A day in the life with Alice John

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Alice John is a Business Development Manager at 4global. She works with Active Partnerships, National Governing Bodies, Sports foundations and Local Authorities across the DataHub and SportsHub products and leads the MCRactive digital and data transformation project which is designed to use digital solutions, data and insight to increase activity levels across the City.

What does a typical day look like for you right now?  

Research says that it takes around 12 weeks to form a new habit but as we enter only the eighth week of restricted living, the new: routines, ways of communicating and pace of life already feel decidedly normal.

A typical day in my “new normal’ life tends to start early.  I’m sure any parent can relate to my saying “the juggle is real” which feels particularly relevant at the moment. Managing home-schooling alongside work commitments demands new levels of flexibility, patience and multi-tasking, so it helps me to get a head start on the day. I try to start the day with a quick online workout, which for the time-being has replaced visits to the gym. It wakes up my mind and helps me focus on the day ahead.

My first meeting of the day is with the entire 4global team. These calls were established right at the start of lockdown and are a chance to interact with colleagues – sharing knowledge, ideas, challenges and occasionally competing in a project, team or company themed quiz. Paradoxically, in a time of social distancing, communication across the team has never been better. It’s one of my silver linings.

The rest of my day tends to involve working sessions with internal project teams spanning product, project and marketing and calls with clients – NGBs, Active Partnerships and Local Authorities. Our focus is on delivery and on understanding how we can support the industry to overcome immediate challenges whilst spotting new opportunities.

Finding ways to separate homelife from work life can be a challenge when your office is your home and vice versa. I find starting the evening with a short run with my son helps. As someone who could never be described as a natural runner, our 5km Nike training programme is currently offering just the right mix of challenge and reward. 

Later in the evening, I’ll catch up on news from day and social media channels – the daily briefing, a bit of political commentary on Twitter, some indulgent escapism on Instagram and if I can persuade my family, we’ll attempt the latest TikTok challenge. But mostly, this is time for my family to relax together. I’ll always finish my day with a good book to clear my head ready for the next day.

How have you adapted to remote working?  

Working remotely was normal for me as I live and work in Manchester and 4global’s HQ is in London. The biggest adjustment is having my family at home between 9 and 5. After all attempting to work from the kitchen table in the first few days of lockdown, we soon learnt that having our own space was much more conducive to a harmonious family life, so we bought a new desk and established our own territories.

Although it’s not always possible at the moment, I try to keep to these three rules when working from home – stick to a routine, have a defined working space and communicate often. It has taken some time to adjust to seeing myself speaking on Teams calls but video conferencing has become my friend.

What has been your biggest learning moment of the C-19 era?  

I’ve learnt working in a team with smart and supportive people can see you through the strangest of times.

I’ve learnt more about the people I work with, both colleagues and clients, in the past eight weeks than I had in a 12-months prior to that. Literally seeing straight into people’s homes on a regular basis and swapping stories about homelife, interests and experiences has strengthened working relationships. It’s another silver lining.

In a business context, I’ve learnt that a period of significant uncertainty and disruption necessitates innovation. On a personal level, I’ve learnt that family, friends and health are everything.

What long-term impact do you think  C-19 will have on the industry?  

I hope that we all remember that health, both physical and mental, is our most important asset and that our industry continues to play an important role in keeping the nation healthy. I hope that the health inequalities which have come into sharper focus during the pandemic remain at the forefront of policymakers’ minds as we model recovery. I hope that new investment in active travel accelerates ambitions to build greener, cleaner and healthier cities for the future.

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