One major benefit of prioritising productivity at Own is that we can be flexible not just with location, but with working structure. Own’s Content Strategist, Chelsea – who joined the team last October – is a great example of how we’re able to recruit experienced, talented professionals by thinking outside the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-5 set-up.
While some of our team – such as developers – work better being based in the same office, our marketing and creative function operate slightly differently. Chelsea works closely with our Head of Marketing, Ivana, developing the content strategy to support our business growth. All our company content – from our website to brochures and blogs – is written by her, bringing to life expert opinions from the whole team.
Here is Chelsea’s insight into daily life as a Content Strategist, and the benefits of having a flexible working structure…
Most people say there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day – that’s definitely true for me!
My schedule looks very different to many of my Own colleagues, as I don’t have set working days, hours or an office! I work part-time from home, organising my workload flexibly across the week.
I know remote working isn’t the right option for everyone – the development team work best when they are in the same room, for example – and that’s why Own has offices across Europe. However, this set-up has been a gift to me; I have a 1-year-old daughter, so I can structure my professional life around her needs, but also work when I am at my most productive.
I’m very career ambitious; before I became a mother, I was running a content team for a marketing agency, writing collateral for well-known corporations like Microsoft, SAP and Intel. I wanted the same energy and excitement, but within a company that could be more empathetic to the demands of a working parent.
Working flexibly allows me to be at my most productive
I’m very passionate about the benefits of flexible working, particularly for parents. It blows my mind that two thirds of female professionals end up taking jobs below their potential after having kids, purely because they can’t find an accommodating role at the right level. Employers are missing a huge untapped opportunity!
Luckily, the senior team at Own realise it’s not how long you’re sat at a desk that defines your capability; it’s the work you produce. This ethos is practised from the top down within our business – interviewing Sascha, Florian and Ermin for a recent company culture blog really brought it home – and we’re a more efficient workforce because of this attitude.
With copywriting in particular, you can’t just create great work on command. You need to be in the right frame of mind, and flexible working enables me to tailor my schedule around the times I know I’ll be most productive.
I try to strike a balance between routine and opportunity
I usually set aside a couple of weekdays to do the bulk of my work, while my little one is at nursery or with relatives. I fit in other tasks whenever I have a window of opportunity during mornings, evenings and weekends; it’s not uncommon for the team to receive documents from me at 5:30am or get a response to an email at 11:00pm!
We’ve got a well–developed communication system within Own, so it’s easy for me to stay up-to-date with developments via email or Slack, even if I don’t action the task straight away. Yet another example of why the 9-5 sit-at-your-desk way of working is completely arbitrary and needs to be scrapped!
The key to making life work is being organised
When you’re working flexibly, the most important thing is to ensure that your colleagues know when to expect work – and that you deliver it on time. This way, they can leave you alone to get on with it in your own way!
I set a task list each week and make a point of catching up with my manager, Ivana, every Tuesday morning on Skype so that we can go through our workload. Inevitably there will be small jobs that come in during the course of the week, but if I have the broad shape of what’s to come, we know everything is in-hand.
I’m also careful to manage expectations about when I am doing certain tasks. For example, I can come back to blog posts throughout the day, so I schedule them for times when I’ve only got short windows available to work.
If I have a big strategic project to work on, I need a good chunk of time to get under the skin of it. I’ve recently being doing a lot of refinement work on our company value proposition, and that takes a lot of mental energy. I’ve hired a co-working space to use at weekends, so I usually escape there if I need to get my head down!
Flexible working gives me satisfaction in all areas of my life
Being a very determined individual, I knew that I didn’t want to stop working after I had children. Having a flexible set-up gives me the opportunity to do what I love most – creating great content that helps businesses to grow – in an exciting and dynamic industry. I get such a buzz working with the Own team, and because we’re a relatively small company, I know my contribution counts towards our success.
But best of all, I still get to put my family first. I never have to scrabble around for childcare if my daughter is sick or worry about missing out on her milestones. I’m a better and more present mother because I’m spending quality time with her as she grows up, and I still get to use my professional skills within a company that I truly believe in.