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Key account manager Sally Appleby talks about her role at Workingmums.co.uk.
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 Key Account Manager Sally Appleby.
What do you do at Workingmums.co.uk?
I am a Key Account Manager for employers of over 1,000 staff, including our top employers who fall into that bracket. That means understanding their recruitment and diversity objectives and offering them packages that support their needs. With the top employers I work with them to ensure they are getting the most of their 12-month contracts, that they use the inventory and adverts they have to support their packages and that they are getting the best applications. I monitor the responses and see if there is anything I can do to improve it. I send regular reports to them on the figures. The main thing is to make sure they are happy with the level of service we are providing, get the support they need and get the best candidates for their posts.
What's the best thing about your job?
I have worked in sales for 16 years. To be good at sales you must be passionate about what you are selling. This is a company I can feel passionately about. I had my daughter last October. I was in the same position as a lot of our readers, looking for a challenging, rewarding position with flexibility. I was really frustrated as I couldn’t find anything. I think it is really important to suggest to employers that by advertising their roles differently they can tap into another talent pool that other job boards cannot attract.
How long have you worked there?
I started on 9th October.
What motivated you to apply to Workingmums?
Apart from feeling passionate about what Workingmums.co.uk is doing, I am very grateful to be able to work remotely and flexibly [I work four days a week] and have one day a week with my daughter. Working from home means I have extra time with her which I would spend commuting or getting ready for work. I can have breakfast with my daughter and then take her to nursery or her grandparents. If I didn’t have this I would have to get her up early and rush around. It takes the pressure off a bit. And I feel that I get more done as I am less distracted.
What did you do before?
My last position was as a business development manager at the University of Derby. I was there for 18 months through my pregnancy, but did not go back after maternity leave as it was a full-time role and I wanted more flexibility. I was looking for a flexible job for a while and when I got the Workingmums.co.uk role I had other offers, but I felt very passionate about the job I am doing now.
Workingmums is a virtual business. What’s the best thing about homeworking? And the worst?
The best thing is having more time with my daughter. I feel I am more focused so I get my work done and have time with her. If there is work left over I will do it after she is in bed. It’s a two-way thing. I feel like my employer gets more out of me as a result and promote that aspect when I talk to employers. If they give people the option of working more flexibly they will have more committed, harder working employees. I work just as well from home, if not better. I worked from home before I had my daughter, but didn’t appreciate it as much. It didn’t matter as much as it does now.
The worst thing is that sometimes you feel a bit isolated, particularly if you have a tough day. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone.
What are your top tips for homeworkers?
Have a break. I take time out to walk the dogs and it gives me time to think. Make sure you have a quiet space as it can be manic while you are working. If you are in a quiet and peaceful environment it really helps.
Where is your desk?
I have an office upstairs, but I felt a bit shut off up there so I tend to work on the kitchen table and I make sure the fridge is stocked with healthy snacks. I can look at the garden and the dogs are here so it is nice and calm.
What does your desk look like?
There is a pile of newspapers and Top Employer Award brochures on it. Also a laptop, phones, kitchen roll with grape stalks on it, baby wipes and a bib.
How do you stay in touch with colleagues?
I mainly stay in touch via Instant Messenger and phone. I think it is easier to pick up the phone to explain yourself and I like speaking to people. If it’s just a quick query I’ll use IM.
Do you take a lunch break?
Yes, I usually take at least half an hour to go for a walk with the dogs.
How often do you see your colleagues?
I met everyone at the Top Employer Awards and we meet around six times a year as a team, but I see some colleagues more often when I go to client meetings with them.
How do you avoid isolation?
I only feel isolated if I am struggling with something. Otherwise I like having some quiet time. It is often chaotic when my daughter is here so I enjoy the quiet. I get out of the house with the dogs. It would be different if I was living on my own as I like being with people.
What is your daily routine?
My daughter wakes up at 7am and we have breakfast. I do some washing and hoovering and get her ready for nursery or her grandparents. She has two days at nursery and two day with her grandparents. After I have dropped her I come back and get breakfast. I start work and walk the dogs at lunch then after I have finished work I pick up my daughter and we have dinner and I do chores. Then my partner and I sit in the living room and have a bit of quiet time. We’re in bed by around 11pm. At the weekends we see friends and go out.
Do you have time for any hobbies?
I used to read and run, but life is very busy. I take the dogs out and I swim with my daughter. I go for lunch sometimes. Does that count?
How do you balance work and family life?
I think it’s really important to have time to switch off. At the weekends we see family and friends. I would much rather work late once my daughter is in bed if there is work to finish than work at the weekends.
Can you imagine doing an office job again?
I can, but not at this stage of my life. I have a good balance and right now I am really happy.