Over the past few weeks, our team have been working remotely from home to play our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Rest assured, we are still able to continue our business and provide most of the usual services to clients.
We’ve been catching up with members of our team to find out how they are managing remote working. Find out how Development Manager, Jo Cooper, from our Aberdeen office has been getting on…
What is your job role at James Gibb?
I work as a Development Manager for James Gibb.
Can you give a brief description of what your role entails?
My portfolio consists of 36 developments which range in size and location. The variety keeps it interesting and no two days are the same. I enjoy the diversity of sites; tenements, large city centre apartment blocks, travelling to Moray and visiting my developments in coastal towns. I do refer to each development as “my” development as I take great pride in each and every site.
Organisation is key to the role in delivering a great service to our clients. Development managers are the main contact point between James Gibb as a business and the development. We liaise with trades to ensure scheduled services are in place/carried out. We react to incidents on the development, and swiftly arrange contractors to attend to fix issues. Managing proposed works is also something I enjoy as much of the time you are working to a client’s brief. Liaising with trades, project managing and delivering results to improve the lives of those living there. My role also involves talking a lot! I seem to always be on the phone, WhatsApp or emails. Communication is key; whether it be clients, trades or colleagues in other areas of the organisation who play a key role in keeping our clients happy. Connecting with people and keeping them informed of not only good news but managing expectations is also important.
What does your working day look like now you’re working from home?
For me it works to keep a schedule. Monday – Friday, I’m up and out the door at 6:30am to do an hour of exercise before I switch on the PC. I get dressed in “work clothes” which sets my mind in work mode. I set goals and tasks to complete that day. As I mentioned before, every day is different. You never know what you are going to open your emails to so if I don’t achieve everything I set out to do, I’ll roll it over to the next day. We are a reaction service and knowing how to prioritise is a must. Even through this lockdown period, I have had a dustbin lorry drive into wall at the development, someone locked out of there communal front door and a roof leak! Incidents such as those take precedence.
As many households, my husband also works from home. I’m set up on the kitchen table. My husband Simon works in the spare room and we meet for lunch. It works for us. I also make a point of closing my PC down the end of the day then I’m able to start a fresh the next.
What has been the biggest changes or challenges in your role?
The biggest challenge is not being in the office surrounded by an awesome team! No matter what the day or the issue there is always someone in the office who can offer advise on a situation or lighten the mood. I think we have adapted pretty well as a company by using different communication tools to hold meetings, coffee break chats and live stream/screen sharing. Webinars and training sessions have been prominent, and we have been encouraged to use some of our time for personal development.
I think the business did a great job of adapting how we work but even though we are in constant communication as a team, however it’s not the same being with everyone in person!
How have you adapted to the changes?
Personally, I think I have adapted well. I’m a positive person anyway. I know what I have to do, to keep positive; exercise, keeping a routine, staying connected with colleagues, friends and family. I also think past experiences have made me able to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in now.
Working remotely, how do you stay productive?
Setting goals; small and big. It makes you feel like you are achieving something and keeps you motivated to do more. It also helps having morning meetings with the team as we bounce off each other. We share what we are doing and that inspires others.
Do you have any interesting or funny lockdown stories to share?
Not for sharing 😉
What are you most looking forward to when this is over?
Hugging my friends and family. Hiking a Munro. Dinner and drinks in a restaurant surrounded by those I love.