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A week in the life of…our Operations Director

A week in the life of…our Operations Director

East On Projects’ Operation Director, Hayley White, tells us about how she keeps the wheels turning across the business…

Hi Hayley, our first question for you is, “do you have an average week?”

I guess the answer to that is yes and no! By nature I am a planner and the best way to prepare for the unexpected curve balls that life throws at the business is to have a daily routine that ensures all our priorities are covered as a matter of course. That way, we can cope with the unpredictable.

So every morning my first task is to scan and action any urgent emails that have come through. I then work through bank reconciliations, manage Credit Control and arrange any required payments to suppliers.

We hear that you are a stickler for detail?

Yes, that’s very true! All my emails are categorised and colour coded for easy identification as I’m a visual person. This means that it’s very easy for me to ensure that anything needed for customers can be acknowledged by return and then actioned once I know that the customer has been reassured we are aware of their request.

How do you split the requirements of your role?

I tend to think of this in 3 key areas: Finance and Banking, then Customer Service support and finally, ensuring I cover the requirements of my board role. I’m very much the “implementer” of the team whilst the rest of the board have the vision for the business.

For me, it’s very much about keeping the show on the road. For example, we are just in the first review period of our ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations, so it falls to me to ensure that we are maintaining these quality standards throughout the business.

Are you predominantly office-based?

Because of the amount of policies and other documents I deliver to the business, I work from my home office in order to have time to focus without distractions. I can then really prioritise collaborative working when I am in our London office and can use the commuting time for planning.

How does Tech fit into East On Projects?   

We have migrated much of our operational functionality to, which works seamlessly throughout the business because there is such good functionality. What’s been great for us is that we have been able to introduce this gradually, with free trials of various features and learning by testing so that we don’t admit defeat at the first hurdle.

Tell us more about how your career path took you to the Operations Director role…

I took an apprenticeship in Customer Services, that’s why I am so passionate about Apprenticeships to this day. I’d initially planned to do A levels in primarily creative subjects, but the opportunity came up to learn (and earn) through “doing” and I jumped at the chance. This was a fantastic springboard to a wide variety of roles in growing businesses, all of which shared the same features of needing highly organised team members with the ability to stick to a plan consistently without sacrificing innovation.

The other characteristic I’ve noticed throughout my career is that I’ve had many strong female mentors who have supported my career development, even to this day, and it’s very important to me that I can give back to the next generation of colleagues with the same levels of support.

Is there a mantra or phrase that you swear by?

Definitely!  “Always acknowledge first and action second“. Works for me every time!

Thanks Hayley, we’ll let you get back to those colour-coded emails!