In the next installment of our Staff Spotlights, we catch up with office chatterbox and Penketh Group Marketing Manager, Carla Carr. We get her tips on how to stay focused when working from home with little ones around and how she sees the management of teams evolving as workforces become more agile. As our resident feeder, we also had to find out what Carla’s go-to lockdown bake has been…
1. Hey Carla! How’s pandemic life treating you in the run up to Christmas?
Hello! Well, the extended lockdowns have meant we’ve been able to get through more of the DIY projects at home this year, which has ensured I’ve kept myself (and my husband) busy! I’ve tried to focus on the positives throughout and it’s nice to be home more, spending quality time with my family – my children are young so it has been a special time which I have really appreciated.
2. What are you missing most about the office?
Definitely conversation and my work colleagues who have also become my friends – I’m a self confessed chatterbox and always the first to start a natter. I miss overhearing conversations too, not in the creepy sense though I promise – just hearing colleagues discuss plans, ideas and problems, it helps me to understand what’s happening around the company and often triggers other conversation or ideas of how I or the marketing team can help. The marketing team like to be very hands-on and support all departments as much as we can, being part of a busy office enables us to build strong relationships and ensures our communications are relevant to our customers.
3. What are your tips on maintaining focus whilst working from home with young kids in the house?
Well during the first lockdown I undeniably aged about 10 years in a matter of weeks! I think you’d be hard pushed to find any parent who was working from home, while taking care very young children announcing that it was plain sailing – truth is, we all struggled and there is no shame in admitting that – we just had to try our best. It’s much easier now that my pre-schooler is back in nursery and I have certainly learnt to appreciate silence more than before!
I have always found that I am able to maintain my focus well while working from home, but I have made little changes now that I am homeworking on a more permanent basis. During the early days, I could sit for hours without a break from my computer screen, and as an advocate for physical and mental wellbeing in the office, I was doing myself no favours. I now try to take a walk on my lunch break 2/3 times a week – just 20/30 minutes at a brisk pace. I also now have a dedicated spot to work from each day with two screens – its easier to be productive when you have the right tools.
4. How do you think the management of employees will change as the workforce becomes more agile?
As technology advanced in recent years, we were all encompassing more agile ways of working in daily roles, however the pandemic has propelled this shift at an unprecedented rate. Now more than ever I believe that employees will have the freedom to work more autonomously, working where and when they are most productive, whether that be in a private or quiet space, or wanting to come together with colleagues within a collaborative environment to brainstorm and share ideas – I expect that business leaders will turn more focus on tangible results as opposed to hours spent behind an owned desk.
5. You’re doing a spot of lockdown baking – what’s it to be?
Banana bread….every single time. Luckily for me, my mother in law is THE BEST baker and keeps me regularly topped up with goodies. Her shortbread is to die for so I want to try that recipe next.
Fancy another Staff Spotlight? Click here to catch up with Shelley Hatton