My Working Day – Andy Shovel – Co-founder of THIS

My Working Day

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But, how do these business leaders go about their daily routine?

Business Leader spoke to Andy Shovel – Co-founder of THIS – about his working day.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?

Pre-lockdown – 07:20; during lockdown – 08:15.

WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

Shreddies, Toast, Apple Juice, two bananas and a pear if I’m feeling exotic.

WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START

I tend to read and reply to some of my emails in bed, before the lights go on. Pre-lockdown I was in the gym every morning for 07:45, but that’s taken a knock. I’d love to write that I’m defying COVID-19 and burn 600 calories before breakfast, but the truth is that I now slink around the flat being grumpy and lethargic for half an hour.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?

Aside from some initial bedtime emailing, I try to lay out my to-do list for the day. I then make a couple of higher-priority calls before our team morning meeting at 10am.

HOW DO YOU PRIORITISE YOUR DAY’S WORK?

To be honest, I haven’t systemised how to prioritise the actual tasks – I just carry them out in order of averting the biggest explosions first, with nice-to-haves bringing up the rear. Though on an ideal day, I do try and distribute the meetings (or Zoom calls) evenly throughout the day. This helps keep up some variety, between face-to-face stuff and bits I quietly do myself.

DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?

Not anymore! Perhaps a silver-lining on this COVID-ridden cloud. Pre(and hopefully post) COVID, I try and reserve face-to-face meetings for mission-critical topics only. I’m certainly not one for relatively aimless or speculative coffees. 

DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?

I take a break most of the time. Occasionally I’ll speak to Pete – my co-founder – since he’s the only work person I feel comfortable chewing down the phone to.

WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?

This varies. Pre-lockdown I’d gotten into the habit of working from 09:30 – 19:00, then going home to eat and finishing off with another stint between 21:00 – 23:00. But lockdown has impacted my commuting and social-life, so my working hours have become less aggressive.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?

Not sure I do anything to prepare for the next day’s work, unless there’s a specific task that needs carrying out in advance.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?

I splashed out on some wireless Bose headphones and they have really upped my working quality of life. Strolling around whilst on the phone and waving my arms around like a poor-man’s Gordon Ghekko, has suddenly become achievable and enjoyable.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?

Pre-lockdown I’d play squash a couple of times a week. Now though, I simply play Call of Duty and get virtually gunned down by 12 year olds.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Julian Metcalfe a few times – the founder of Pret and Itsu. He told Pete and I to allow our customers to fall in love with EVERY SINGLE touch-point or interaction they had with the brand. I really took that to heart and whether it’s the texture of our Isn’t Chicken or an otherwise forgotten panel of our packaging – I want customers to have the chance to not just like it all, but LOVE it.

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