My Working Day – Ben Vear – General Manager, EMEA at Minor Figures

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 Ben Vear – General Manager, EMEA at Minor Figures, about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

I rise at 6 am sharp for a workout, breakfast and commute into London – I recently moved out of London to a Cotswold bolthole to raise a family and escape the pollution and the ever-encroaching busyness of London life. After a decade in the city, it’s a joy to see clear night skies and green fields, the headspace measurably benefits my personal and working life too.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

Breakfast is usually a strong oat milk flat white, and a bowl of overnight oats with a scoop of plant-based protein powder. Coincidentally there’s a strong oat theme in my breakfast, but this definitely sets me up with slow-burning energy release during a long and busy day. I also supplement with Heights – a smart supplement brand I invested in earlier this year, which has had a noticeably positive effect on my sleep, brain fog and stress.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

I start the morning off with a short Peloton ride, meditation, breakfast and coffee before taking the train into London. Early in the morning, I find the commute is relatively peaceful and on the train, I typically avoid watching the chaos of the daily news cycle and instead prepare for the day ahead.

What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?

Despite being a challenger brand, we really pride ourselves on being a data-rich, insights-led business. After prepping for the day ahead, my first port of call is to review the previous day’s trading performance and general rolling performance month/quarter/year to date. We measure our performance across a number of metrics; from topline revenue and stock coverage, down to granular store-level performance. Beyond performance reviews, I will check in with department heads and upcoming milestones.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

I’m pretty self-disciplined and work to 90-day plans (which I review and reset quarterly). My days at work are typically a mixture of weekly team meets and departmental catch-ups and reviewing performance, which feeds into delivering against my 90-day plans.

Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?

I plan meetings and sometimes feel my diary is close to bursting point. More recently I’ve taken a ruthless approach to meetings since the mass adoption of video calls during Covid-19. Bouncing from back-to-back conference calls can be a serious drag on productivity and I find they often lack action. Instead, I favour 45-minute meetings, face-to-face where possible, with a clear purpose and agenda. I also prioritise spending a day a week speaking to customers and consumers in the field – closeness and connection to our customers is vital.

Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?

I’m a strong believer in taking time out for a lunch break. At Minor Figures, we encourage kitchen table collaboration and discussion. Although our long table is becoming ever more cramped – having grown the UK team from 22 to over 70 full-time employees in the past two years, team spirit and connection is more important than ever. We put on a plant-based lunch in our kitchen every day for our team to enjoy. If I’m working from home, I will still block out the hour and grab something on the go to take a stroll to get some fresh air.

When does your working day finish?

My working day is often a late finish as we’re a global business exporting in over 40 countries and with three offices (London, LA and Melbourne). Often, we will hold late calls to speak on a group level across offices (which occasionally last until 9 pm), but I always set out to down tools early on a Friday afternoon.

How do you prepare for the next day’s work?

If I don’t have any late calls, I will shut down my Mac by 6 pm and ensure I have a firm grasp on tomorrow’s diary: where I need to be and agenda points for any meetings.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

It’s maybe an obvious choice but my iPhone and AirPods are essential to most facets of my work and social life. Ease of use, operating system and interconnectivity with my MacBook and calendar are key.

How do you switch off?

I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my role at Minor Figures, but when I’m not working, I’m generally preoccupied by my three-month-old baby. It’s a total pleasure to see her growing up and changing very quickly. I also spend most of my downtime with friends and family, enjoying long country walks around the Gloucestershire countryside, cycling and listening to a stupidly large collection of music (both digital and vinyl).

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received

You’re never truly finished, you should always operate in ‘beta-mode’; continually testing, learning, reviewing and improving.

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