David Renfree, Support Consultant
My morning usually starts with a big mug of tea, and a ‘Hello’ to colleagues – we use various tools to communicate with each other throughout the day. Then it’s onto a quick check of my emails, the support desk and Slack to get a sense of what’s happened since the previous day. We support Universities in different time zones so there’s usually something important to read and understand. Once I feel up-to-speed with what’s happening, I can start to plan the rest of the day around whatever meetings or calls I have in my calendar.
The Services Team I’m part of is very tightly-knit, and there’s plenty of chatting with each other about work issues, as well as face-to-face calls when necessary. It’s also very easy to message anyone else within the company, and fun team-building exercises are a regular feature to help you know your colleagues better. If there are deeper questions you have around an issue, we’re encouraged to make time to speak directly to someone who can point you in the direction of the information that you need, and I’ve never found it difficult to arrange those conversations.
The flexible approach to work we enjoy enables me to take one day off each week to spend time on childcare duties. To compensate I currently work three evenings a week, which allows me to support the business in other ways, for example by delivering webinars or speaking to staff at institutions in other time zones.
Working from home has allowed me to set up a workspace in a way that works for me. My office is in a loft conversion so kept separate from the rest of the house, and allows me to work relatively undisturbed. I am conscious of the need to get exercise now I’m no longer commuting, so am a regular sight in our local park at lunchtimes or even occasionally in the mornings. On evenings when I’m not working I also try to get out on my bike for an hour or so, which allows me to switch off from whatever I’ve been working on that day.
What I enjoy about my role is the variety of tasks we turn our hands to, so that each day is different from the one before. You might need to speak to a library team at a University, or spend time figuring out a problem, or make changes to a system configuration to improve someone’s experience. My previous experience of working in academic libraries really helps here, as I can understand the issues a user may be facing when they contact us for support.