Working through the pandemic
Like so many of us during lockdown, Siobhan has had to learn to work from home. “I used to have a very long commute, which meant I had a distinct barrier between work and home. It’d be very rare that I walked through the door carrying my day with me,” she said. “That doesn’t happen anymore. I am here so my work is always here. One of the things that’s become really important, apart from working together as a team virtually, is making sure your time isn’t always formally structured. Sometimes you have to make the time for fun, shut the laptop and go out for a walk. And I do. That stuff is really, really important and at first I probably didn’t put as much value on the separations as I should have”.
Siobhan recognises the importance of creating an environment where her team can thrive, be successful and exceed their own goals. Especially in this new world of remote working. Mirroring the often-quoted Richard Branson sentiment, Siobhan says that her team are the most important consideration in her job “Because if you are happy and motivated, engaged and successful, not only do your team go on to be happy and motivated, engaged and successful individuals, so does the organisation that you work for”. When asked to name the most essential quality of a leader, she is quick to name authenticity. “I think if you’re not authentic, then the rest of it is irrelevant. That, to me, is the most important quality a leader has”.
So are these new ways of working here to stay? “Do I think the world is going to go back to how it was before? No, but I think that’s the case across the board. I think people will learn to adapt to this new reality, and I think that the human touch has become even more important than it ever was before”. As she says this, Siobhan points out that the call we are currently on, although great, would be better if we were all in the same room. “There will be circumstances in any form of working where there is a need for human engagement and human contact, and the ability to read or sense an environment, a person, a something. That’s not going to go away”.