Episode five in our ‘A Day in the Life’ series comes from account management maestra, Mediha Latif. Mediha spent the day helping clients, catching up with colleagues and soaking up sunbeams on GrantTree’s roof terrace.
It’s Monday morning and believe it or not, I wake up in a pretty good mood. In fact, I’m actually looking forward to going to work. And I’m not just saying that because of this blog post. I actually like Monday’s again!
My day starts, like everyone else’s, with my phone. But it’s not what you think. We have flexible working at GrantTree, meaning I don’t have to be in the office at any particular time. So the first thing I do is check the train times to see if there are any delays. I take the Southern line into the office, which often has issues.
It turns out there are some delays this morning. If I was in any other job I would be very stressed at this point. I would start composing an email to my colleagues, apologising for delays I had nothing to do with, and attaching screenshots of the Southern website for evidence.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have to do that. I just jump in the shower, get dressed and handle some emails while the trains sort themselves out. I end up getting to the train station at 9 and arrive at the office at 9:30. The best bit is that no one is monitoring what time I came in, which means no aggressive email about being late and no one asking for a quiet word.
As I’m observing Ramadan for the next 30 days, there is no morning coffee or tea. Otherwise, I would get settled in and pester one of my colleagues (who makes an incredible flat white) to make me one of his signature coffees. Instead, I dive into some emails and enjoy the aroma of coffee around me.
It’s 11a.m., and I’m off to see a client with one of GrantTree’s financial consultants. The client isn’t far from our office, so we decide to walk to the meeting. On our way, the client emails me to say she’d like to reschedule to this afternoon. No problem, I reply, before heading back to rejig my calendar so I can fit her in.
The rest of the morning is filled with meetings. Nothing particularly life-changing, although one definitely gets my heart racing. I can’t give you too many details at this point, but it’s a meeting about the way we work and how that could be about to change. Make sure you keep up to date with our blog to find out more!
I then catch up with another colleague, who I notice has just walked into the building. At GrantTree we don’t have to check in with anyone or let anyone else know where or when we are working. So sometimes when you see someone in the office it’s best to grab them and have a chat. We have a quick catch up about life and update each other on a client’s account.
Next, it’s lunchtime! Lunch is usually a time filled with endless joy and euphoria! I tend to vary what I eat and when I go to lunch. Funnily enough, I used to work for a company where I was allocated a set time to go for lunch. If I took a break to eat outside of those hours I would receive a strongly worded email. Crazy.
Today one of my colleagues asks me if I want to have lunch with him. Ordinarily, I would jump at the chance, but alas today no food should touch my lips between sunrise and sunset. Instead, I decide to make the most of the sunshine and head up to our lovely roof terrace and get some vitamin D. I take my laptop and decide to get some work done. The sun makes everything a little sweeter.
I also take this chance to reflect on Ramadan, so far. Essentially this is a month of no eating or drinking anything (not even water) between sunrise and sunset for 30 days. In the UK this means that you are starving from 3am to 9pm.
In my previous jobs, I have changed my working hours to finish or start an hour earlier or later, to compensate for not taking my official lunch hour. Even so, I usually struggle with migraines and general fatigue. But this is the first time in a few years that I haven’t had a migraine. In fact, even though I’m doing my usual hours, I have more energy than ever. I genuinely believe this is solely down to working at GrantTree. After all, the only difference between this Ramadan and the previous one is where I’m employed. It’s amazing to see how being in an open, positive space can have such a direct impact on your health.
I head back down to the office to interview a candidate for our open account manager position. Three of us – my two colleagues and me – conduct the interview. I must say I find our interviewing process quite interesting, and it’s always so nice to hear from candidates what drew them to GrantTree. It’s almost like when someone compliments your partner or your pet and then you suddenly see them in a more refreshed and flattering light. It’s also great to answer questions about GrantTree. It reminds me how good I have it here.
After the interview I have a quick catch up with some of my colleagues. We discuss what we did during the weekend and then quickly move on to general client chat. We work with some really fabulous clients, so it’s great to share and hear about what they’re up to.
Speaking of lovely clients, it’s now time to head off to my rescheduled meeting. To my surprise, she is based in a hidden gem of a building. It is literally like a magic wardrobe. It seems as though you are on an industrial estate but once you get past the front door, you find a selection of open plan offices with various themes all connected by walkways, winding stairs and tunnels. I had no idea something so unique existed in London! There’s a birthday in the office and the client offers us some cake. Sadly, I have to decline. Then we sit down in one of the meeting rooms which, as it turns out, is on the top floor of a converted barn.
After the meeting, we head back to GrantTree HQ and get stuck in sorting out the information the client requested. I also see that I have a couple of catch up calls with some more clients in the afternoon. I put my headphones in and go into focus mode, although there are several moments where I overhear something utterly ridiculous in the office and have to get involved.
That’s another thing I really do love about working at GrantTree, we have a company full of some of the most talented people I have ever worked with, and some of the funniest humans I have met. I find every individual has such a distinct personality and being in this environment gives everyone space to really express themselves. So despite our flexible remote working policy, the office is always buzzing, because people actually like being around each other.
The light-hearted vibe at GrantTree does more than help us all get along. I think it actually impacts the way we work with our clients. In other jobs, I wasn’t working for the company, I was working for myself. Now, I’m working for a business I believe in, and that respects me as an adult. So that 11pm call to a client who is currently in the states and is struggling with the time difference, or travelling six hours to meet a client in person, because they don’t like telephone calls, doesn’t feel like a chore. It feels like GrantTree. Without tooting our horn too much, I know this is something our clients love about us.
It’s now just after 6:30, and I get nudged by a colleague to go home and enjoy the sunshine. I decide to wrap up what I’m doing and head home. However, as per usual, I end up having a 30-minute chat with some colleagues. I finally leave the office and feel very content with my day and how much I was able to achieve.
No two days are the same for me at GrantTree. Some days I just work from home, with no contact with clients or colleagues. On others, I am at an event or in meetings all day and barely have a chance to check my emails. But whatever my day looks like, I have learnt to appreciate it for what it is and not create unnecessary stress by placing unrealistic expectations on myself. Not every day is going to be great or super productive but I feel grateful that I work in an environment where I am able to reflect and make the next day better on my own terms.
I was told by someone that the key to a happy life was not to live for the weekends but live for the entire week. I don’t know if I have achieved that but I feel like, by not dreading Monday mornings, I am heading into the right direction.