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A day in the life of Lucy Fry, Process Design Consultant

I am very much used to working from home having done so for 10+ years in my career, but that has been with the luxury of having the house to myself, husband at his office and children at school or childcare. So, I found lock down was a tricky transition:  balancing a normal workday with family distractions and the added task of attempting to educate our young ones simultaneously.  At Symatrix, as a team, I think we have all got used to and been accepting of being on calls with colleagues where family members tip-toe into view to fetch something;  or (if they are lucky)   deliver a hot drink!  Where children interrupt a call with “I’m hungry” or “what’s for pudding?”  I don’t think this is  unique to Symatrix, but applicable to everyone trying to do the best they can, as  human beings, balancing their work life  with the  people in their lives  and  sharing their home and work space.  

In normal times, a regular day for me would start with chivvying all to dress, eat, clean teeth; then the childcare run before school; to be at my desk with a coffee by 8.30am. At the start of lock down I changed my routine and the day began by setting the alarm early to be at my desk working for   an hour or so, before then attempting to get the children out of bed to do school work in a structured fashion.  However, our aspirations to be model home educators was not reflected in the level of enthusiasm (or lack of it) shown by our children to engage in home learning;   so this routine did not last long.  After months of lock down, my husband and I sat at our respective desks, the children stumbled out of bed whenever they woke naturally, helped themselves to food and then negotiated with us access to the various bits of technology and screens dotted around the house.   We did instil some good behaviours; they usually asked if they could go on the tech, and at lunch time I usually remembered to tell them to clean their teeth.  Thank goodness the schools reopened in September for their sakes more than anything else.

My role is within the Symatrix Delivery team in the area of HR improvement consultancy. I often observe during the consultancy discovery phase - when looking at an organisation’s current processes - that it is astonishing how many of these have become bogged down over time and need to be unpicked. These legacy processes continue to be followed because they remain unchallenged, because “this is the way it has always been done” or because “this is the way the system was implemented at the time”.   When the investment is made to get all relevant stakeholders in a room to walk through a process, it can be a real eye opener for all involved.  Through our consultative work and expert advice we have helped our clients streamline their processes and introduce new efficiencies. This has helped save many hundreds of days effort; reducing their costs through simply examining their processes and using our experience and expertise to recommend tweaks and enhancements.

As well as delivering the HR improvement consultancy I also spend time qualifying opportunities and responding to bids where we think we can use our extensive HR experience to add value.  This is coupled with proposals for existing clients where need has been identified.  Through our expertise as a company providing BPO payroll and managed services, as a team we are able to apply that knowledge to our clients requirements to  quickly  recognise and learn where a process is faulty and needs to be addressed.  For example, monitoring our service helpdesk calls can identify where similar issues are raised and this might be related to a poor process or a specific training requirement.   

The best days are those where we actually have the customer facing workshops.  I particularly enjoy meeting new people and learning, digging into the reasons why something has been done a certain way. Then challenging the status quo and encouraging productive dialogue and positive thought processes to identify quick improvements.   

As a family, we will eat together in the evening, and we have got into the habit of watching and playing along with Richard Osman’s House of Games. It is quite a calming to have on, and switches the brain away to something different and everyone in the family can join in.  Now some things have started to re-open we are getting out and about more, but in these last months we have walked extensively around the local streets observing architecture or parks and paths we had never noticed before.  It seems that things may not  get back to the way they were  before this pandemic for a long time and the months ahead may actually get much worse before they get better, so  until then we will  take each socially distanced step forward balancing the busy lives that so many of us share.

About the author

Lucy Fry

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