To Haley Measures, an administrative assistant, the corner office means nothing to her. She doesn’t have a physical office; she works from home for the Dallas, Texas, office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, supporting seven partners in the firm. She isn’t upset by the loss of “the office.” She finds it liberating because she can cheerfully perform her tasks from home, bypassing the need for a lengthy commute.
That Haley makes a complicated role seem simple isn’t surprising. She’s been nominated for ezCater’s 2018 Office Hero of the Year Award in celebration of admins everywhere this Administrative Professionals Day.
In an interview with ezCater Haley revealed that she invokes her cheer, staying positive, as a way to influence her performance. Asked about her work, Haley said she never feels outmatched—she finds it enjoyable. This despite the fact that the work of office administrators tends to be pivoted around long queues of tasks, reports the New York Times. These days, executive assistants, secretaries, and administrative “assistants are expected to perform as managers,” said Melba J. Duncan in the article.
If her job is tricky, Haley shows no signs of struggle. She powers through her work and her voice has an undertone of genuine warmth, optimism, satisfaction, and calm. A true office hero, she’s committed to moving mountains for her team and holding off chaos from the quiet corner of her home from where she works.
ezCater chatted with Haley one morning to talk about her work.
Congratulations on your ezCater Office Hero nomination, Haley.
Maybe you can begin by telling our ezCater readers about your work as an administrative assistant?
It is a little different because I work from my house most of my time. I’m basically an administrative assistant but I work for different partners who work for our firm. And so I’m on a team with thirteen other people and we work from home except for two days out of the month. And then we go into the office to connect with each other and build out our relationship because we have a very strong team environment despite the fact that we work remotely. We connect daily with an instant messaging system and video conferencing calls and other phone calls and so it’s really interesting. My basic day is just working and whatever our partners need me to do for them. I arrange for their travel and work on their calendars and make sure there are no conflicts and I do a lot of catering and I just used ezCater this morning for a last-minute lunch that was needed. A lot of recurring tasks that I need to do each week like expenses and things are just recurring in addition to the random things that pop up such as organizing meetings or troubleshooting issues.
What’s it like working remote? Is it harder than working from a conventional office space?
I can arrange my hours differently because the seven people I support are all over the country. Some are on the East Coast and some in Dallas and some on the West Coast. And it’s really interesting and that’s why I can work from home because of the way my job is structured and is remote. And I don’t have to waste time on the commute. I had someone reaching out to me at 7:45 in the morning and I would normally be on the road then, but I was able to help her immediately.
What’s the most difficult part of your job? Surely even office heroes must have tough days.
Whenever I get a task that I don’t know how to do, I will respond, “I will figure it out.” And that can be stressful if I can’t peer my head over the cubicle and say, “Hey how can I do this?” But even then, it’s not overwhelming because I have a whole team [with a digital presence] that I rely on for resources and we really just have a culture of helping people out. And I love to help people, too. I’m always willing to help people out when I can.
As an office hero you must have some time-saving tricks. What are your favorites?
I manage a list using my email inbox. I have it organized by unread emails at the top and that’s how I operate with my to-do list and if it gets really overwhelming I physically write everything down and I rank it by importance. I use my calendar a lot as well just to make sure that everything is done by the deadlines.
We find that office heroes are constantly busy and wear a lot of hats. How do you stay focused at work?
Working from home I get to see my piles of laundry or the dirty dishes in the sink. So, for me it’s really important that I do have my office space at home and go shut the door and put on music on Pandora and kind of get into the zone. At the beginning, I chained myself to the desk and I didn’t leave for eight hours and now I focus, and if I find my mind starting to wander or I’m getting a little burned out, I go for a quick walk in the neighborhood or I step outside and water my plants. Something to get my mind off of it so I can refocus and come back and be all-in with 100 percent of my brain instead of halfway because I’m distracted or running out of steam.
Do you have tips for decompressing at home after a long day at the office? I think a lot of ezCater readers would love to hear about this. Is it harder because you work remote?
I leave my laptop in my office and I don’t take it with me in the living room. Four times a week I also work out, which I also do at home, which is kind of funny [because I work and live at home, too]. I assume a posture of like, I’m done working. I sit on my couch, prop up my feet, I put on the TV and start cooking dinner for my husband and me. I think leaving the laptop in another room really helps. It’s really kind of nice, and it’s not as much of a challenge as you might think because I’m able to spend more time at home decompressing after a long day and I don’t have to worry about a commute.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
People I work with. I really enjoy my team. I’m very good friends with some of the people on my team and I can honestly say that if I didn’t work with them I won’t enjoy this time as much. They say that people make the job and it’s really true.
You’re our office hero, but maybe you can tell our ezCater readers who’s your hero?
My husband. Definitely my husband. We’ve been married for almost five years. And he really is my best friend and just so supportive and he’s got an incredible drive and work ethic and he just loves people well and he builds a strong relationship with people and really values people and really values me as his wife and friend and partner and yeah: he’s my hero.
Do you think Haley should win ezCater’s 2018 Office Hero of the Year Award? Make sure you vote for her here. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.