My Working Day – Shannon Smith O’Connell – Head of Operations at Claimsline

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 Shannon Smith O’Connell, Head of Operations at Claimsline, about her working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

I wake up religiously at 6.30 am every morning – weekends too.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I skip breakfast most days as I don’t tend to feel hungry first thing in the morning. If I have time, I’ll bring something with me and eat it on the go later in the office.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

The first thing I do is check my phone for social media and emails before getting up to get ready for work. By the time I’m done, I may have 30 minutes before I have to leave for work. So, I always make sure I spend quality time with my wife and dog in the garden before we set off for the day.

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

I like to have a coffee and take the time to connect with my team, asking them about their night and checking if they need my help with anything. I also like to organise my workspace to set the tone for the day.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

I assess my priorities and focus on that. I look at my ‘to-do list’ each morning, but if there’s something urgent needed then I reshuffle my priorities. I read and respond to emails that are urgent at the start of the day and respond to less urgent emails throughout the day.

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

It is important to schedule and hold meetings as they provide employees with the opportunity to discuss their thoughts, ideas, and concerns in a comfortable environment. I like to plan meetings with my team to share feedback and build a strong team relationship. It is also a good way to boost work culture.

Do you have a working lunch, or do you take a break?

For a long time, I worked through my lunch. Eventually, it became clear that I was going to burn out – not taking breaks was just not sustainable. When I take the time to take a proper lunch break, I notice I eat healthier food, and the forced break helps me refresh and clear my mind, bringing a fresh perspective to my work.

When does your working day finish?

My working day finishes around 5.30 pm, but I am always available to take calls on my drive home for an hour after. When I get home, I try not to get distracted with work as I am wholeheartedly committed when I’m in the office. By the time I get home, I like to be fully invested in my home life, especially preparing for my first child with my wife.

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

Every day is different, so at the end of each working day, I look at what I haven’t got around to and start my list for the following day.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

My iPhone – I would be lost without it. I can do anything on it, from making a call to turning the heating off in my house. Amazing!

How do you switch off?

I always find that taking my dog for a walk really helps to clear my head when I’m feeling stressed. I also go to the gym three days a week.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

There have been two: “Give more than you expect to receive” and “Surround yourself with the right people”.

I enjoy supporting others and helping people achieve their goals. I like to feel good knowing that I helped someone. Surrounding yourself with people who push you to do better, and who are going to challenge you to make YOU better is important to me.