Later in Lockdown: A Day in the Life of Fiona
We’ve all been impacted by lockdown in some way or another, and things have changed at an incredible pace. Wanting to know how people have coped with the change and what really makes L’Oréal such a flexible place to work, we chatted with Fiona, Business Director for Boots in our Consumer Products Division.
Hey Fiona! So…lockdown must’ve changed your work a fair bit, right? What’s changed for you?
What a year! I’m the Business Director for Boots, our biggest customer holding about 30% of our business so most of my day is taken up in meetings or preparing presentations. Often, we’ll be working to a really tight deadline so my day usually includes a number of internal meetings or with Boots or 1:1’s with my team…virtually of course!
Now that we’ve got the option to work from the office, I can either be juggling my two children - Eloise and Rupert - or working hard. It’s been… interesting during lockdown; lots of family time and fortunately, we weren’t massively affected.
“It’s quite tricky juggling it all, home-schooling was really hard…I respect teachers a lot more now!”
Fair to say you’re usually pretty busy then! How do you organise your working week?
During lockdown, I never felt pressured or stressed in that sense because we have such flexibility and could work when and how we wanted.
“We honestly work for one of the most flexible companies.”
On a normal basis, through our flexibility programme Work Smart, I would work from home on Friday so I could pick my children up from school and have that extra time with them. During lockdown it was very much my husband and I doing shifts; me in the morning and him in the afternoon. That flexibility was very helpful because the children knew who was on and off. We even had a whiteboard with a timetable of who was on when and moved our meetings to try and accommodate that.
That’s a great tip, but sounds like you’ve had a lot on your plate! What have been some of the most difficult bits then?
To be honest, in the first couple of months it felt quite overwhelming; our plans changed, we had to change all our promotions and NPD plans and had to turn more attention to e-commerce. Actually though, the enormity of the challenge was at home: I had to balance work, my children, housework and trying to see my amazing dad who’s 83 and lives on his own.
“At times it felt like home and work just merged into one.”
You’re right, that’s quite a handful. How did you manage to unwind in your free time?
I’m sure you’ve noticed but we have a lot more time in some ways as we’re no longer commuting. Sport is a massive stress reliever for me so I’ve been jogging outside and listening to my music — that’s really helped me relax. I also did a bit more cooking, making bread and pizzas also being more experimental in things that I always wanted to do but never had time for. Having a good coffee is also my sanity. Now that coffee shops have opened again, I take the time to get a nice coffee and piece of cake and go and have it in a park somewhere...just don’t tell my children!
What we did have, which was amazing, was a large paddling pool my husband bought so he could do the half Ironman in the garden, raising money for the NHS. We used the pool a lot during the summer and the kids have been in and out of it the whole time. It’s been like a public swimming pool for the neighbour's kids!
You’ve certainly changed your back garden then! What’s changed in your division (CPD) since lockdown?
I think we’re a much more caring team, we know each other better as we see each other’s personal lives and we’ve definitely become more human and efficient. We’re on time for meetings (unbelievably!), we’ve done things in more condensed time scales, we have turned around massive campaigns in very little time, such as the Back to Beauty campaign (aimed to encourage consumers to engage with beauty post-lockdown and drive maximum footfall back into stores across the UK).
“Lockdown has proved how quickly we can work and how efficient we can be.”
It’s been a different year for us all, but one with positives in there as well!
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