate Chauffers and many more. Co-located with International Confex and the Event Production Show and organised by Mash Media, the exhibition now offers more

“The 2018 show is going to reflect the diversity of the PA/EA role. Keynotes, training and suppliers will enable visitors to develop, so they’re prepared as their role evolves for the future.” choice and more to see, making it a must-see for the industry next year. “The event will welcome favourites from past shows, as well as new for 2018 suppliers,” details Siegle. “The exhibitors will represent a variety of products and services, meaning visitors can increase their knowledge of the range of companies within the market.”

MIND TRAINING With registration now open to attend, visitors will be able to enjoy sessions held by some of the industry’s leading PA trainers, providing guests with the opportunity to each receive top training. Meanwhile complimentary coaching within the Keynote Theatre will also be available for guests to take part in. Siegle continues: “As a complimentary to attend event, office* is ideal for PAs/ EAs that aren’t allocated a budget for their own training needs.” Guests should look out for sessions such as; Body language in the office environment with Yvette Pearson and Forget fear of failure… to increase your motivation with Nick Bishop on February 28th. Meanwhile, the second day will play host to sessions including; Driving your EA/PA career with Abigail Jones, Networking for success with Susan Heaton-Wright and The PA’s guide to the perfect event with Chris Powell. “All of the sessions will provide training that will suit different requirements, relevant to a variety of roles, experiences and skills,” enthuses Siegle.


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OFFICE* 2018 DON’T MISS: The PA Life team will have a presence during the event, and will be hosting a session focussing on; How you can take control of your own development. Breakfast sessions taking place every morning during the show. Dedicated visitor networking with a prize draw including complimentary training courses and conference attendance. Get involved in Jeans for Genes day, which takes place in September 2018. Sessions provided by the Global PA Association.

“We’re particularly looking forward to the sessions provided by the Global PA Association, which will provide education and training specifically for senior PAs. This is new for 2018 to specifically meet the education needs of visitors whom have previously received extensive knowledge and training. “The Wellbeing Theatre will cover topics involving stress, work life balance, and emotional wellbeing within the office environment. These sessions are something our visitors requested more of, so we expect these will be popular.” THE BREAKFAST CLUB On average, 2017’s event saw guests spend around five hours and 32 minutes inside, which the show’s organisers hope to repeat in 2018. To help keep office* refreshed, event organisers have detailed several new features, spanning from new breakfast sessions to dedicated networking opportunities. Each of the breakfast meetings will be held from 8.30am to 9.30am, giving visitors the chance to meet with relevant suppliers before the show kicks off at

9.30am. Topics to be covered during these include; Managing your manager, interruptions and stress by Paul Pennant, and Success doesn’t have to be stressful by Laura Capell-Abra. “The breakfast sessions are perfect for our visitors who find they run out of time at office*. With more planned for office*

“By dedicating time at office* for our visitors to network with each other, we hope to encourage attendees to benefit from the opportunity to grow their networks.” than ever before, the early starts will help visitors optimise their day,” reveals Siegle. Meanwhile, visitor networking will be held at the end of each day, which will include a prize draw for guests to win items donated by partners, suppliers and speakers. Prizes include training courses and conference attendance provided by leading PA speakers and trainers.

Siegle adds: “Whether networking for future opportunities, or to receive insightful advice from peers, visitors can gain great support from their counterparts. By dedicating time at office* specifically for our visitors to network with each other, we hope to encourage attendees to benefit from the opportunity to grow their networks.” The new developments for 2018’s show doesn’t stop there, as office* has joined forces with national children’s charity, Jeans for Genes. During the event visitors will be given all the advice necessary to involve their workplace in Jeans for Genes day in September 2018, providing companies with the opportunity to work with a charity and make a difference. With a clear focus to ‘provide visitors with the skills and training needed to thrive in all areas of their varied roles,’ the 2018 edition will cater to the new needs created by the evolvement of the PA and EA role. All this and more will offer guests a packed show next year, making office* an event not to be missed by any PA, EA or VA.


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Checking in: Royal Jade Burke travels to Bath’s historical Royal Crescent Hotel to take a tour aorund its Georgian-inspired meeting rooms and sample its award-winning restaurant Nestled inbetween the infamous Royal Crescent Road in Bath, sits the Royal Crescent Hotel and its unique 45 rooms, spa and restaurant. Back in 1950, house number 16 was transformed into a guest house, and in 1971 was combined with number 15 to create the iconic hotel. And since then it has established itself as one of the most desirable addresses in the city. At just an hour and a half away from central London, it’s strange to think that such a traditional, Georgian location sits, just waiting for eager travellers to explore its surroundings. Entering the foyer, I am escorted into the cosy Drawing Room while a roaring fire provides some much-needed warmth from the chilly wind. Soon enough I am chauffeured to my room, which is located in the main house up a

winding staircase. I notice each door is branded with a gold name plate, where guests’ names are written – a pleasant personal touch. Before heading into my room, I can’t help but notice how grand the door is

“The suite boasts a lounge, bedroom, spare room and bathroom, complete with a mixture of modern and classical furniture styles, creating a home from home feel.” – it’s possibly almost three times my height, and before I know it I am transported into a Georgian masterpiece. The suite boasts a lounge, bedroom, spare room and bathroom,

complete with a mixture of modern and classical furniture styles, creating a home from home feel. A purple colour scheme is carried throughout – a theme I am told that is unique to this room, as no bedroom is the same in the Royal Crescent. My room also overlooks the picturesque gardens, and I’m informed that the hotel boasts an acre of land. At the bottom of the grounds sits the hotel’s spa, garden villa, restaurant and bar, along with several other guest rooms. Taking a tour around, it’s clear the Royal Crescent doesn’t leave its guests wanting for anything, as a concierge service ensures luggage is taken from place to place, while room service is on hand to deliver fresh cups of tea throughout the day. Staff even greet and escort each individual guest to their room, a service I can only admire. I feel it is thanks to the Crescent’s 45 rooms


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Crescent Hotel that the staff are able to deliver such a versatile and attentive offering. Compared to a conglomerate hotel, that plays host to over 100 rooms, the service here is unsurpassed. I am keen to see what the hotel can offer in terms of meeting and conference spaces, and it seems it can cater for most needs. The Library can offer space for small meetings and private dining, while below it sits The Sheridan – a larger room designed for bigger groups and meetings. I’m also told that the space is hugely popular with brides-to-be, thanks to its neutral colour scheme and natural lighting. When the weather is on your side, lunch can even be held in the stunning gardens, where all guests are served a buffet-style working lunch to enjoy. Clients can bring people together for a team-building retreat with exclusive use of the entire hotel. Each of the 45 rooms, spa, restaurant and bar, as well as the gardens, can be made available exclusively for private use, should you wish to take clients to an unforgettable

getaway. Guests also need not worry about finding somewhere to park in the city. Valet parking is on hand and offers a space for each room within the hotel, if customers are looking to drive. If you are seeking an indulgent trip, then the Crescent’s spa can ensure

“Each of the 45 rooms, spa, restaurant and bar, as well as the gardens, can be made available exclusively for private use, should you wish to take clients to an unforgettable getaway.” every need is met. A sauna, jacuzzi, swimming pool and treatments, including massages, pedicures and more, can provide a much needed pamper after a day of meetings. I opted for the pedicure – it didn’t disappoint. Dower House is the on-site restaurant, recognised for its awardwinning dishes served by executive head

chef, David Campbell. An eclectic selection of meals fills the menu, including roasted scallops, goats’ curd, venison, duck breast and pear tart Tatin, while a sommelier is on hand to match every dish to the restaurant’s impressive array of wines. I make my way there during the evening of my stay and sample some of its exciting combinations, including the stone bass and chocolate tart. With a full belly, I head back to my room. No matter what time of the day, the Crescent’s staff pander to your every need, as I notice that my curtains have been drawn, the bed’s scatter pillows have been neatly placed on the floor, and a mat wishing me a good night’s sleep has even been placed delicately beside the bed – another personal treat that proves how welcoming the hotel really is. If you are seeking a bespoke service in an intimate setting, be sure to check in and head to Bath for your next business trip, as the Royal Crescent Hotel certainly has it all.

16 Royal Crescent Bath BA1 2LS 01225 823 333


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Recognised for its hot springs and Georgian architecture, Bath offers travellers a chance to re-energise and enjoy cultural treats



THE BOATER Located along Bath’s Pulteney Bridge, The Boater has been dubbed a ‘real magnet for beer lovers’. Its bar menu plays host to a variety of beers, including craft and draught, as well as cask ales. The maritime-themed venue boasts three levels, where guests can enjoy the pub’s wealth of world wines, ciders and an assortment of spirits.

££ SUB 13 Labelled as Bath’s number one cocktail bar, guests can enjoy an expansive menu of cocktails at Sub 13, including famous tipples such as a Bramble and Mojito. Trained bartenders will cater to your every need, while the PerrierJouët Champagne Bar in the garden provides the perfect setting for after work drinks.

EAT ACORN VEGETARIAN KITCHEN This modern bistro serves up plantbased food on a daily basis, where ingredients are sourced from local artisans. Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen can be found in one of Bath’s most historic locations, and guests can tuck into varied dishes such as oven roasted jerusalem artichokes and cepe cavatelli in a truffle cream.

THE IVY BRASSERIE Contemporary British delights make up the menu at The Ivy Brasserie, where breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served seven days a week. Located on Milsom Street, guests can dine in a sophisticated setting featuring decadent blue and gold décor throughout, while diners can relax in the various booths or tables inside. EXPERIENCE

THE ROMAN BATHS An iconic complex in the centre of Bath, The Roman Baths are not to be missed during any visit to the city. Inside, guests will find the Great Bath and costume characters who are on hand to tell stories from Roman Britain, while the Pump Room can cater for large groups. The venue can be hired for conferences, meetings and more.

FUDGE KITCHEN Those with a sweet-tooth will delight in the experiences on offer at the Fudge Kitchen. Large groups on the look-out for team-building activities can take part in the Fudge Making Experience, and will get to sample a collection of flavours. Participants will be able to take home a fudge making certificate, digital photos and two slices of fudge. STAY

APEX CITY OF BATH HOTEL With its central location, Apex City of Bath Hotel offers a four-star service, and rooms, which feature walk-in showers, baths and toiletries. It is one of the city’s largest hotels in terms of conference and event spaces, with its conference room holding up to 400 delegates. A gym, pool, restaurant and bar are all available on site.

THE BATH PRIORY Set in a tranquil spot, four acres of award-winning gardens surround The Bath Priory, which is part of the AA Hotel Group of the Year 2017-18. Described as a ‘peaceful haven in a bustling city’, the house is home to a spa and several event spaces. An events coordinator is also on hand to ensure any meeting runs smoothly.


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Tried & tasted: Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant Camden Jade Burke dines at Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant Camden, to sample some of its diverse Italian delights after recently opening its doors in London’s Camden Town

WHAT WE ATE: Chicken liver paté - £6.50 Tomato bruschetta - £5.75 8oz fillet steak medallions - £26.50 Linguine with seafood - £14 Cornetto to share - £5

With its eclectic mix of music venues, markets and restaurants, it seems fitting that Italian celebrity chef, Gino D’Acampo, has chosen Camden Town to house his latest restaurant. Dubbed ‘My Restaurant’, the eatery offers a wide selection of Italian delicacies, from authentic pasta dishes and pizza to seafood and meats, all located in the bustling capital. Heading in, it’s clear to see that the recently opened restaurant has been raised on the notion of family and friends, as the walls are decorated with black rimmed photo frames starring D’Acampo’s many friends and family members – an inviting touch that would help to make anyone feel at home. An open-plan kitchen draws in the attention of guests, where the chefs can be seen gathering ingredients to create the delights available to eat. Meanwhile the prosecco bar houses an impressive 40 different options. So, whether diners prefer their prosecco semi-sparkling, known as ‘frizzante’, or with a full-on fizz, known as ‘spumante’, I’m assured every taste bud is catered for.

Browsing the menu, I notice that most food options offer details on where diners can find the recipe, should they wish to recreate what the chef prepares for them – a great personal touch. After little deliberation, my guest and I settle on our starter – we choose the chicken liver paté with fresh slices of toasted bread and tomato bruschetta – a classic in any Italian eatery.

“Towards the back of the restaurant, guests will find The Green Room – a space designed for parties or corporate events, which boasts its own pool table.” Moving on to the main, I tuck into the linguine with seafood complete with wild red prawn, Scottish langoustine, mussels, clams and calamari, with a subtle hint of chilli – a favourite of mine so I couldn’t resist ordering – while my guest enjoys the 8oz fillet steak medallions, which is smothered in a rich green peppercorn and brandy sauce.

GOOD FOR… Private lunches in seated booths Corporate parties Intimate dinners Prosecco lovers Contact: 020 7267 2678

Inside, rows of tables line the floor, while a selection of booths are available for larger groups looking for a more intimate area to discuss business matters. Towards the back of the restaurant, guests will find The Green Room – a space designed for parties or corporate events, which boasts its very own bar and pool table – ideal for some after work frivolities or corporate events. As our bellies try to digest the first two courses, we opt for a sharing dessert – the cornetto. Described as a treat that is ‘great for sharing’ we chose two flavours of ice cream to top our waffle cones – Nutella and vanilla. Despite the dessert proving a little messy as the ice cream trickled down our cones and forming a small puddle, it was delicious and we expected nothing less of an Italian restaurant. If you’re on the lookout for an authentic Italian that delivers fresh food in an intimate setting, ideal for private parties or a small dinner, then My Restaurant ticks all the boxes - but maybe avoid the cornetto if you’re in a white shirt.


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Read all about it This month’s motivational must-read book

The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure Author: Grant Cardone Hardback available to buy on Amazon, £14.78; Kindle edition, £14.04 Reviewed by Yvette Pearson, office manager at ESF Captial

Have you ever wanted to take someone by the shoulders and give them a good shaking because they are giving you every excuse why they aren’t as successful as they ‘should’ be? Well, this book will save you the effort. I listened to it on audio, and I would recommend anyone thinking about reading it to do the same. It’s read by Grant Cardone himself, and his passion comes through in his voice, with his thick Louisiana accent. His idea that ‘massive action’ will give you ‘massive results’ is sort of obvious when you read it, but he makes you realise that those people who tell you that you are doing too much aren’t worth your ear time. I listened to this on the train on my way into the office and as soon as I got off I was

chomping at the bit to take my own action on whatever I was working on that day. I would even find myself writing down my ideas as I was listening to him. His energy and conviction comes through and it’s infectious. He says that ‘failure is not an option’. It is your ‘obligation’ to be successful. Listen to this book and you too will ‘stop being a victim’ and do literally everything you can to be successful. He’s the kick up the behind you need to give you the confidence to take your efforts to the next level. If you are starting your own business, thinking about starting one, or if you work somewhere where you can make a change, this book is a must-read. It’s quite literally a slap round the face personified (or ‘bookified’).

DATES FOR THE DIARY Networking, learning and things to keep in mind Sunday, December 24 Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 31 New Year’s Eve Monday, January 1 New Year’s Day

Wednesday, December 6 PA Life event: Driving experience at Mercedes-Benz World

Sunday, January 7 Orthodox Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 12 First day of Hanukkah Wednesday, December 20 Last day of Hanukkah

Monday, December 25 Christmas Day

Thursday, December 21 December Solstice

Tuesday, December 26 Boxing Day

Thursday, January 25 Burns night Wednesday, February 28 – Thursday, March 1 International Confex and office*


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LONDON PA SUMMIT 2017 PAs and suppliers were treated to a day of networking and team building at the recent London PA Summit, with the option of placing a bet at the infamous casino, The Hippodrome, in the heart of London’s West End. While avid players sat down for a game of roulette on the casino’s show floor,

businesses took part in a series of ‘speed-dating’ inspired meetings, where suppliers, PAs and EAs were able to get face-to-face. A talk on the power of yoga kicked off the day’s proceedings, while guests were then treated to a roundtable discussion during lunch - special thanks to Amy Law, founder of the London PA

Awards and Tate Recruitment for their helping hand. A speech on the importance of body confidence closed the day’s events, which was soon followed by canapés and a few glasses of prosecco to help keep the evening’s party swinging – making the year’s offering a real triumph.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB The past few months have been buzzing with activity for the PA Life Club, with numerous new members joining up. This issue we would like to welcome Sarah Hughes from Arma Partners,

Gina Harney from Bank of America, Lara Clayton-Kelly from Weber Shandwick, Lorraine Yorke Wilkinson from Yazaki, Katie Payne from Thomson Reuters and Roselelia Stevenson from Firstport to the club.





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WORK+LIFE After securing the Communication gong at this year’s London PA Awards, Danielle Francis, PA to the chairman at the FCA, explains the reason behind her three alarms and how meditation can help balance out a busy schedule What time does your alarm go off? I actually have three alarms, the first one goes off at 06.50. The next goes off at 07.10, which is when I actually need to get out of bed and finally 07.30 for when I need to leave the house. I plan my work outfit the night before so I just have to shower, get dressed and I’m good to go. My boss arrives around 08.30 each day, and I’m lucky enough to live not too far from the office so an hour for the journey is enough to make sure I’m in at the same time as him. What are you responsible for in your role? Honestly, it’s quite hard to summarise in a few short sentences. My core responsibility is looking after the Financial Conduct Authority chairman. Aside from supporting him through diary, travel and inbox management, I also co-ordinate and execute both his internal communications and regional outreach plans. Outside of my core role I am co-chair of the Professional Business Support Committee, which is a voice for all support staff from PAs to administrators to paralegals and more. I also mentor five administrators/PAs, which I find hugely rewarding. How did you get your current job? Since joining in 2009, I worked my way up at the FCA (previously FSA) from team administrator to PA, to the head of the executive office. When we recruited a new chairman in 2012 there was a vacancy as his PA, so I applied and thankfully was successful. I’ve now been working for the chairman for the last five years. What do you get up to in your spare time? I’m grateful to have a fairly good work/life balance. Most nights I spend at the gym, but I also take time to attend selective PA events, to build on my contacts, discover new venues and suppliers and also enhance my learning and development.

What has been your proudest moment so far? Definitely winning the Communication Award at this year’s London PA Awards. It felt amazing to be recognised for my role and contributions to my organisation, as well as making my family proud. I think the PA Awards are a fantastic way to promote the role of an assistant, as we can often feel forgotten and yet are essential to many leaders’ successes. What is your favourite techie kit/app? Headspace. For those who don’t know, it’s a guided meditation app. Being in such a fast-paced and sometimes stressful role, it can be easy to lose track of ‘me’ time. I have dealt with anxiety since my early twenties and found the app helps me to take time out of each day to focus on my thoughts and emotions, deal with any anxiety I’m feeling and keep calm. What would your alternative career be? I would have loved to have been a successful make-up artist. Completely opposite to what I do now. But I love creating different looks and discovering new techniques. If you were a cocktail what would you be? Espresso Martini. Have you had any embarrassing moments? I don’t really embarrass easily. However, I remember once I was going to a networking lunch, so I dressed up to the nines and strutted out of my building in Canary Wharf at lunchtime in a pair of high heels and promptly fell down our front steps, landing flat on my face. My fall hurt, but my ego was far more bruised. What are your guilty pleasures? Most of my friends will tell you that I love a bit of trash TV, from soaps to reality shows.


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