Carrie-Ann Jefferies is a Communications Specialist at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a communications specialist at Ecolab, a global organisation that makes the world a cleaner, safer and healthier place by providing products and services across industries in 170 locations globally.
My current role works very closely with the Australia and New Zealand MD on communicating to employees and customers amidst this current pandemic and ever-changing micro and macro environment.
My experience spans over 10 years, in both Australia and the UK where I have focused on internal communications, social impact work and external comms. I’ve worked for several big brands, Microsoft, SAP, Sony and Shell.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m no stranger to working virtually, having worked for a few large technology organisations, so my current role which is completely virtual because of this pandemic starts and ends at home.
I usually logon at around 7:30am to check my diary and any priority emails that may change my focus that day and then fully begin my day after a walk, daycare drop-off or coffee run.
I recently started my day at 8am to accommodate a team member based in the US where we connected via a video call on Social Media usage within the company. I then had a Microsoft Teams training session, followed by a discussion with one of the divisional team members on promoting one of their wins internally.
After writing up the content and sending it through for approval, I checked my diary and responded to a few email queries.
After lunch, I followed up with my manager on his upcoming People Leaders Call to work out the agenda and presenters for the call. I am also working on updating a great internal comms tool, as well as, looking at options for an upcoming all staff townhall.
My day ended on another video call chatting to an external comms consultant based in London where we are working on a comms plan.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, isn’t working virtually the new normal? I am a mom to two beautiful but very young children who keep me very busy at home. Not commuting allows me the ability to spend more time with my family, take some much-needed exercise and we can keep on top of the inevitable home chores.
I am fortunate that my husband is a modern man and we share the load at home. Having work flexibility is a great help too especially when the kiddies are sick or other life stuff arises – it means that I am more likely to logon after hours in a non-begrudging way when the need arises.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
It’s important to me to maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. My job and career give me the important mental stimulation that I need, but I love staying active by running, walking and cycling.
My family are a crucial part of my emotional well-being and being sapped in one area is really devastating for another area. I am a spiritual being and getting up early to pray is a vital part of my day – having that quiet time that I need to recoup.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I try to be mindful about what I do every day and doing some sort of outdoor activity has been part of my daily routine for ages – I actually schedule these times in my diary around work and family commitments or I try to be flexible and make family time the outdoor time by going cycling as a family, as an example.
I have been less diligent about my spiritual time, and this has changed over the years from doing a lot to a little to none to some. I recently started waking up early and taking time out for this quiet time -it is the best way to start my day. I’ve even set up a virtual prayer group once a week with friends in the UK, at 5:30am, my time.
Sleep is imperative too and although I can get by on a lot less sleep since becoming a mom, I like to be in bed at around 9pm – as the kiddies are getting bigger, my sleep is getting better.
On a lighter note, I tend to go overboard with sugary treats so from time to time I take a break from my chocolate habit as a way of being more mindful about my choices.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big advocate of gut health in terms of staying health and having good immunity – I really recommend The Clever Guts Diet, by Dr Michael Mosley. This is crucial to maintaining good physical, mental and emotional health.
The Barefoot Investor is also another great read and really gives some practical financial advice that you can put into practice.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
OneNote has revolutionised the way that I make notes that are organised and easy and quick to reference. I also love Microsoft Teams and the background change function that allows me to do my video calls in a designer office or home background. My new AirPods are great too – the handsfree functionality is so convenient and slick.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d love to hear from someone like Pip Marlow, Salesforce CEO, Australia, or my Managing Director at Ecolab, Jan Pacas. It really does mean different things to different people and I often wonder how people leading an organisation find balance in their day to day lives.
It would also be very interesting for me to hear from, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern especially as she is around my age group and has a young child.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t over-complicate things, schedule in your balance and be flexible about changing this daily if needed (based on your priority changes). It’s OK to take a break and rest too – actually, that is essential to having balance.
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