A family assistant has a very varied role. Think of it as similar to a what you might consider as a “normal” private PA – in fact they’re sometimes called Family Personal Assistants – but working for the family on domestic, home-related and family matters.
It’s impossible to list everything that a family assistant might be expected to do, as it is impossible to predict what every family needs – there’s a huge amount of variation. However, for the purposes of a brief overview, there are some generalities we can touch on.
The role will probably include some babysitting and other childcare duties, such as school runs, keeping up with children’s social calendars, meal preparation, tidying up after small children (obviously an endless task in itself…) and generally providing ad-hoc parenting assistance as required.
However, a family assistant is not the same as a nanny – a nanny only looks after the children’s needs, and will generally have focussed childcare-related qualifications; whereas a family assistant caters for the whole family’s requirements and might well have a broader range of experience.
A family assistant can also be involved in managing the property/household itself, interacting with or managing other household staff, contractors and suppliers. They might have a steering hand where renovations or decorating are concerned, and might dress rooms with flowers or styling according to the family’s tastes.
Other tasks can be as wide ranging as the breadth of family life itself – from running errands and personal shopping to assisting with technology, helping with homework, administering to bills, invoices and contracts, making lunch, making travel arrangements and scheduling appointments, or helping with the family business. The list goes on.
Naturally a role such as this will be attractive to those applicants of an energetic “go-getter” personality, a can-do attitude is a must and multitasking and unflappability are key. Because of the potential range of tasks that might be required for different families, it’s not really possible to specify what qualifications a candidate might need – however these qualities are common to all. For families with properties or business interests in multiple countries, additional languages are often sought after.
Principals will look to hire a family assistant in order to take back time they’d otherwise be unable to spend, so making them more productive overall. This goes to the heart of what makes an excellent family assistant: someone who can provide all the family support necessary so that the principals can perform at their best in every area of their lives.