My Working Day – Namrata Sandhu – Co-founder and CEO at Vaayu
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 Namrata Sandhu, Co-founder and CEO at Vaayu, about her working day.
What time do you wake up?
It depends on the day ahead, but I’m not a natural early bird! I’m usually always up by 7am.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I normally just grab something quick like a cereal bar.
What is the rest of your morning routine?
I try not to use any technology for the first 15 minutes in the morning. Vaayu is a totally remote-first company and we use Slack as our main communication tool, so once I get ready I prepare for work by picking up my new messages while having a coffee. I’ll check in with the team and make sure to start responding to any messages that have come through from our global partners in different time zones.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I’ll touch base with my Co-Founder and CTO Luca Schmid to run through any business priorities. It’s a busy time for Vaayu — since 2020, we’ve onboarded more than 50 brands and grown the team to over 40. So we’ll run through any updates to our technology, new features we’re developing, and important updates from our retail partners, ensuring we’re set for the day and week ahead.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
Being an agile startup sometimes means not having a plan but rather seeing what’s important at the beginning of each day. Our team and retail partners such as Lick, Vinted and Wunderman Thompson Commerce are definitely my main priorities, so once I’ve checked in with both, I prioritize the day from there.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
They’re definitely not a waste of time, but I’ve previously worked in environments where scheduling meetings weeks in advance became the norm because people’s diaries were always so full. At Vaayu, we encourage people not to fill up their calendars too far in advance and instead operate an open-diary approach to enable more collaboration and more spontaneous meetings. It’s great for remote culture too: our people are always available for a chat when you need them and I just love hearing about what’s going on in their part of the world.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
Both, really. If I’m co-working with team members, we tend to organize a lunch together and catch up but, more often than not, also end up talking through exciting new ideas for Vaayu.
When does your working day finish?
It can definitely vary. We work with global brands and as a remote company our colleagues are based across different time zones, so my meetings can sometimes run into the evening. If we’re onboarding a new retailer or announcing a new partner, like our recent (amazing!) Ace & Tate partnership, my days fluctuate even more. But we are proponents of flexible working, so there are never set ‘work hours’ for either the team or me. Making time for life outside of work is super important.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I’ll review my calendar for the next day and check in with team members to make sure we’re on track with any deadlines and prepared for any upcoming partner meetings. My days can vary quite drastically, so if I have a conference the next day I’ll usually use the evenings to review speaking notes and go over any materials.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I love my Kindle: I’m a massive reader and that thing comes everywhere with me. But on a larger scale, of course it’s climate tech. I’m not only passionate about the work we do at Vaayu in calculating and cutting retail carbon, but also about the other climate technologies that are addressing the impacts of climate change. It’s a truly exciting (and important!) space to be part of.
How do you switch off?
I’m a really keen reader. I like reading fiction in the evenings to wind down.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Make sure you do something that you’re passionate about and that you truly believe in. I’ve worked in retail sustainability for nearly two decades and have always been passionate about preventing climate change. So when I started Vaayu, I knew that success was not just about growing the business, but about creating a better world. We only have eight years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and if the retail sector continues to grow at its current rate, emissions could surge by more than 50% by 2030. This would be catastrophic for our planet. My goal with Vaayu is to decelerate climate change and ultimately help stop this happening, and that’s something I’ll never stop being passionate about.