Our MD, Marcus Brew, recently took part in Business Leader’s Q&A series, ‘My Working Day’, speaking about various aspects of his daily routine. If you missed the original article, catch up here…
What time do you usually wake up?
I’ve always been an early riser, probably because I’ve spent so many years travelling the length and breadth of the country, as well as internationally. I typically start my day at 05:30, often because I’ll be having calls with our Austrian HQ by 06:30, and if I’ve got a day in the office I’ll be at my desk by 08:00.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
If I’m at home I’ll try to make sure I have something nutritious, like a banana smoothie. But I can always be tempted by a bacon butty!
What is the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
I’ll have tried to plan my day the evening before, so more often than not I’m just up and off. As soon as I’m awake, I’d rather get cracking, so I don’t typically have any morning downtime.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I’m already aware of my ‘to do’ list, so I’ve got a good sense of focus, the minute my working day begins.
I try to make savvy use of travel time into work so I’m often on the phone as I’m heading into the office. Calls will typically be with our sales director Gary Moore, or Austria, as I’ve said. I do spend quite a bit of time in the car – I still try and visit as many client sites as possible, so I can see our shredding solutions in action and hear how they’re performing long after the sale. This first-hand feedback is sought by our own team in the North of England, but also our colleagues at our Austrian HQ.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
We’ve recruited carefully, so people throughout the business are responsible for their own areas, but they know they can come to me should they need support or want to progress something a little differently. If they need to speak to me, meetings – however brief – therefore usually take the priority.
I’m careful when it comes to planning and I block out time to complete pressing tasks – if it’s diarised, it gets done. Being structured with my day, or week, helps other people too as my availability is very transparent. We allow the plans to be fluid though, as it’s impossible to anticipate everything that could come up in a typical 24 hours.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
Plan them, absolutely – you can’t underestimate the importance of sitting down together around a table, even if you’re hundreds of miles away from each other. Structure helps to keep them on track, as otherwise the day could soon disappear. We circulate agendas in advance too, to help share and manage expectations. People can prepare what they need to, then the time spent in the meeting is therefore of maximum value. If we start to go off tangent, we identify the distraction and, if necessary, plan a separate discussion on that point.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
I’d love to say I take a break as I do think it’s important and I encourage my colleagues to get their steps up, enjoy some fresh air or simply divert their eyes from the screen so they get a quick recharge. But I unfortunately don’t heed my own advice and I’m usually always at my desk come lunchtime!
When does your working day finish?
When it’s finished! I’ve spent my whole career working long days, for different reasons, so I’m used to late nights. Whether I’m away for an event, socialising with a client, sifting through CVs for our expanding team, or simply finishing up an important report in the office, I’ll stay until 20:00, or later, if I need to.
Since we invested in a shredder test centre at our North Yorkshire HQ, we’ve hosted a lot more clients at our office. If we’re putting on a conference, it’s all hands on deck the night before to ensure everything is in place before our guests arrive. On the day of the event itself we’ll often all go out for dinner when the programme ends, to continue the discussions over some great food and drink.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I find it really helpful to spend 10 minutes reviewing everything at the end of the day, as knowing what we closed off, or didn’t, helps form the next day’s plan.
I have a constant eye on my diary, with the help of our executive support manager Sharon, and will update tomorrow if today creates new actions or spill-over tasks.
Favourite piece of technology?
I think the Connected Drive in the BMW is brilliant – it’s like having a mobile office, which is fantastic when you end up spending a week on the road.
How do you switch off?
I get out on my bike, when I can. You can’t beat the fresh air.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Be yourself and be confident in who you are.
I recently spoke to our team about the importance of the person, particularly during the sales process. We’re building relationships, all the time, and if you’re not authentic, customers and colleagues will soon see through that.