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– How are you feeling now on a scale of 1-10?
If I’m not a 10, I’m certainly a 9. The mood has picked up both on and off the pitch in the last week. My son turned one, the restrictions relaxed, the sun’s out and business is picking up. We have a great team in place who are producing great work and clients who are pushing the boundaries.
– Who was the last person you spoke to before me?
My business partner, Rob Hughes and my wife. Sometimes it’s tough to tell who I speak to more.
– Are you working from home or the office? If both, what’s the split like?
Home for 90% of the time. We are preparing to go back in the next couple of months. We’re thinking about how to make our office an even better place to work, having not been in for a year, that time has offered us ideas on what we need / don’t need.
– How have things changed since Covid?
As an agency we’d adopted a strategy to focus on digital companies, those who invest in social and content about two years ago and that really paid off during the past year. We’ve also invested time in working alongside startups. That’s on the Marketing side. From a management perspective (we manage talent and brands), we’ve reassured lots of clients, pushed them to think more digitally (invest in social) and accommodate new commercial operating methods.
– Where do you work? What’s the environment like?
At home at the moment, I have a small office space set up, have invested in a decent chair and it’s well lit with plenty of fresh air.
– Who do you share your ‘home office’ with? What do the rest of your household do? How do they work?
My wife has been on Maternity leave which actually ends this Thursday so I’ll keep you posted on that one.
– Who are you looking out for at the moment?
Having a young son and a young agency means I’m always looking out for the welfare of plenty of others. Giving people as much time as they need and sympathy towards what’s a unique situation for us all has been key along with communication which is harder than ever being largely away from the team.
– How have you changed as a manager? As a person?
Probably a bit more hands on than I would be typically just to make sure what’s usually discussed at ease in the office isn’t missed. I like to give our staff the freedom to execute their jobs but at a time when I can’t see them, it’s been more important to speak regularly on the phone or via a video conference.
– How do you run a meeting?
Largely the same as usual but over a video conference nowadays; clear agenda, clear leader of the meeting, minutes to follow soon after.
– How would you describe your work/life balance?
I make a big effort for all the team to keep this healthy. In particular during lockdown I have been walking a lot each day with the target of 10k steps per day. It’s tough some days to hit the target but this has helped me achieve a healthy balance. It’s not always perfect, but on average I think it’s a healthy balance.
– What does your daily routine look like? How do you run your job and your life?
6-7am I wake up and look after my son
7am family breakfast
8.30 at laptop ready for the day ahead
5/6pm I do bedtime with my son
7.30 quick check on emails / clients
8pm onwards generally aim to be off work and into a series – Line of Duty at the moment.
“I can be partial to a long bath in colder climates.”
– Early mornings or late nights?
Typically I’m early mornings as I try to keep evenings for family time, but our industry is never reliably consistent so I go with the flow as needed.
– How do you focus?
I have tried meditation in the past and use techniques still on a daily/weekly basis is probably the more interesting answer to this question, but generally stay focussed by not losing sight of the basics and doing them as well as we can – communication, tight to-do list, achievable goals.
– How do you unwind?
Walking at the moment is as useful a tool for this as there is. I can be partial to a long bath during colder climates. Then time with family and friends is really important to me so I don’t lose sight of what’s most important in life.
– Who do you consider your mentor to be?
We have some brilliant investors in our agency who from a business perspective are as good as it gets. During my career I’ve worked for and met some sensational people who have been very kind with guidance along the way including Dan French, Daniel Glover, Steve Watts and Adam Raincock.
That question always throws something out there for me too. Why not mention some significant ‘up and comers’ – David Gerty at The FA, Charlie Hymann at Bloomsbury Football and Chloe Lara at HyperX – watch out for those exciting people.
– If we started this year again, what one thing would you change?
On a personal note – I’d have tried remote working from somewhere sunny. From a business perspective there isn’t anything we’d change. Looking back is always dangerous other than for learnings.
– What one thing will you take with you into the ‘new normal’?
Working from home/flexible working. I used to be terrible at this, but can’t see us going back 5 days a week to the office. Our staff have been brilliant working from home so we’ll offer them a more flexible working environment when we get back to life post-COVID.
– Who are you speaking to next?
I have a client call with our brand client, Royle Eleven. They’re a new to world fashion label who launched in February this year. We’ve just announced Andy Robertson as a brand ambassador who followed Conor Benn as the faces of the brand. We have some exciting plans coming including a couple of further ambassadors, influencer activity and PR activations planned.