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12/30/2012

The New Normal A Day in the Life

We spent some time with three executives to understand how their work styles and schedules are shaping up these days. What we found were three people trying to balance both their personal and professional lives in a time where specified work hours are a thing of the past.

 

We spent some time with three executives to understand how their work styles and schedules are shaping up these days. What we found were three people trying to balance both their personal and professional lives in a time where specified work hours are a thing of the past.

Margaret Alrutz
Director of Healthcare Strategy
Nurture by SteelcaseGrand Rapids, Mich.









 

6-8 a.m. Prepping/Commute I wake up and grab my phone right away to make sure that there’s no urgent email or calls that need to be responded to before I start getting ready. I check that a couple of times before I leave the house. On my way into the office, I’ll get a couple of phone calls in, and sometimes I actually have conference calls scheduled for the morning on my way in.
8-8:30 a.m. Personal Work I’ll usually at least try to stop into one of the hoteling stations, check my schedule, and see if there’s anything I can quickly finish, otherwise I’m probably headed straight into a meeting.
8:30-11 a.m. Strategy Meetings
11 a.m-Noon Conference Call CANCELED I’ll think twice before I move a meeting; it’s not something you take lightly. You think that people are flexible and schedules are changing all of the time, but at the same time, your day is so packed that if you do decide to move a meeting, you’d better have a good sense of where that’s going to be, because you could be a couple weeks out on somebody’s calendar.
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch Appointment Right now our café is under construction, so we walk next door to the WorkCafe at the [Steelcase] headquarters building. Sometimes I’ll say, “I’ll be five minutes late so I can grab lunch.” Sometimes folks will just walk with me and say, “Can we meet over there?” And we’ll start the meeting as we’re walking, grab lunch and try to find a spot to work.
1-2 p.m. Concentrated Work There’s a very large space at the headquarters’ campus—if I’m over there for a lunch meeting, and I have time to get some work done, I might just stay in that building and feel pretty confident that I could find a space to just kind of hang out, and nobody would look at me sideways … Space is fungible, in the sense that I don’t have to be at my own space to get things done.
2-5 p.m. Decision Meetings
5-6 p.m. Winding Down I’ll frequently have conference calls that start at 5 or 5:30, which I try to plan to be in the car for. I’ll do a couple of things if I’m not on a conference call. I’ll call family or friends, just to catch up with them. I start to reconnect with home and the different things I have to do, or just reconnect with them in general.

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Michael Salguero
Co-Founder + CEO
CustomMade
Cambridge, Mass.
www.custommade.com
 

2 p.m. Product Meeting As CEO, I oversee both day-to-day operations of the company and manage product development. We’re meeting to discuss how to make the part of the website where buyers message artisans (we call them “makers”) more user-friendly. CustomMade is an online matchmaker connecting people who want and make custom goods. We offer a better alternative to buying mass-produced products and make it easy for makers to connect with buyers who want one-of-a-kind creations.
2:45 p.m. Walk to Google Meeting Google Ventures is a CustomMade investor and we’re walking over to the Google offices here in Cambridge, Mass. for a meeting—that is unless my business partner, co-founder and COO Seth Rosen, wants to drive (which I doubt). We like to take advantage of our surroundings here and our proximity to certain things. For example, we’re right across from the CambridgeSide Galleria Mall and a few blocks from the Charles River. Often times, if there’s a one-on-one that needs to happen, people will take a walk down the river and meet or do laps around the mall and talk rather than sitting in a meeting room.
3 p.m. Meeting with Rich Miner of Google Ventures and Co-Founder of Android Rich wanted to discuss the site’s usability for buyers and had some suggestions he wanted to share on how to make it more streamlined. It’s a small part of the site, but one of the most important because it’s how buyers tell us what custom creation they want. Meetings like these are one of the coolest parts about being in the Google Ventures portfolio: not only do we have access to capital to fund our growth, but we get access to a lot of the intellectual wealth from Google as well.
4:15 p.m. Pit Stop at the Cambridge Athletic Club On the walk back from Google, I stop off at the Cambridge Athletic Club for a quick run before heading back to the office for happy hour. CustomMade subsidizes employee gym memberships there. This is one of the things that I’m working on to improve my daily schedule—how to effectively integrate exercise. I think much better, I’m happier and I’m much more alert if I’m exercising every day.
5:30 p.m. Happy Hour with the Team We have happy hours every other Friday in addition to free lunches brought in every Wednesday. Sometimes happy hours will go as late as 9 or 10 p.m., even on a Friday, when you’d think everyone would want to get home. We kind of followed suit from our investors at Google by implementing these things—they believe that feeding people well keeps them creative. Plus, we just have a good group of people here that’s fun to share a beer with on a Friday night after a long week of work.

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Anthony Minite
President + CEO
Bentley Prince Street
Los Angeles, Calif.








 

5:30-7 a.m. Prep for Day If I’m not traveling, I’m here at our manufacturing facility, where I love to be. I start my day early; we have an onsite gym, so I try to do the right thing by working out in the morning, say around 5:30 a.m. I’m in my office and behind my desk by 7.
7-9 a.m. East Coast Contacts I really try to get a lot of my East Coast stuff done early, so 7-9 is my time, whether it be webinars or phone calls to catch up with other regions, our sales offices or our investment partners in New York. In that two hours, I’ll probably burn through some emails so I can stay more productive during the day and not always focus on the accessibility. I want to be accessible, but I also have to be able to take the time to do the things I need to do.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. On the Move With the iPhones and iPads that we use, I’m doing presentations all of the time and am able to work my day, approve contracts and do the things that I have to do to manage a company of our size. I really can do it all mobile today, much more than we could only 2-5 years ago.
3 p.m. Second Shift Walkthrough Normally, in the late afternoon when the second shift is starting or the first shift is ending, I try to be on the floor for 30 minutes. When I’m on the floor, I’m interacting with our associates and seeing how their days are going—the good, the bad, the ugly. That’s always a good part of my day when I get to really walk around and see our people and what’s going on.
7 p.m. Closing the Day We work long hours, and that’s why I’ll tell you that the day is ever-changing. I try to be back in the car no later than 7 if I’m not traveling. I wish I could take a little more of that work-balance to heart, but that’s the beauty of building teams. I have a great team, and my direct reports are all different in their strengths than mine. Where I’m not good at certain things, other people on the team will be.