My working day – Emma Vass – UK CEO of Ecotone
As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example and 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? We spoke to Emma Vass, UK CEO of Ecotone, about her working day.
What time do you wake up?
Usually around 7am, and I try to stick to it to kick off a solid morning routine (though it’s easier said than done).
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I usually grab a banana to eat on the go. If I’m particularly organised, it’s overnight oats… with a hearty spoon of Whole Earth peanut butter on top to set me up for the day ahead. I love a cuppa (who doesn’t?!) so if I’m not organised enough to make oats, I have at least three cups of Clipper tea in the morning.
What is the rest of your morning routine?
It mainly involves getting my kids ready for school and then it’s straight into work calls. I go through fits and starts of trying to be more active, so sometimes I’ll kickstart my day with a run which is great for headspace and getting out in nature.
This will usually last a couple of weeks as I never seem to have time – but the motivation always comes back around to start being active again! I think this is difficult for all of us – but one of the many benefits of working at a natural food company is that our world is surrounded by reminders of the importance of eating well and looking after ourselves.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I look at my diary over the coming fortnight to review what’s coming up. From this, I work out what my priorities are on my to-do list and plan my day from there.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I’m pretty good at responding to queries in the moment and in a good flow of acting on conflicting priorities. If something needs doing, I’ll organise to at least start the action immediately – even if it’s just planning who needs to be involved, putting in time to review it, etc. I often book time in my own diary to get through actions and make necessary calls so I stay firmly on top of everything.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I plan key business meetings or forums regularly, to ensure the business is on top of everything, and that everyone is connected. Regular meetings allows for more collaborative working and helps to keep everyone in the loop, which in turn avoids silo-working.
This is vital in making sure Ecotone UK works effectively – mitigating builds and input from functions from being missed, and ensuring projects stay on track. It’s also important to ensure any issues have to be corrected in good time.
During meetings, I always clarify who is taking the action and who is responsible for ensuring everyone is aware of the follow-up or output.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
I try to take a break for lunch but I must admit, this is a weak point of mine. Thankfully, heading up Ecotone UK which has some delicious snacks in its brand portfolios including Kallø Veggie Cakes, means I have plenty of nutritious choices to keep me going.
I often have lunch at my desk and use it as time to go through emails or organise the kids – as it’s a full-time job in itself managing their school clubs, paying for fees, and getting kits… the list is endless!
When does your working day finish?
I usually finish at around 5pm… but my phone is always on if there is anything urgent.
Even if I’m on holiday, I’m happy to pick up the phone to discuss something – so long as I can support my team, even from afar. Once I’ve finished those calls, I’m pretty good at switching my phone off which allows me to better maintain a work-life balance – which is key across all levels of a business.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
At the end of my working day, I usually look at what tomorrow holds in my diary so I know what needs to be completed the next day. This makes tasks more manageable and helps with the flow of my working week.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
It’s not very interesting of me but it has to be my phone! How did we ever get anything done before mobile phones?
How do you switch off?
That’s easy: kids demanding attention are a great way to switch off.
Life is simple for them, and they only focus on the important things – themselves and having fun! I try to take inspiration from them as they love the simpler things in life: whether it’s playing football in the garden, table tennis, pool, or a game of Rummikub, it always ends in laughter.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Live in the moment, but also take time to plan special moments for the future. In business, you need to be decisive, proactive and keep the momentum going, but you also need to be prepared for the next challenge or opportunity that may arise.
In life, you need to enjoy every moment, never regret missing the important times but also take time to plan those special holidays, birthdays, and precious family times that stay with you forever. Life can get extremely busy. we rarely have chill-out time doing nothing – but we have lots of great times and memories.