Meet the team: Jemma Howard, Sales Manager

Jemma Howard speaks about her role at Workingmums.co.uk, working from home as a New Business Sales Manager.

Workingmums.co.uk was set up in 2006 by Gillian Nissim to act as a bridge between professionals looking for flexible new jobs and employers looking to attract an experienced, talented pool of candidates. Since then it has grown to be the number one jobs and community site for professional working mothers. It has over 320,000 registered users and works with thousands of employers. It also now offers advice, support and inspiration to those looking to set up their own businesses and franchises. Workingmums.co.uk is a fully flexible employer. It operates as a virtual business so everyone in it works remotely and with various degrees of other flexibility. We wanted to give you an inside view of how it works and who the people are behind the website. This week we have New Business Sales Manager Jemma Howard.

What do you do at Workingmums?

I am one of two New Business Sales Managers working with our self-employed and SME advertisers, alongside my colleague Tori Al-shaikhly. I research and source new business from clients with less than 500 employees, working with them to maximise their successes on our site – whether that is for immediate recruitment, long-term campaigns or promoting their employer brand. I also work with our clients who post adverts directly through our website, making sure they are using us to best effect, offering advice on how to best present their opportunities and ensuring long-term relationships. Tori and I are also working on new business areas to develop – identifying and targeting new revenue streams and areas we think will be the best fit for our audience.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love working for something I truly believe in. I think when you do, it makes everything less of a job and more of a passion. That sounds so cliche I know! I also like working from home and the freedom this gives you.

How long have you worked there?

I’ve been with Working Mums since the end of August. I feel like it’s a lot longer – in a good way.

What motivated you to apply to Workingmums?

I decided I needed a better work life balance, as I am sure most people do when they get to the point where they work full time with two kids and an incredibly large childcare bill.

I used to work most weekends so never had much quality time with my kids or my partner Nick. I missed out on a lot and hated it. I came across Workingmums online and really felt passionately about everything they stood for. I contacted Rachael, who looks after the franchise business to ask what it was like working for Workingmums. Everything she said related to me and I just wanted to be a part of it. I applied for the job as soon as I hung up the phone.

What did you do before?

Prior to Workingmums, I was a Solutions Consultant for Apple. The aim of the job was to train and help staff throughout Dixons and John Lewis (who both have official Apple shop in shops throughout the UK). It was a great job, and it was very rewarding helping both staff and end users get to grips with their new Apple equipment.

Workingmums is a virtual business. What’s the best thing about homeworking? And the worst?

No commute and no working weekends has to be my number one. I would say no distractions, but you do have to be disciplined with this as things always crop up. Then there is also the postman. If you order online as much as I do you will appreciate why I am on first name terms with my postman “Frank”. I think I might send him a postcard this year!

Worst point – as you’re not out and about in the day, when it comes to the evening if you don’t leave the house you find yourself becoming a bit of a recluse. Another issue would be chocolate: if it’s in the house I will find it. I appreciate this could also be seen as the best thing.

What are your top tips for homeworkers?

I find it best not to always work in the same room. I alternate my days now and feel a lot happier doing so. Buy healthy snacks as you tend to snack through the day as you work.

Try not to slouch, I have had to buy a back support. I was quite active in my previous roles so I never really got to sit down a lot; now I do, I have realised my posture is awful!

Have some structure to your day. On some days no matter how hard you try, you won’t stick to it, but it helps me stay focused.

Where’s your desk?

It’s in my office. When I got the news I had got the job I went and spent a whole day in Ikea buying a lovely new desk and lots of folders and stationery. I have not used any folders or stationery, but they do look very nice on the shelf.

What does it look like?

It’s pretty tidy at the minute. We’re currently looking at moving house so I have to tidy constantly in case we have unexpected visitors. There is always a half drunk cup of tea on it.

How do you stay in touch with colleagues?

I call them all the time. It’s lovely as I feel like I know them all already and have so much fun with our daily catch-ups! I can honestly say they are the best team you could wish for, they are all incredibly supportive and know what to say if you don’t have the best day,

Do you take a lunch break?

Not really, but I do snack while I am working if I get the urge.

How often do you see your colleagues?

We just met for our annual awards which was such a brilliant day. We have also got a date sorted for Christmas that I am really looking forward too.

How do you avoid isolation?

This was one of my main worries when I joined Workingmums, I am a really social person so was concerned I would feel isolated. The truth is it is completely the opposite as I am on the phone so much I feel less isolated than I have in previous roles. I speak to my colleagues so much I feel like I work in a office with them weirdly.

What’s your daily routine?

The alarm goes off at 6:00am every day and I get up almost straight away…….. after the third snooze! I then get my son Scott who is 7 and Maille who is 6 ready for school. We have a 30-minute school run so we need to be out of the house by 8am. I start work at 9.15 and work through till 3. I then run out of the door to pick the kids up from school. I then either take Scott to tennis or Maille to ballet or depending on the day go and babysit for my best friend Laura so she can also work around the kids. We get home at around 4pm (later on an “activity day”) and then it’s homework (which seems to be getting longer and longer), reading bath and bed.

What are your hobbies [if you have time]?

If by “hobby” you can interpret it as something you enjoy and do regularly, my main hobby is Chinese and X Factor on a Saturday!

How do you balance work and family life?

As I used to work most weekends and bank holidays, my work life balance is the best it has ever been. I really enjoy my work throughout the week and don’t mind answering emails after I leave or even replying to some at night too. I do try my best to keep my weekends to myself and family which gives me enough down time until Monday.

Can you imagine doing an office job in the future?

I could work in a office, but I think I would get tired of the commute and would miss the freedom of working from home. Not sure if I could get away with wearing a dressing gown occasionally on the colder days also?





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