Kate Maclean, Administration Officer
In our working lives, it is common to frequently deal with ambiguity. Furthermore, being able to make sound decisions in the face of incomplete information is an important skill to possess. However, I believe that when dealing with work performance, the criteria you are being assessed against should never be ambiguous. At Real People - through frequent supervisions and informal chats in the office - I always knew what was expected of me and understood the standard of work I was supposed to deliver. Absolute clarity surrounding expectations and objectives gives employees the opportunity to excel at their job, and also makes them responsible for the work they complete.
2. The benefits of establishing boundaries between work-life and home-life.
Since working at Real People I have never been contacted outside of work hours, unless it was an absolute necessity. This psychological detachment (which I have written about previously) allowed me to recover from the working day and maintain a healthy work-life balance. The mere fact I was able to complete a full time MSc degree whilst working three days a week at Real People is a testament to the benefits of establishing such boundaries. In order to protect employee psychological wellbeing, staff need to be given the opportunity to be away from work mentally as well as physically.
3. The joy of working with positive and kind colleagues.
The Real People bunch are an exceptionally warm group of people. To highlight this, I want to share one particular occurrence that has always stuck with me. Last year when I was struggling with my University workload, Luke took me aside and suggested I should make use of our flexible working policy and work short days for the week as he didn't want to see me burn out. Luke then asked if there was anything he could do to lighten my workload. Aside from this being a lovely gesture, it is one that makes business sense. Allowing me to take a shorter week stopped my stress levels from skyrocketing, made me feel valued and important, and increased my feelings of loyalty to the consultancy. A little kindness can go a long way.
4. Leading by example.
Finally, my colleagues at Real People are extremely hard working and flexible. At the drop of a hat, I’ve seen the consultants change their plans and traipse to the other end of the country to do training or present at a conference. If I have ever needed any help with any of my work, they are all more than happy to stop what they are doing and lend me a hand. This sort of behaviour inspires employees, and sets a standard that people wish to emulate. It conveys the message that we are all in it together, all working as hard as each other and to the same high standard. This is perhaps the most important ingredient for a healthy workplace culture, and luckily, Real People has it in buckets.
I have enjoyed every second I've spent with Real People, and will miss everyone here so much. It has been a wonderful experience and I feel very lucky to have worked with such intelligent and caring people.
I wish them all the luck for the future (although I don’t think they’ll need it!).