We asked Helen, HR Consultant and Head of Jersey what her typical week looks like after 6 months with Focus and in the current climate…
I’ve become a better morning person since becoming a parent and I’m always first up in our household at around 6.30am. The kettle goes on first for that all important cup of tea, before making the rounds to get the rest of the family out of bed, which includes our 10 year old labradoodle, who has taken to staying in bed well beyond 7.30am!
The initial rush of breakfast, lunch boxes and getting out on time for the school run is then followed by a greater sense of calm when I go for a run or walk the dog – to get energised for the day ahead. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by fields and live only minutes from the beach or reservoir – so it’s a great way to start the day, unless of course it’s raining!
As I mainly work from home, arriving at the office is easy, but I do find it important to try and maintain some form of a daily routine in order to strike a balance between home life and work. I achieve this by ensuring I have designated work periods on a daily basis and regularly reviewing the work plan, alongside managing the day to day home life priorities. That said, as I can work flexibly, if something comes up that requires immediate attention, it means I can flex my time to ensure I am responsive to support our clients as and when needed, while maintaining that all important work-life balance.
As our Jersey office is relatively new having launched in September last year, I currently split my week between supporting our current Jersey client base, whilst exploring other avenues to find out how I can support more employers in Jersey.
As building relationships is a really key part of what I do, I can’t deny that starting a new role, launching a new office and developing relationships remotely has at times proved challenging given current restrictions, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown so far and I’m really looking forward to being able to reconnect in person with colleagues and clients alike as we continue to emerge from our ‘semi lockdown’ state in Jersey. That said, operating on mobile, Zoom or Teams has been effective in maintaining relationships with, and supporting our clients through this time, while also catching up with my Guernsey team mates, who I hope to meet in person at some point this year! It also has had its advantages when needing to hide those bad hair days, which many of us have had to experience recently due to the unfortunate closure of hair & beauty salons, an industry that has been badly hit by recent times.
It’s difficult to describe a typical week as no week has been the same. As we support clients across a range of sectors and assist with all aspects of the employee life cycle, the work is extremely varied. I can be dealing with an employee query one minute, re-drafting an employee handbook or writing a policy the next, or working with a business to develop their HR strategy. My past experience has mainly been in Financial Services large corporates which always provided challenge and variety, but now I have the opportunity to work with a mix of small/medium/large clients and it definitely brings about a new perspective and challenge, with a greater sense of job satisfaction and achievement, which is truly refreshing.
At present, I designate a lot of my time to exploring ways to further develop the Jersey business, making new connections and expanding my network. It’s really interesting being able to learn about diverse organisations and get to know their different environments and cultures, which of course continually helps me to build my own experience and knowledge, which I can hopefully impart to our client base as we continue to grow.
As our clients look to us for current advice and support, its important my own knowledge is up to date and fresh, so I try to attend at least one webinar or development activity a week which could be looking at the latest legislation changes to our islands, or diving into a ‘hot’ topic for the current climate to gain insights on how other businesses are operating or managing an initiative. A key focus in recent months has obviously been around how to navigate our way through a global pandemic – which I think has proved to be developmental and an experience for us all!
My end of day involves the school run, homework and then trying to get outside to spend time with the dog or maybe go for a bike ride before dinner. Dinner time is family time – it’s the one time of day we sit down together and catch up on the day’s events and hear all about what has happened at school/work. Its great now that the lighter evenings have started to kick in, as I’m able to spend more time on my other passion – gardening, and you will often find me of an evening in my gardening gloves, pottering in the greenhouse or re-designing my borders before finally sitting down to watch an episode of Master-Chef (or whatever American drama is on at the time), before bed.