Page 1

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

29/07/2019 14:14

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

19/07/2019 16:19

Be part of our community and follow us on


@PALifeMag facebook.com /palifemagazine uk.linkedin.com /in/pa-life Instagram.com /palifemag

WELCOME... The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a new face in the pic box above, so I should probably introduce myself… My colleague, Stuart O’Brien and I have actually been working with the PA Life team for a couple of years now. But quietly, and behind the scenes, helping shape the editorial strategy for the magazine and website. We know the PA Life brand well – and we LOVE it. So we are delighted to now be taking up the reins as Associate Editors here. And we’re kicking off our first issue with an exciting new initiative – the launch of the PA Life Star Awards. If you’re a PA, EA, Corporate Booker – or a supplier to the sector – you should enter. It’s easy, and free, to nominate yourself or a colleague, so head over to page 40 to find out more. Certainly, this issue’s PA Profile star should consider nominating herself. Colour Sergeant Claudine Martin, a PA at the Ministry of Defence, has had a super impressive career in the Army for the past 11 years, including six months’ operations in Iraq and a stint protecting the Queen. All whilst solely caring for two small children. Turn to page 11 to read her story and be inspired. Another star PA, Karen Crowley at construction specialist Baily Garner, has recently tackled a mammoth task of creating a more environmentally-friendly workplace. This project went way beyond organising recycling bins and took in a reduction of electricity

“We’re kicking off this issue with an exciting new initiative – the launch of the PA Life Star Awards. You should all enter.” and gas consumption, ensuring the cleaning company uses more environmentallyfriendly products, and much, much more. Her case study on page 20 will motivate you and provide a blueprint for kickstarting your own ‘green office’ drive. The movement to tackle climate change has been accelerated, of course, thanks to the likes of the amazing Greta Thunberg, plus groups like Extinction Rebellion. And as we finish off this issue of PA Life, we’re struggling in the unprecedented 39-degree heat the UK is witnessing – so we should all be looking carefully at what measures can be taken at home and at work that can help reduce damaging our planet further. So it’s with this in mind that our Opinion article this issue highlights this important issue too. Turn to page 9 to read the great advice Danielle Francis, PA to the Chair at the Financial Conduct Authority, has to offer. Meanwhile, flexible working is something of a hot topic right now, with a Bill having been raised in Parliament twice recently in a bid to change the laws surrounding it. We take a look (pages 34-35) at some of the benefits of flexible working environments – staff are happier, they’re more likely to stay with a company, it helps working mothers return to work, and more – whilst also talking to PAs about their own experiences. And, there’s more! I hope you enjoy this issue. If you’d like to get in touch, email us at editorial@palife.co.uk – and we hope to see you soon at upcoming events! Lisa Carter, Associate Editor


03 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

26/07/2019 10:16


40 38


PA Profile A switch from having kids to a career in camouflage isn’t something you hear about every day - But that’s exactly what happened to Colour Sergeant Claudine Martin.


Venues Special Ever booked a venue and then thought: “I should’ve gone to Specsavers”? Well, we’re here to ensure your vision is 20:20 when it comes to choosing the best venues the UK has to offer.


How to... Do business travel It’s pretty hard to argue that work, as we knew it 20 years ago, is different. But if your Executive Assistant is stressed, the entire workforce suffers, writes Hannah Harrington, Marketing Executive at Roomex.


How flexible are you? Or, more relevantly, how flexible is your employer? Study after study is revealing that companies which offer flexible working conditions have happier staff, fewer absences and are more likely to attract and retain top talent.


The Green Office Continuing our series looking at the tasks and projects that PAs are tackling, Karen Crowley, PA to the Managing Partner at construction specialist Baily Garner, discusses creating a more environmentallyfriendly workplace.


Hotel Review: Down Hall This hidden gem on the Hertfordshire and Essex borders is an impressive - and versatile - venue for a variety of corporate and leisure options. It’s also steeped in history, as we discovered on a recent visit.


34 04

04,05 PA Life July_August_v4.indd 1

26/07/2019 10:16

11 16 40


AWARDS: Are you a PA Life Star? Introducing the PA Life Star Awards. We’re looking for the top PAs, EAs and Corporate Bookers across the UK who represent the crème de la crème in their particular industries. We’re also honouring the suppliers who help PAs & Corporate Bookers do their jobs on a daily basis Lunch at Searcys St Pancras Looking for an upmarket restaurant location for meetings in London, with great transport links and somewhere to plug in your laptop? The St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar by Searcys could be your answer.

EVEN MORE ON THE WEBSITE Check out all the latest news online via our social channels All the Club news and events, including trips to the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square and the Lincoln Plaza Hotel. Don’t miss out!

48 05

04,05 PA Life July_August_v4.indd 2

26/07/2019 10:16


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

51% of adults who felt stressed also reported feeling depressed



According to the UK Mental Health Foundation, 32% of us find ourselves thinking about work in our personal time, a quarter of us compromise our health to get work done, and one fifth of us say that ‘powering through’ stress is part of our organisational culture. Individuals experiencing stress undoubtedly suffer the most, causing feelings of isolation. The Mental Health Foundation also found that 51% of adults who felt stressed also reported feeling depressed, and 37% reported feeling lonely.

35% describe their work as ‘soul destroying’

THREE IN TEN FIND THEIR JOBS ‘UTTERLY DULL’ Almost half of Brits are stuck in a ‘boring or unrewarding’ job, according to a study by Open Study College. A poll of 2,000 employed adults found more than three in 10 say their job is ‘utterly dull’, while 35 per cent even describe their work as ‘soul destroying’. A quarter feel there is nothing left for them to learn or accomplish in their role, while 38 per cent think they’d have a more fulfilling job, if only they had better academic qualifications.

WHAT PERKS SHOULD BUSINESSES OFFER? It depends on what field you work in, according to MoneySuperMarket, with various industries wishing for: • Style – Both Business & HR and Media & Marketing workers prefer light and airy offices (23% and 29% respectively), whilst 44% of creative employees want a traditional and functional building. • Physical features – 38% of Creative workers name recycling facilities as an important feature. But Media & Marketing employees proved to be the most eco-conscious with a remarkable 62% wanting recycling facilities. • Luxury features – Both Business & HR and Media & Marketing would like free snacks, meals, and soft drinks. Creative types, meanwhile, want video games (46%) and sleeping pods (44%). • Location – In contrast to the 63% of business owners overall who want parking spaces, 62% of Media & Marketing employees and 54% of Creative employees want transport options.


06,07 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

38% of Creative workers name recycling facilities as an important feature

25/07/2019 15:06


FOUR-DAY WEEK ANYONE? Research conducted over the last three years shows that just over half of UK workers (51%) want to work a four-day week – favouring the idea of working longer hours Monday to Thursday and taking Friday to Sunday off. We’re in!

51% want to work a four-day week

WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON SEPTEMBER 30TH? If you’ve not registered already, do it now – the super popular PA Life Summit returns on September 30th and takes place at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. Join 60 other senior PAs and EAs, meet new suppliers, learn from our insightful seminar speakers and enjoy ‘after show’ drinks. It’s FREE to attend! But places are limited – so visit palife. co.uk/pa-life-summit to register today.

42% of staff are likely to have their heads turned should a more flexible role come along

HOW FLEXIBLE ARE YOU? A survey by Wildgoose Events has revealed that in organisations where flexible working isn’t allowed, almost 15% of employees are seriously considering moving to a more flexible organisation, with another 42% likely to have their heads turned should a more flexible role come along. Turn to pages 34 & 35 to find out why your company should consider flexible working options.


06,07 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 2

25/07/2019 15:06

Festive food & drink packages from £55 per person Quote ‘PA Life’ for a free Prosecco reception

events@allstarlanes.co.uk 0207 186 2360





T&Cs apply: Quote ‘PA Life’ when booking. Offer is confirmed once deposit has been paid. To redeem the offer, bookings must be confirmed by 30th September 2019. Offer available for private room Christmas as partie partiess only when you book our Silver or Gold Package between 25th November and 30th December 2019. Offer available for new bookings only. Pre-booking required. Minimum spend and room hire will apply to alll priv private rivate e room bookings. Subject to availability.

Halfs template PA Life July/August.indd 3

26/07/2019 10:56


Are you working on any green initiatives in your workplace? Tweet us @PALifeMag

Navigating the road to sustainability PAs have a key role to play in the creation of environmentally friendly work spaces, writes Danielle Francis, PA to Chair at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The UK has announced a legally binding net-zero carbon target of 2050. Poorly considered energy use and waste production quite literally costs the Earth and is now set to hit businesses in the pocket directly. Of course, we’re all used to seeing buzz words like ‘waste’, ‘recycling’, ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘climate change’, but what do these really mean when it comes to offices and your work? Ultimately, we have a responsibility to set the standard now for future generations. External criticism is at an all-time high and now is the time for industry leaders to take positive steps to make changes in the way we work to benefit the environment. And as PAs it’s our role to drive this change in support of our senior management and encourage others to get on board. This can be done in a number of ways. At the FCA, we have always sought to be as environmentally friendly as possible. However, our relocation to Stratford in 2018 gave us an opportunity to make our biggest environmental changes ever. We took over a plot of land near the Olympic Park and were able to build our new office from the ground up, designed to incorporate the very latest approaches to progressive ways of working.

Now is the time for industry leaders to take positive steps to make changes in the way we work to benefit the environment. And as PAs it’s our role to drive this change in support of our senior management.

We worked collaboratively with colleagues in the facilities team, architects and the design team to ensure we created space to fulfil our people and environmental objectives. Senior leaders and their PAs were brought on board at the very earliest stages to ensure we listened to opinions and made decisions based on colleagues’ requirements. We focused our design on different office spaces to give a pronounced emphasis on community, but also ensured nature permeated all areas of the building. Nature is good for your health as well as looking good: vegetation and water act as a natural filter, capturing harmful pollutants and toxins, which could otherwise cause life-threatening health problems. In addition, plants in the workplace are proven to have a positive impact on a person’s mood, creativity and health. As such, we have several ‘biophilic’ initiatives. We’ve installed living walls – panels of plants, grown in the atrium. On a practical level, the office move also saw the FCA give all staff a reusable water bottle and coffee cup as part of our plan to reduce waste. We have also changed the

packaging for our catering. In 2017 we used 2.6m items of refuse single-use plastic (SUP) in our catering service. This included items such as plastic straws, cups, cutlery and polystyrene takeaway containers. We have estimated that in 2019 we will use just under 250,000 SUP items. This is a reduction of almost 91 per cent. In addition to SUP we have also reduced the number of non-recyclable disposable items such as napkins and coffee cups from 1.7m per year to 860,000, a reduction of 49 per cent [annual average September – February 2017 vs December – May 2019]. Digital also impacts the physical - we made the move to Microsoft OneNote which, combined with a new hybrid laptop and ways of working, has seen our printing decrease by 50 per cent – equivalent to 8.7m sheets of paper saved. We still have a long way to go, but over time we are gradually taking steps and making changes to reduce the negative impact we are having on the environment. As our knowledge increases, so does staff awareness, and it’s important to listen to both internal and external voices to drive change for the better.


09 PA Life July_August_v6.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:29

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

12/07/2019 17:18


Claudine Martin It’s not unusual for women to look for a new career path when they’ve had a baby. A switch from kids to camouflage isn’t something you hear about every day, though. But that’s exactly what happened to Claudine Martin – or Colour Sergeant Martin to give Claudine her official title. Lisa Carter visited the Ministry of Defence to talk to her about her amazing career to date Photography: Dave Willis Transport provided by: Uber


11,12,13,14 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

23/07/2019 14:27


Originally from Jamaica, Claudine Martin emigrated to the UK in 2002 and enrolled onto an IT course at a college in East London. Once she’d had her son, she began looking for a new career, spoke to a friend who was enjoying her life in the Army – and joined up herself. Despite the fact that her son was just a year old. After completing 14 weeks’ basic soldiering training and eight weeks of trade training (HR training), she was assigned to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Aldershot, a foot guards Regiment responsible for guarding the Queen and conducting ceremonial duties. Two weeks after her assignment she was deployed to Iraq for six months’ operations. She spent two years with the Irish Guards and then a year with the Coldstream Guards. Since then, she has worked at the Military Working Dogs Unit in Leicestershire, the 22 Engineer Regiment in Andover and the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. During this time, she also worked as a Military Steward at Wimbledon and the London Olympics (“the best thing I’ve done with the Army”), carried out Duty in Cyprus, courses in Northern Ireland, and attended adventure training in Germany, Italy, Wales, France and Austria. Incredibly, she also had another child - her daughter - during this time. After 11 years’ service, she wanted to broaden her horizons and asked for a PA post at the Ministry of Defence. She aced the interview and is now PA Director of Engagement and Communications. Was being a PA something you had wanted to do for some time? Definitely. All my previous assignments in the military have been in general HR support. Even though I enjoy doing the payroll and looking after the soldier’s documents, being a PA was one of my long-term aspirations. What advice would you give to someone looking to forge a career as a PA or EA? If that’s your ambition, go for it. Being a PA can be challenging but also very motivating. The networking opportunities are great. Your role as the PA is to be the ‘right hand man’ and be able to think ahead of your boss. Be prepared for all circumstances and you will be a fantastic PA. What do you think are the peculiarities of working as a PA for an organisation like the Ministry of Defence? Being a PA to the Director of Engagement and Communications has given me a better understanding of the top-level structure in the Army. This has given me a wider knowledge of Defence and given me the skills to prepare for civilian employment when my military career finishes. Describe a typical day for you. I start my day by preparing the boss’s office before he gets in. I check the diary as soon I log on to the computer and brief the General about his meetings for the day. A typical day depends on the General’s whereabouts. When he is out of office or overseas, the tempo and the workload is more relaxed. What are the most challenging aspects of your job? Working as the PA to an Army General means that the diary can change as easily as the flick of a switch and sometimes at short notice you must get things done quickly. The working hours can be long


11,12,13,14 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 2

23/07/2019 14:27

When her son was just a year old, Claudine Martin joined the Army. In her military career spanning 11 years, she has served in Iraq, carried out ceremonial duties guarding the Queen and has had another child. She’s now a PA at the Ministry of Defence – and planning her next adventure... 13

11,12,13,14 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 3

23/07/2019 14:27

PA PROFILE depending on the day’s events. Whenever there is a big meeting and the technology fails, it can be very frustrating. And what are the most enjoyable aspects? I enjoy the networking opportunities that come with the job. I like attending PA events for various PA networks. With this job, you get to meet key personalities with high ranking stature and attend prestigious events. What piece of technology, or service, could you not live without? I would miss my mobile phone the most. I use it like a computer and it’s my main source of communication. If you weren’t a PA, what would you be? Growing up my dream was to be a TV broadcaster or journalist. When I had my first child I decided to do something more challenging and adventurous. An Army Soldier! Are you a member of the PA Life Club and/or any other PA groups? And if so, what are the benefits, in your opinion? Yes, I am member of PA Life, LCCI, Mayfair PA and the London PA Club. I enjoy the networking opportunities such as visiting venues, making new friends, building awareness and developing skills through training, and widening my understanding of different sector policies. Do you attend networking events? Yes, attending events are an opportunity to meet new people, learn from each other by sharing our experience and knowledge in order to develop new skills and techniques. How do you relax after a busy day in the office? I browse social media to catch up on news and other entertainments. I speak to family and friends then go to bed. What’s next? In the future when my eldest finishes high school, my aspiration is to do an overseas assignment in preferably USA or Canada. This issue’s PA Life Profile comes in association wtih Uber, which provided the luxury car featured in the photo shoot. Find out more at www.uber.com


11,12,13,14 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 4

23/07/2019 14:27


BE AT THE HEART OF THE ACTION WITH OUR TRACK CENTRE HOSPITALITY PACKAGES Winner of the BT Sport Industry Awards ‘Entertainment Experience of the Year’ Phynova Six Day London is back for its fifth edition, taking place Tuesday 22nd – Sunday 27th October 2019. The world’s best riders will hit the boards of the Lee Valley Velopark to take on the toughest test in track cycling. Spanning six days of gruelling competition, our elite riders will battle it out across a range of high speed and endurance disciplines, all set to a party atmosphere backdrop. At a Six Day event, we turn the lights down and the music up as our track centre DJ keeps the tunes spinning throughout the racing creating one the best atmosphere’s in sport Six Day Racing can be traced back to 1878, where the concept began as a wager between two gentlemen of London. When David Stanton rode 1000 miles in six days at Islington Agricultural Hall, winning £100 in the process, few would have guessed the journey Six Day

racing would go on. The Six Day phenomenon lived on into the 20th and 21st centuries, with Eddy Merckx, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins riding the roads in the summer and cutting their teeth at ‘Sixes’ across the continent during the winter months. Join us in the heart of this very special sporting arena as a track centre hospitality guest. With Olympians, World Champions and up-and-coming riders roaming the track centre area, our Inner Circle & Madison Bar packages not only offer a range of premium food and drink packages but allow you to spoil your guests with unprecedented access to riders and the best spots for race win presentations.

For more information and a copy of our hospitality brochure, please contact: Tom Evans | thomas.evans@sixday.com | 020 3598 8553


15 PA Life July/August Advertorial_v1.indd 1

23/07/2019 16:01


The word ‘stress’ isn’t just a buzzword - it has a dramatic and documented impact on our bodies. Hannah Harrington, Roomex

How to do business travel – without the stress If your Executive Assistant is stressed, the entire workforce suffers, writes Hannah Harrington, Marketing Executive at Roomex...

It’s pretty hard to argue that work, as we knew it 20 years ago, is different. Technology prompted workers to change their goals and what they value in their lives and their job. Let’s start with the negatives and work toward the solutions. 82 per cent of small business owners work over 40 hours per week, and 50 per cent work over 50. These long hours create stress and can eventually lead to negative outputs. Since many workers don’t have time to relax, exercise, develop hobbies, it’s difficult to lead a balanced life. The word ‘stress’ isn’t just a buzzword - it has dramatic and documented impacts on our bodies. When you’re stressed the body enters what is called ‘fight or flight’, meaning it releases hormones that cause your heart to race, breath shorten, and muscles prepare to act. This is an instinct that we all have for our protection. However, when this stress continues day on day, and week on week, your health begins to be put at serious risk. Let’s take the example of an EA, one of the most stressful and ever-changing jobs out

there. In our EA survey, 73 per cent of respondents said that they felt unappreciated. Unfortunately, these two findings are linked. If someone is feeling stressed, it often correlates with their happiness and feeling of appreciation. We also discovered that 72 per cent of personal assistants have become upset at work because of the stress of their job. And since a PA’s day to day workload is heavy, it’s difficult to build up processes. Business admin tasks come with the job - yet a lot of it is still done manually. This ends up creating more work and more stress for employees. However, the second wave of the technological revolution brought in a handful of tools to help create balance. We can’t solve all the problems associated with admin. However, we can free up one of the biggest workplace stressors - workforce travel. In fact, the majority of PA’s found that workforce travel was one of the most time consuming and stressful parts of their job. If you’re interested in finding out more about Roomex, you can request a demo today at: www.roomex.com/book-a-demo


16 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:03


Do you book venues for events? Tweet us @PALifeMag

Your venue really wants to create an amazing event for you, as they want you to come back! Jo Austin, Lime Venue Portfolio

How to source, book & negotiate a venue The dos, don’ts and maybes of finding the perfect venue for your upcoming event, according to Jo Austin, Sales Director at Lime Venue Portfolio – which has 30 years of experience in providing the perfect places

Let’s start with the basics: the first thing that will likely jump to mind, is setting the date and booking a venue. This is important but, despite the nature of our business, we’d advise on considering the objectives and content of your event first. It sounds strange, but every event has content, theme and message. This theme should dictate everything, including the date and the venue. If you’re organising a company conference that needs to be motivational, create energy and enthusiasm, your venue should reflect this. You could choose a football stadium like Bramall Lane, home of the newly promoted Sheffield United FC. If it’s a dinner for global heads, you could choose somewhere like the Churchill War Rooms. So, you’ve got your content, you’ve got an idea of venue but what about the date? We all know trying to co-ordinate multiple diaries can be a nightmare but try and avoid the clichés - ‘only do a Tuesday or Thursday’, ‘never in August’ - if the content is good, and the venue is enticing, you may get a better deal on the venue by being flexible.

In terms of venue selection, the biggest tip is to give your venue finder everything; what sort of a business, the people involved, how you work, what the culture is like. Around now, you’ll be refining your costs. Depending on the event, one of the larger budget lines will be food. This is right, and very important. Like a venue, food can underline messages, add excitement and drama to an occasion, and be a really fun and interactive part of the event. After that it’s about finding the right package for your price point, making sure you get the right value, the right support, and the right counsel. It’s not always about asking for a discount but asking what else this venue can give as added value? Finally, spend time going over the contract, cancellation periods, etc. Read carefully, take your time and don’t be afraid to question the venue about specifics. Then you can look forward to a collaborative partnership with your venue. The reality is they want to create an amazing event for you, as they want you to come back. Good venues will work with you as an extension of your team to support your vision.


17 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

23/07/2019 15:00


Choose a venue with a friendly, experienced events management team, who will take the stress away Plamena Stanchev, Thames Luxury Charters

How to create a Christmas party with a difference Just been given responsibilty for organising the office Christmas Party? Plamena Stanchev, Head of Sales at Thames Luxury Charters, shares her top tips...

It’s that time of year again when, despite the summer sun blazing, attentions are turning to the festive season. With that in mind, we are delighted to share our top tips for organising a truly memorable Christmas party - take note! Choose a standout unique venue It is always best to think outside of the box. Simply relying on the bar nearest to the office might be considered unimaginative, and may just be treated as an ordinary ‘after work drink’ by colleagues. If you’re taking to the capital for your party, consider a venue with a difference such as a luxury boat on the River Thames. The Thames Luxury Charters fleet, in particular, can accommodate any group size up to 600 people, and their stunning surroundings are certain to leave a lasting impression. Captivate your audience Hosting your event on land makes it all too easy for guests to come and go as they please. There’s no such concern with a truly

captivated audience aboard a floating venue. You can rest easy knowing that everyone will be in attendance all night long to fully enjoy the effort you’ve put in. Make it original Light up your event with beautiful finishing touches to make it more original than any other party you’ve hosted. This could include inspired food stalls, bespoke cocktails, show-stopping entertainment, and branded decorations. Let your imagination run wild throughout the planning process and we’re certain your guests will end up hoping the night never ends! Make sure it’s stress-free to arrange Christmas is always a super busy time of year. The last thing you need on your plate is the company party on top of your evergrowing to do list. To make your life easier, choose a venue with a friendly, experienced and trusted events management team who will take all the stress away. A quality event coordinator will assist you with ideas and delivery, meaning all you will need to do is simply enjoy the best Christmas party ever!


18 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:03

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

24/07/2019 18:47


The Green Office Continuing our series of features looking at the tasks and projects that PAs are tackling, Karen Crowley, PA to the Managing Partner at construction specialist Baily Garner, discusses creating a more environmentally-friendly workplace Unless you’ve been on a desert island in the middle of nowhere (which is where I would like to be…) you would have seen, or at least be aware of, the recent climate change protests and the Government’s new legislation regarding the environment. Working for a multi-disciplinary construction consultancy, to obtain professional accreditations, and to enable us to tender for work, it is more often than not a requirement to have an Environmental Management System in place under ISO14001. More than that, however, the Partners of the Practice wanted to use their influence to have a positive impact on the build environment. Baily Garner held this credential under the 2004 Standard for a number of years, but this unfortunately lapsed when we couldn’t make the most recent ISO 14001 standard changes before BSI’s 2018 deadline. So, back in September 2018 I was asked by our Board to re-obtain the ISO 14001 and put in place a 2015 compliant standard Environmental Management system for our three offices in Eltham, Birmingham and London City, covering over 170 staff. Although I am interested in the environment and feel strongly about single use plastics, I did not have any experience in putting together an Environmental Management System. Indeed, I actually didn’t have an idea where to start. So where did I start? To help me understand ISO 14001, I read the Standard to gain a better concept of what was needed for our accreditation, did a lot research via the internet and studied our previous Environmental Management system (which was now out of date). All this gave me a basic background of what was needed. I also reached out to a number of staff within

the office who I knew were interested in the environment and would be willing to input to help make our office, and the business, more sustainable. I then went on to set up a working group to help me put together the firm’s objectives and targets for creating a greener office environment. We are lucky enough to have an environmental department within the company who advise our clients on sustainability and I was able to recruit a member from that department to sit on the working group. My role overseeing facilities within the offices, (as well as being the PA for the Managing Partner) gave me a headstart on identifying some of our sustainability objectives. I have been able to ensure that a number of our suppliers, eg. stationery company, maintenance contractors, etc have their own

This has been a time consuming project, generated lots of paperwork, research and reading. But, I like to think that every green thing I can do is helping future generations.

sustainability policies in place and, where possible, we will now use recycled materials. One of the quick wins, is of course, recycling. We have had recycling for plastic, paper, cardboard and food waste within the office for a number of years and through research we have now managed to recycle crisp packets, which means that the staff can now recycle the whole of their lunch ‘meal deals’. However our sustainability objectives do not just relate to recycling. To enable us to meet other environmental targets within the office we have a number of objectives aimed at: - Reducing electricity consumption - Recording and reducing gas

consumption - Considering installing sensor lights in appropriate areas - Investigating dual flush systems - Ensuring all new cars added to the fleet will be *ULEZ or *CAZ Compliant - Reducing how much we print (*Ultra Low Emission Zone) (* Clean Air Zone) A lot of recently-built offices will obviously have the dual flush systems and sensor lights. However, being based in an older building, this is something that can be considered and put to the Board as part of our future objectives. The cost of implementing objectives is a big factor within any company and obviously there is a not a bottomless pot


20,21 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

23/07/2019 15:00


of money to enable all your objectives and wishes to be undertaken. I am, however, in a fortunate position of being responsible for facilities and having a budget I can use to help put in place the smaller objectives. For example, ensuring the cleaning company uses environmentally friendly products, ordering recycled paper and wherever possible, recycled office products.. We also have in place an environmental checklist as part of our client briefing process, that was previously inconsistently used by staff. This has provided an opportunity to update and refresh it to ensure we can do our bit to raise awareness by clients and third parties One of the biggest challenges we have found is trying to get the staff to recycle properly. This has been hard and we

have found education must accompany any changes implemented. We have, therefore, provided posters in the kitchens where much of our recycling is undertaken, communicated via notice boards and promoted email campaigns. Training is also provided to all new staff through their induction and regular environmental updates briefed at our Practice Briefings which we hold every couple of months. We will also be running some new campaigns over the course of the next year to make the staff more aware of the environment and to help to make the office greener. During this project I have learnt a lot. I have become more aware of the environment around me, even managing to dispense with single use plastics from my own bathroom. I am more aware of Government legislation, now taking the

time to recycle at home and I’ve learnt that you are never too old to learn and implement something new. For any PA who intends to plan a green project, my advice is to research as much as possible and talk to members of your own staff who have an interest in the subject. Different people have different ideas and, without the help from my colleagues, I would never have been able to implement the changes on my own. This has been a time consuming project, generated lots of paperwork (whoops!), research and reading, and to keep the system updated will require continued efforts from all those involved. However, I would like think that every ‘green’ thing I can do now, no matter how small will, in some way, be helping future generations.


20,21 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 2

23/07/2019 15:00


Your future is our business • Award-winning spaces • Impressive technology • Award-winning food • Excellent transport links • Variety of meeting and seminar rooms • Ideal for teambuilding and summer events • City and rural locations

Contact us today: Email conference@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Telephone 01865 288846

Effortless hospitality. A world-class experience. No Ordinary Opera. Extraordinary performances in our award-winning opera house, all wrapped in the exceptional Glyndebourne style: picnicking (or fine dining), dressing-up and precious time with stakeholders, building relationships that last long after the curtain comes down.

glyndebourne.com/palife Halfs template PA Life July/August.indd 3

26/07/2019 13:25


Site tests

Ever booked a venue and then thought: “I should’ve gone to Specsavers”? Well, we’re here to ensure your vision is 20:20 when it comes to choosing the best


LOST IN BRIXTON A brand-new hidden space is opening in Brixton Village this August. Introducing Lost in Brixton, a concrete jungle with drinks, food from the market, and happy times - expect to find music, local draft beer, a Latin American inspired cocktail menu, a retractable roof and a service that will bring food from the market itself into the venue. Lost in Brixton will have a capacity for 440 and will be a first for the market. Guests will access the space by making their way through Brixton Village to the newly-developed site in a hidden corner of the market, where a secret staircase will lead guests up to the airy space above.

Against a sweep of Brixton’s classic brick railway arches, natural materials and jungle greenery will fill the light-flooded space, with a retractable roof ready for long summer evenings. The design, inspired by travel and discovery will create a place for people to gather, relax and get away. Lost in Brixton will be breaking from the typical market dining format. Using the new Tablesnapper app, guests will be able order from the traders within Brixton Village and Market Row and runners will deliver it, allowing guests to sample the tasty and exotic range of cuisines available without having to leave the comfort of Lost in Brixton. To celebrate the launch, Lost in Brixton will be offering a free cocktail reception for anyone booking the venue by September 1st. www.lostinbrixton.com

<<< INDIAN ACCENT Deliciously unique dishes, stunning interiors, and a selection of over 100 rare whiskies, wines and cocktails – Indian Accent offers elevated drinking and dining in the heart of London’s Mayfair. The award-winning restaurant is available for full private hire, and also boasts a luxurious private dining space for up to 30 seated guests, making it the perfect choice for intimate gatherings through to larger events. Offering a range of menus, from canapés and sharing plates to sit-down dinners, the team at Indian Accent will work with you to create a bespoke event sure to impress any guest. www.indianaccent.com/london


23 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 16:16



>>> EMIRATES OLD TRAFFORD Emirates Old Trafford is an awardwinning venue at the home of Lancashire Cricket. Situated just three miles outside the city centre, it is ideally located for your next event. Here’s an opportunity to take advantage of the venue’s fantastic offers, where you can book for just £35* per delegate or, get 50 per cent off the published room rate for all room hire in the award-winning Pavilion when you book and hold your event before August 31st. To book or for further information, contact the events team on 0161 282 4020 or email events@lancashirecricket. co.uk, quoting SBBQ18 for the Summer Sizzler offer or quote Pavilion5019 for the room hire halved. * T&C’s apply and subject to availability. Speak to the team for lower number packages and availability.


CONFERENCE OXFORD Why not hold your next event in Oxford, home to one of the world’s most celebrated universities, better known as ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’. With its rich history and academic prestige, not to mention excellent transport links, Oxford is unsurprisingly a popular destination for conferences and events. With over 68 stunning venues to choose from, colleges, museums and iconic buildings of the University, Conference Oxford will help you find the perfect venue for whatever event you wish to organise. Celebrating its 25th birthday, Conference Oxford is proud to represent so many great venues and the friendly team is looking forward to hearing from you. Contact Marie O’Connor, Head of Conference Oxford on marie.oconnor@conference-oxford.ox. ac.uk

ASCOT RACECOURSE Beyond its legendary raceday fine dining hospitality, Ascot Racecourse also works with businesses and private clients to create successful and memorable non-raceday events, all delivered with Ascot’s sense of occasion and exemplary service. Parties & Social Events: With its elegant lawns and luxury hospitality spaces, Ascot is often at its finest during the summer months – ideal for hosting relaxed drinks receptions, joyful summer parties and delicious alfresco feasts. As autumn arrives, an impressive array of restaurants and private boxes come into their own, providing a myriad of options for every occasion, from exclusive private dining to black tie banquets, – and culminating in superb Christmas Parties to round off the year. Other events on offer include Business Meetings, Company Away Days & Team Building, Product Launches, Conferences and Exhibitions. Contact the Conferences & Events team on 0344 346 3611 or email conferenceandevents@ascot.co.uk.


24 PA Life July_August_v4.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:01


SEASONAL MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE FROM JUST £1,650 +VAT per person A Seasonal Membership is the only way to guarantee your VIP Club London seat so you can be there for all 19 Premier League home fixtures. Our members also receive a host of other benefits. Find out more at whufc.com. Limited packages are also available on a match by match basis, starting from just £300 +VAT

To find out more or to book a tour of our lounges, please call 0303 031 1968 whufc.com/hospitality

Untitled-1 1

29/07/2019 16:54



>>> HAWKER HOUSE Hawker House is Street Feast’s Canada Water year-round mega warehouse. A versatile event space, it can fit up to 2,000 people in winter and up to 3,000 in the summer months when the outside area – Land of Bamboo, a tropical tiki paradise – is open. The venue is split across two rooms, meaning one side can be hired for smaller groups of 200, or wholevenue takeovers for larger groups. Street Feast can cater for conferences up to 550 theatre style in unique surroundings, with an additional further four break-out rooms. The warehouse space has 10 bars, 15 street food traders and loads of extra room for you to play around with, including optional pool and beer pong tables. Hawker House is a short walk away from Canada Water Overground and Underground Station, and is only a short distance from London Bridge, Borough and Canary Wharf. https://www.streetfeast.com/market/ hawker-house


GLASSROOM Experience the best of the capital with a sunset sail and enjoy 20 per cent off all Superior, Premier and Signature dinner cruises from Monday to Friday from £63.20 per person. Alternatively, book the ‘deluxe’ package at £59 and toast an evening on the Thames with a complimentary glass of pink bubbles. With a sparkling new rosé menu and blushing wines from Provence and beyond, guests will be spoilt for sundowners. Packages include Deluxe Dinner Sail (£59pp inclusive of glass of rosé fizz), Superior Dinner Sail (£79pp - £63.20 with discount), Premier Dinner Sail (£109pp £87.20 with discount), Signature Dinner Sail (£149pp - £119.20 with discount). To book your experience visit https://www. bateauxlondon.com/restaurants/glassroom and use the code SMART20. Offer is valid for dinner mid-week sailings until August 31, 2019.

DE VERE WOKEFIELD De Vere Wokefield Estate, near Reading, is celebrating the summer with the launch of its BBQ bolt-on option for corporate bookings. Delegates can now enjoy a BBQ alfresco in the hotel’s stunning grounds following their meeting, conference or team-building activity. The property’s 250 acres are perfect for team-building and break-out sessions, with a 15-acre high-rope assault course onsite which includes 40ft climbing towers and a zipwire, plus an 18-hole, 72 par Championship golf course The BBQ bolt-on option is priced at an additional charge of £21.95 per person excluding VAT and includes, a glass of Pimms/ beer/wine and a menu choice of classic beef burgers, hot hounds with beer and mustard-fried onions, chicken thighs with honey and ginger glaze, oven-roasted sea trout, and grilled halloumi and courgette skewers along with a selection of summer salads. For more information and to book please quote BBQBOLT* Visit https://www.devere.co.uk/wokefield-estate/meetings-events/ or call 0118 911 5915 to book


26 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

26/07/2019 10:15

S UMM E R PA RT I ES & EVENTS You couldn’t wish for a finer setting than the iconic surrounds of one of the world’s best-loved racecourses. With its elegant lawns, terraces and luxury marquees, Ascot is at its finest during the summer months and, as such, an ideal venue for hosting receptions, summer balls and alfresco dining. An impressive array of restaurants, Private Boxes and hospitality spaces provide a myriad of options for every occasion, from informal barbecues and exclusive Private Dining to black tie banquets.

From £65 + VAT pp To discuss your requirements or to view any of our facilities, please call 0344 346 3611 or email conferenceandevents@ascot.co.uk

Quote PALIFE when booking to receive two complimentary tickets to an Ascot Raceday* *Offer includes two Queen Anne Enclosure tickets for any Ascot Raceday in 2019, excluding QIPCO British Champions Day. Complimentary tickets issued upon payment. Subject to availability.

020 7594 9494 | imperialvenues.co.uk

Home to 100 flexible event spaces in South Kensington, Imperial is the perfect choice for all your event needs in one central London location. ■

Suitable for parties, private dining, meetings, conferences and more

Full event management service available

In-house catering with breakout areas

State-of-the-art AV

Halfs template PA Life July/August.indd 3

23/07/2019 14:01

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

19/07/2019 16:20


>>> CHURCH HOUSE WESTMINSTER Next to Westminster and in tranquil Dean’s Yard, this Grade-II listed multi-purpose events venue was used by Parliament during the Second World War. Today, it offers 19 versatile event spaces that combine traditional oak panelling, raw stone and feature windows with modern event technology, including a 4K projection system. An in-house event coordinator team arranges over 800 events a year, ranging from award ceremonies to multi-day conferences and Christmas parties. The largest event space is the dome-shaped Assembly Hall that can accommodate up to 600 and features a striking 30-foot glass ceiling dome.




Based at the home of ROKiT Williams Racing, the Williams Conference Centre is set in rural Oxfordshire and offers a unique setting for functions, events and team away days. With 10 multi-purpose event rooms catering for up to 350 guests, the venue offers full support in event planning and execution with in-house AV facilities, dedicated event managers and five-star catering and service. During your day, experience a wide range of Formula 1-themed activities that can be used for team building and hospitality days, including simulators, pit-stop challenge, supersized Scalextric, BATAK & access to the Williams Museum with over 40 iconic racing cars. https://www.williamsf1.com/conference-centre <<<

SOLENT FORTS Spitbank Fort is an ‘exclusive use’ venue. Your own private island for birthdays, celebrations, hen and stag parties and, of coures, corporate ‘away days’. Event space includes four function rooms, rooftop hot pool, sauna and fire pit, wine cellar, games room and champagne bar. Spitbank Fort offers nine luxurious bedroom suites (up to 18 overnight guests) with capacity for up to additional 42 day or evening guests. No Man’s Fort: Three times the size of Spitbank Fort, No Man’s Fort offers an alternative venue space. With laser battle, fishing off the Fort, spa treatments and rooftop hot tubs, there is something for everyone to do and enjoy. Four function rooms with a capacity of up to 150 day guests. There are 23 stylish bedroom suites for up to 46 overnight guests. Other facilities include snooker and pool tables, hot house and fire pit. www.solentforts.com


29 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:01

Let the Jingle Bell Rock at Wyboston Lakes Resort

Time to start planning the biggest event of the year! We have a great selection of party nights to suit parties of all sizes and needs..

Woodland Party Nights Holly Jolly Disco Nights Winter Wonderland Nights From £39.95 per person 0333 7007 667 www.wybostonlakes.co.uk christmas@wybostonlakes.co.uk All parties are for over 18’s only. Terms and conditions apply. See website for more details

Wyboston Lakes Resort, Great North Road, Wyboston, Bedfordshire, MK44 3AL

Reduce your travel spend by 21% At Roomex we are making workforce travel easier through our free platform. You can easily compare, book, manage and pay for all your business hotel bookings in one place and receive one monthly invoice. Save time & money Choose from the largest selection of hotels Increase compliance of your traveling workforce Consolidate all bookings into one invoice that matches company cost codes To help you get going, if you start booking your hotels through our platform now you can save a further £1,000 on your next month's bookings.

Book a demo now. Email tryus@roomex.com or go to www.roomex.com/book-a-demo

Halfs template PA Life July/August.indd 3

23/07/2019 14:03





VenueScanner is the UK’s largest venue booking platform with 21,000 venues listed. Its mission is to save you time and money. The simple platform allows you to search, shortlist, enquire and book with the most unique and affordable venues the UK has to offer. It doesn’t charge fees and has a

lowest price guarantee. Once you book your venue, to say thank you they send you reward vouchers for the likes of John Lewis, Bloom & Wild and ASOS. For more info on how VenueScanner can help you plan your next event, get in touch with Steph on stephanie@venuescanner.com.


Travelodge is the ideal choice; whether you’re a large business or a small company, by offering you a great way to manage your expenditure and make savings. With over 560 hotels and 42,000 bedrooms, right across the UK, you’ll find its hotels in the centre of major cities, in most of Britain’s larger towns, as well as vital roadside stops. More than 190 of its hotels have on-site Bar Cafés and almost all are located close to other restaurants, making Travelodge the ideal base for travel. The chain continues to expand, with 20 new hotels opening in 2019. www.travelodge.co.uk


KAREN HARDY DANCE STUDIOS Karen Hardy Dance Studios was established in 2008 by former world Latin American champion and winning Strictly pro Karen Hardy. For the last 10 years, as London’s only private members dance studio, KHDS has brought the ultimate in luxury and glamour to the experience of learning to dance. There is a plethora of bespoke corporate packages available, from ice-breaking boardroom to ballroom workshops, to Christmas Parties hosted exclusively for clients. The ‘At Home’ service means KHDS can even visit your home or office. To give your team an experience they’ll never forget, contact the studio on 0207 731 7316.


31 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:01

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

12/07/2019 17:19



>>> IMPERIAL VENUES Imperial Venues, at Imperial College London, offers more than 100 flexible event spaces in South Kensington. From a Grade II listed townhouse with private courtyard garden, to modern meeting rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres, there is something to suit all events and budgets. Event organisers can also take advantage of Imperial’s professional event management services, including in-house catering, superb audio-visual equipment, full event management and on-site accommodation during the summer. With such an array of venues in a superb and engaging central London location, Imperial is suitable for a range of events including meetings, conferences, symposiums, private dining, drinks receptions and more. To find out more, contact the team on 020 7594 9494 or venues@imperial.ac.uk.


TOWER OF LONDON At the Tower of London, breath-taking architecture and a thousand years of history combine to truly jaw-dropping effect on all those who visit. Home to the world-famous Crown Jewels, this ancient fortress and World Heritage site boasts several unique event spaces suitable for corporate events, from largescale conferences, banquets and grand receptions, to intimate dinners, wine tastings, corporate ‘away days’ and so much more. For the extra wow factor, why not treat your guests to a private view of the world-famous Crown Jewels, a special Yeoman Warder tour or allow them to stand witness to the ancient Ceremony of the Keys. Visit: hrp.org.uk/hire Call: 020 3166 6226

WYBOSTON LAKES RESORT Ice sculptures and water features are among the glittering Christmas party ideas from Wyboston Lakes Resort. The Woodland Party Nights at the newly transformed Woodlands Events Centre features a gourmet three-course dinner with live music and dancing. The Holly Jolly Disco Nights at The Willows start with drinks, then a carvery style dinner before a set by the resident DJ into the night. The glitzy Winter Wonderland Nights have breath-taking views of the surrounding lakes at the Waterfront Hotel. After a sumptuous three-course dinner with wine, the magical evening continues with dancing to the DJ’s party tunes. For larger Christmas parties, the Winter Wonderland marquee at The Waterfront Hotel can accommodate up to 380 revellers. Prices start from £39.95. For more information, please visit https://www. wybostonlakes.co.uk/hotel-accommodation/ christmas-new-year.aspx


33 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 14:32


How flexible are you…? ... Or, more relevantly, how flexible is your employer? Study after study is revealing that companies which offer flexible working conditions have happier staff, fewer absences and are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Lisa Carter reports Flexible working is no longer seen as a perk, with employees now actively seeking places that allow them to better juggle the work/life balance. Events specialist Wildgoose recently published the findings of its Flexible Working survey which revealed changing attitudes to employment. The results showed that in organisations where flexible working isn’t allowed, almost 15 per cent of employees are seriously considering moving to a more flexible organisation, with another 42 per cent likely to have their heads turned should a more flexible role come along. These statistics present a real danger for companies who fail to catch on, as they could find themselves struggling to attract and retain top talent who seek a more flexible working style. Other significant survey findings highlight the positive impact flexible working can have on mental health, with 39 per cent of employees seeing a marked improvement in their mental health since starting a more flexible work routine. A further 43 per cent of UK employees (who currently don’t have the option to work flexibly) feel that in doing so, they would be able to better manage their mental health. These figures not only demonstrate compelling wellbeing benefits, but also business benefits as companies who adopt flexible working will likely see a

WHAT ARE THE RULES? AXA PPP Healthcare recently produced a guide called ‘What are the rules on flexible working?’, following the introduction of new legislation. Here are some highlights… The rules Previously only parents of children under 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) or carers for dependant adults had the right to request flexible working arrangements from their employers. With the new legislation the same entitlement now applies to all employees, providing they have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks.

drop in workplace absence. “The results from our survey highlight the real benefits that adopting flexible working can offer to both employees and employers,” says Wildgoose founder and MD Jonny Edser. “At Wildgoose, we understand that everyone has a life outside of work that doesn’t always fit around the typical 9-5. Trusting your employees to work at times that suit them is fundamental to maintaining productivity

only three per cent of respondents claiming that flexible working does not benefit them in any way. “Flexibility in the workplace is vital when it comes to attracting and retaining talent,” agrees Cal Lee, head of Workthere. “There has historically been a common misconception in the office that working longer hours means you get more done and you are more dedicated. However, it is important to

Research shows that in organisations where flexible working isn’t allowed, almost 15 per cent of employees are seriously considering moving to a more flexible employer.

and employee wellbeing. If companies value the contribution their staff bring to the table, then giving them the freedom to flex their working hours is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping them.” Meanwhile, according to further research from office consultants Workthere, the ideal working week for UK-based office workers is 32 hours, six hours shorter than the current average 38-hour week, with the most favoured days being Monday to Thursday. In a survey of over 2,000 UK office workers, the serviced office specialist found that having access to flexible working hours is hugely important - with

However, it’s important to be aware that, just as before for parents and carers, the new legislation only enables employees to make a request. It does not require employers to grant it, though they must have a sound business reason for rejecting a request. Are there any potential disadvantages for the health and wellbeing of workers? Managers need to be mindful that flexible working could mean their staff do not stop working. Removing the need to physically leave the workplace at the end of the day/shift can tempt workers into working overtime, which managers may not be aware of when their staff

note that working longer hours does not always lead to higher output and could have the opposite effect for productivity. The fact that the ideal working week is six hours shorter than the current average working week is a key indicator that, whilst work is still an essential factor, the needs and preferences of the UK office workforce are changing. “It is very interesting to note from our responses that, whilst having an office is still very important to the younger generation, the ability to work flexibly and spend more time working remotely is also an option that they want to benefit from.”

are working remotely. Flexible working may also increase ‘presenteeism’ (working when unwell but not at full capacity), with employees who are working from home carrying on working when they could, reasonably, have taken a day’s sick leave. There is also a possibility that workers based remotely may feel more isolated in general and may communicate less with their managers. As a consequence managers may be less able to identify potential issues developing with employees’ health, such as mental illness. This can be more challenging for managers who might already struggle with addressing issues of wellbeing with other members of their team.


34,35 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

23/07/2019 14:26

THE PA’S VIEW Julie Astbury-Crimes Legal PA, Employment Department, Business Advisory Division, Shoosmiths “We are agile in the work place (most of us have laptops) so we are not at fixed desks; can visit other offices quite easily as well as work from home if work load permits. I personally have worked flexibly for many years. In my previous employment I have worked both part time (before children) and as part of a job share once I started a family. Since working at Shoosmiths I have worked part time, school hours and now I have gone full circle and I work full time again. Having the benefit of being able to work from home occasionally has really helped me now I work full time again. In terms of benefits: I think that it shows trust in the employee, which in turn makes the employee go the extra mile. I certainly feel I have a better work life balance and more job satisfaction with this option • It gives greater personal flexibility, especially for me in relation to the rising costs of childcare and afterschool clubs so I can meet personal, family and financial needs – working around and to fit in with nursery /school opening hours. • Over a week it can reduce the amount spent on travel and commuting • Employees working different start/ end times can give greater coverage to a business • It helps improve our employer brand; two of our Partners who job share were recognised in the Timewise Power 50. In my circumstances, being allowed to work school hours meant that I did not incur pre/after school club fees which lessened the salary gap between working flexibility and full time. Working a four day week reduced the cost of school clubs in the school holidays but on a personal note I felt that I had a good balance between being a mum, contributing to the family finances and career fulfilment Kelly Ann Pignatelli EA to Chief Executive & Head of Business Operations, Trustee Executive “Other than the main benefits of childcare / personal appointments – I find that being able to work remotely allows me space and thinking time for some of my key projects and initiatives. My main disadvantage is not being able to see when my team mates / direct reports are online and available to chat if I have a question, whereas in the office you can just pop along to someone’s desk. We actually use a system called Jabber that syncs with the diary and allows us to see when people are available / busy etc if working remotely. Another disadvantage is that of distraction (as well as any health and safety issues) if you do not have your ‘own’ desk / chair in the office. This caused quite a bit disgruntlement when rolling out remote working in my previous company.”

34,35 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 2

23/07/2019 14:26

DPS template PA Life July/August.indd 1

22/07/2019 17:50

DPS template PA Life July/August.indd 2

22/07/2019 17:50


Down Hall Hotel & Spa, Hatfield Heath, Essex This hidden gem on the Hertfordshire/Essex borders is an impressive - and versatile - venue for a variety of corporate and leisure options, as Lisa Carter reports

There is no doubt that Down Hall is steeped in history. Situated on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, it’s one of England’s longest-established country hotels. The stately home itself dates back to 1540, before which it was the site of a monastery which was founded in 1322. More recently, it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during World War One, and, from 1932 to 1967, it became Downham School, a girls’ school whose alumni included Frances Shand-Kydd, the mother of Diana, Princess of Wales. The hotel opened its doors in 1986 and has since provided guests with a taste of Italian grandeur, whether they are visiting for business or leisure. Despite its rural location, Down Hall is located just half an hour from Stansted Airport, is close to the M11 and just 45 minutes on the train from central London – so it’s ideally suited for business guests coming from anywhere in the UK, or from overseas. The drive up to the entrance of the building provides more than a glimpse into the environment. A sweeping drive

takes guests to a small and friendly reception area where the staff were super-attentive. Our room was located in the main building, just up one plush flight of stairs decorated with chandeliers. Each of the hotel’s 98 bedrooms has been individually designed to reflect the mix of style, elegance and history that give the Hall its unique character. The Classic and

welcoming and cosy, with the cocktail and gin menus offering aperitifs for all. The spa is located next to the main building and offers a great retreat for guests to unwind. The wet spa is available for guests to attend for £20 for two hours. Elemis treatments are also available to book and my ‘Plus One’ and I enjoyed relaxing massages and facials. Revitalised, we changed and headed

Whether you’re looking at team-building fun in the open air, a conference or awards event, private dining or an overnight stay for an exec flying into Stansted, Down Hall ticks the boxes.

Executive bedrooms are spacious and comfortable. The Feature Rooms have two- or four-poster beds and offer views of the magnificent landscaped gardens through huge windows, fashionable in both Georgian design and the Italian style emulated by the architect, James Gibbs, when he remodelled the house in 1720. The lounge and bar areas are

for dinner in the Grill Room, which boasts a seasonally changing menu. It’s worth noting that Down Hall also caters for private and fine dining events, big and small, in its 18 suites. Traditional English afternoon tea can also be taken in the Lounge or Ibbetson’s Tea Lounge, while during summer months the hotel can also prepare a picnic to be taken in its stunning grounds.


38,39 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

26/07/2019 11:07


And talking of the grounds, there’s plenty to explore. 110 acres, to be precise, where a variety of activities can be booked, including laser clays, Segway challenges, 4x4 driving experiences, archery and more. As standard, tennis courts are available for guests, while a giant chess set and croquet lawn offer entertainment inbetween any other activities. In terms of event spaces, Down Hall has benefited from a multi million pound refurbishment programme recently and boasts 14 private dining and meeting

spaces in total, ranging from intimate boardroom to larger function space for up to 200 guests. Each of the four private rooms within the Mansion House offer guests high ceilings and plenty of natural light. Modern audio visual equipment, comfortable seating and executive boardroom options combine with original characteristics such as open fireplaces and decorative Edwardian style doorways to create unique spaces for a variety of events. In addition, there are a further 10

private rooms within the West Wing, including the Bridgeman/Selwin Suite, a ballroom that can cater for 180 in a banqueting setup or 200 people theatre style. The Oxford Belcamp and Copley Beners rooms can cater for 60 banqueting and are decorated in a traditional style. Whether you’re looking at a teambuilding event in the open air, a conference or awards event, a private dining venue or an overnight stay for execs flying in to Stansted, Down Hall ticks the boxes.

Contact: 01279 731441 l downhall.co.uk Good for: Business meetings l Conferences/Awards l Team-building


38,39 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 2

26/07/2019 11:07


Are you a Star? Are you a PA or EA Star? Or do you know of someone deserving of the moniker? Enter the PA Life Star Awards today! It’s free to enter and we’ll be naming winners later this year Introducing the PA Life Star Awards. We’re looking for the top PAs, EAs and Corporate Bookers across the UK who represent the crème de la crème in their particular industries. We also have some special awards – and we’re also honouring the suppliers who help PAs, EAs and Corporate Bookers do their jobs on a daily basis. These awards are ‘virtual’, and they are free to enter. We’ve also made the entry process super simple to navigate, whilst judging will be completely transparent. Read on to find out how you can become a PA Life Star!

THE CATEGORIES PA Award Categories We are inviting nominations for the following awards… O Construction PA Star O Financial Services & Banking PA Star O Government & Political Institutions PA Star O Healthcare PA Star O Insurance PA Star O Law PA Star O Luxury Goods, Fashion & Beauty PA Star O Oil & Gas PA Star O Retail, Distribution & Manufacturing PA Star O Technology/IT PA Star

In addition, we have a number of special awards, namely… O Rising Star – A PA, EA or Corporate Booker who has under two years of experience working as an Assistant O Virtual Assistant Star – As it suggests, an award for a VA working in any field O PA Life Club PA of the Year – Awarded to the Club member who has demonstrated a particularly successful year

SUPPLIER CATEGORIES We are inviting nominations in the following categories… O Travel Management Star O Chauffeur Service Star O Corporate Gifting Star O Corporate Hospitality Star O Entertainment Star O Restaurant Star O Team Building Star O Training & Education Star O Conference Venue Star O Hidden/ Unique Venue Star


40,41,42 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

25/07/2019 15:59


IMPORTANT DATES Nominations open: Now! Nominations close: September 12th Finalists announced: September 30th Winners announced: December 2nd


40,41,42 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 2

25/07/2019 15:59



PAs, EAs, Corporate Bookers and Suppliers can nominate themselves (or a third party) by simply emailing with the following information:• Up to 500 words on why they deserve to be considered for an award. • Up to 3 testimonials. • Any supporting information they wish to submit. • A headshot (PAs) or logo (suppliers). Email awards@palife.co.uk Closing date for nominations is September 12th.


JUDGING The PA Life team will create shortlists for each category. These will then be judged by a panel made up of PA Life Club members who will choose the ultimate winners. Judges will not be allowed to vote on categories they – or a colleague – are shortlisted for.

IMPORTANT CONTACTS Nominations should be submitted to awards@palife.co.uk Any questions about the awards process should be directed to Lisa Carter via editorial@palife.co.uk For enquiries about partnerships, contact Charlotte.Russell@palife.co.uk


40,41,42 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 3

25/07/2019 15:59

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

23/07/2019 14:51

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

12/07/2019 17:14


Searcys has cleverly dialled into the local and international business community, following a total refurbishment of the site in 2018.

When working tastes delicious Looking for an upmarket restaurant location for meetings in London, with great transport links and somewhere to plug in your laptop? The St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar by Searcys could be your answer, as Stuart O’Brien discovered Anyone familiar with the Kings Cross area in London will know just how much it has changed in the last five years – gone are the dreary industrial units and grotty retail outlets, in are offices occupied by blue chip multi-nationals and an upmarket social scene with bars and restaurants dominating the area. And, of course, there’s the glorious gothic edifice that is St. Pancras station, with its intercontinental tenant, Eurostar, in part responsible for the rapid gentrification on the area. It’s within the station’s historic walls that we find St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar by Searcys, nestled next to the Eurostar platforms on the 1st floor. As you would expect, there’s a significant travelling and transient contingent among its clientele, identified by the suitcases dotted around its indoor and outdoor areas.

But Searcys has also cleverly dialled in to the local and international business community following a total refurbishment of the site in 2018, turning a third of its dining space into workspace tables, with sockets and wifi, intended to provide a perfect location and London base for commuters to meet and work. For business groups up to 12, there’s also a bright and easily accessible private dining meeting space, with a dedicated menu of breakfast and lunch options, screens, notepads and flip charts. And the move has had a tangible positive impact, creating a 20 per cent increase in guests to the restaurant, all using the space for meetings, as well as solo working, resulting in a 32 per cent increase in revenue year-on-year. When PA Life visited, we got into the spirit of things by having an actual meeting, complete with laptops covering our designated bench and stool-style communal table. What’s instantly noticeable, beyond the quick wi-fi, table-integrated USB ports and plug

sockets, is that serious thought has gone into making the décor suitable for group discussion – despite the understated glamour, the space is airy and free of the deafening echo so often present in many bars and restaurants. And it’s obvious that plenty of others agree – while we visited, there were at least six other meetings taking place in the ‘workspaces’ area. But on to the important bit – the food and drink. Our excellent waiter presented a choice of an a la carte or a set lunchtime menu. We chose the twocourse option from the latter for our party of two, coming in at £24 per head with a glass of sparkling wine. The service was extremely attentive, the gaps between courses were just right (many diners will have a fixed slot for a meeting or a train to catch, so that’s important), the food perfectly presented and great tasting. We were so impressed, we resolved to use it for our own London meetings. www.stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk


45 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

26/07/2019 11:07

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

19/07/2019 16:21

It’s the PA Life Club’s 6th birthday. To celebrate, get 30% off membership by using the code CLUB30

Avoid FOMO! Join the PA Life Club today! Proudly sponsored by


47 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

26/07/2019 11:06


PA Life Club Members enjoyed a great Meet Up networking event at Gilwell Park, world famous home to the Scout movement. It’s a truly unique venue for both corporate events and private special occasions. Located deep in Epping Forest and dating back to 1754, it’s the ultimate London rural retreat, combining stunning Georgian elegance with a real sense of escape. The Gilwell Park team organised a pizza-making session, where our PAs learned to knead dough and add their own toppings, before they embarked on a tour in groups, enjoyed team -building exercises outside in the sun and finished the day with some more drinks and networking.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB In this issue we’d like to welcome Alicia Fairclough (South Square), Cara Gaffney (Office Space In Town), Debra Nightingale (All Bright Creative Solutions), Dee Ginty (Mace), Hannah Brown (Global Radio), Jennifer Kelly (House of Commons), Louise Cannon (Samsung), Michele Goering (The Grand Brighton), Michele Tyler (Hasbro Studios), Naomi Gilbert (Tag Group), Nicola Simpson (CFA Institute), Rebecca Eccles (Funeralzone), Samantha Tanner (Proxima), Shagufta Butt (London & Cambridge Properties) and Victoria Jearum (Snapchat).

… D E S S I M U O WHAT Y for pizza and the Scout movement of e m ho e th d ite vis ames… ub members Last month PA Life Cl on the banks of the Th g kin or tw ne d an ks in joyed dr team-building, and en

Glaziers Hall is one of the most individual and exciting venues in London, located on the banks of the River Thames in the vibrant London Bridge/South Bank area, with spectacular views across the river towards the City of London. PA Life Club members were treated to a full tour of the venue, plus canapes, cocktails and an introduction to the world of flower arranging!


48,49 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 1

26/07/2019 11:09




Enjoy a night at the movies with ODEON Luxe

Don’t forget to RSVP for an exclusive Meet Up networking event for PA Life Club Members at the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square on the evening of Wednesday September 4th - the newly refurbished venue will offer the ultimate cinema experience. www.palifeclub.co.uk

Join us for dinner... We’re hosting an exclusive Meet Up networking dinner event for PA Life Club members at the Lincoln Plaza London hotel on the evening of Wednesday October 2nd, . We only have 10 places available, so register today to avoid disappointment - we only have one or two places left! www.palifeclub.co.uk

FIVE THINGS TO DO Networking, learning and things to keep in mind

Event Organisers Summit


This highly focused event aims to bring together senior event professionals and the suppliers who service them across two days at a central, London location. Guests will get the chance to take part in a series of tailored meetings held in a face-to-face format. Register today at: www.eventorganiserssummit.co.uk

To 5 Back Schoo l

2. Venues + Events Live Venues + Events Live returns this autumn (September 18th-19th, Old Billingsgate) and launches in Manchester (September 24th, Manchester Central) with more show features and exhibitors than ever before. Register for your free ticket now: www.venuesandevents.co.uk

Remember, soon it will be September, which means if you’re a parent you’ll be able to stop juggling childcare and coughing up for expensive days out. And if you’re not a parent, you can go on late-summer holidays for half the price and without the distraction of loads of kids running around. Either way, make sure you enjoy it!

JOIN THE INDUSTRY’S MOST VIBRANT CLUB FOR PAS AND EAS VISIT: palife.co.uk/pa-life-club 48,49 PA Life July_August_v3.indd 2

26/07/2019 11:09


PAs should value themselves more as there can still be a perception of invisibility (“I am just a PA...”)

Work & life

Natalie Richardson is a senior PA within the HR department at the London South Bank University. She talks to us about her career to date, the challenges of her role and what being a member of the PA Life Club brings her What inspired you to start a career as a PA/Assistant? When I left School in 1996, I worked as a Solicitor’s Receptionist and found I liked the administration work. Progressing over the years from Receptionist to Secretary, to PA and Board Level PA in various industries, I enjoyed helping others as I am organised, good at arranging events and like to make other people’s lives easier. Plus, I am a social butterfly - which helps when you need to talk to many different colleagues during the working day. How did you get to your current job? Having been a PA for 20 years, I worked locally as an Exams Officer in Southendon-Sea where I live, and wanted to return to working in London. I was already in the education environment and wanted to stay in the industry but return to PA work, so I looked for those types of roles. I also had an interest in HR and I currently work for the HR Directorate at a great London University, therefore this role seemed like the perfect fit. I have been there for 14 months now and really enjoy it.

What’s the best thing about your job? I have three areas that I like best: As well as maintaining the complexity of two very busy diaries, I like the variety of my role – one day I can be taking meeting minutes and the next day arranging events. Working in the HR department, no two days are the same. I get to interact with different people and my colleagues at the University are also very pleasant and friendly so it makes the working day that much nicer. Being a member of the PA Life Club, I enjoy attending all the events and networking with other PAs. I was nominated for ‘PA of the Year 2018’ at the PA Life Christmas Party last year and was extremely happy to win, thanks to all my colleagues at LSBU and other PAs in the PA Life Club. And the most challenging? At times when you are supporting a diverse range of activities with varying personalities, it can be a challenge as each person has their own opinion on how to do things. You also need to remain resilient during change and attending confidential

meetings to take notes can sometimes be an emotional experience. It can be difficult to listen to some of the content and remain neutral/objective. What does the PA/EA community need to change, in your opinion? PAs should be appreciated more and value themselves as an integral part of the team, as there can sometimes still be a perception of invisibility when it comes to recognition and reward, flexibility, etc (thinking “I am just a PA”). There could be more development opportunities for PAs, to encourage the community to broaden their skills and offer more contribution. What five websites/apps are invaluable to your job? For hints and tips on fresh ways of working - obviously PA Life! I also use: Lynda.com/LinkedIn learning for training and bite-size courses. Microsoft One Drive is great for sharing documents and working collaboratively. And the University intranet/internet for the updates around the business.

Creating relationships between PAs and their industry suppliers Forum Events Media Forum House , 71 Mead Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7AX

Website: palife.co.uk Twitter: @palifemag Editorial: editorial@palife.co.uk

Sales: charlotte.russell@palife.co.uk Design: ThinkCreative Printed by: The Manson Group

An annual subscription to PA Life is £25, contact Freddi Jackson on 01992 666720 to secure your copy now

Media Partners and Associations

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 © 2019 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. Data protection statement: Readership information held by Forum Events may be shared with any member of Forum Events and associated brands for the purpose of marketing and publication. From time to time, providing the correct consent has been obtained by ourselves beforehand, we may share data with relevant third parties whose services we believe may be of value to you.


50 PA Life July_August_v2.indd 1

23/07/2019 15:01


Join the PA Life Club today and enjoy a FREE subscription to the UK’s leading resource for PAs and EAs. It’s just £89 for a full year – that’s less than a cup of coffee each fortnight! As a member you’ll receive:

A full subscription A full subscription to PAtoLife magazine PA Life magazine

Entry into into exclusive Entry exclusiveClub Club competitions competitions

Partner Partner offers offers and and discounts discounts

Huge discounts a wide Huge discounts on aonwide range of learning online learning ofrange online courses

Priority invites invitesto to networking events networking events

Access privateLinkedIn LinkedIn Accesstotoaprivate group where group whereyou youcan canshare share ideas and ideas and challenges challenges

Invitations Invitationsto toFAM FAMTrips Trips

Access to exclusive Access to exclusive content content on PA the Life PA Life Club on the Club members-only website members-only website


A concierge from Access toservice quarterly Arctic Fox masterclasses

For more info contact Freddi Jackson: 01992 666720 or f.jackson@forumevents.co.uk Sponsors:

palife.co.uk/pa-life-club PALC_A4FP_AD.indd 1

@PALifeMag 29/07/2019 14:08

Full Page template PA Life July/August.indd 1

12/07/2019 17:17