In normal circumstances, my job involves… bringing affordable, renewable energy to as many homes as possible. Bulb has grown to supply clean energy to 1.7 million homes in the UK and we’ve recently expanded to Spain, France and Texas as well.
In the past month, the biggest change to my day-to-day work has been… the explosion of back-to-back virtual meetings. I find that you need more conversations scheduled in advance now that you can’t just walk by someone’s desk and have a spontaneous chat. I’d taken for granted those precious minutes you spend between meetings, the pauses that help you to reset. Now, it’s straight into the next virtual meeting.
I’m adapting to working remotely by… surrounding myself with as much greenery as possible. We’ve got lots of plants in Bulb HQ, which really brightens the mood. Now my home office is looking as nice as at work. I’ve been developing my green thumb by making ficus-tree cuttings, which I’m looking forward to giving to friends.
The recent innovation I’m most proud of is… Bulb’s new carbon calculator, which we launched right before lockdown. I’m proud that we’re now able to offer a simple way for people to calculate and offset their carbon emissions. Holidays and commuting to work are both big sources of emissions, but are on hold for a lot of us. In response to this, we improved the tool to help people reflect more on how things such as our shopping habits affect their carbon footprint.
The most significant challenge has been… onboarding new team members virtually. Since lockdown, we’ve had more than 130 new starters join Bulb, so getting everyone rowing in the same direction has been a challenge. We’ve learnt a lot, though, about communicating while being based in different locations, which will certainly help us as we continue to grow internationally.
I’m keeping my team motivated by… finding moments of fun during the day. We run a different social event every Friday morning; so far, we’ve done our own ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, a virtual scavenger hunt and dressed as our secret alter ego… much to the surprise of people we had meetings with later that day.
For me, leadership during a crisis means… good forward planning, the ability to adapt quickly and very clear communication.
My role model for crisis management is… Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister. I was raised in New Zealand, and her practicality, empathy and good humour make me very proud to be a Kiwi. She’s been really quick on her feet, and sees the bigger picture. In a press conference recently, she confirmed to a journalist that the Easter Bunny was indeed an essential worker, but that it might be difficult for them to visit every house, as they needed to care for their own bunnies at home. She added magic to the world of essential workers, while also giving families who were struggling to celebrate Easter this year an easy out.
The three most important values that will see my business through adversity are… action, adaptability and agility. It’s important to be able to make good plans, but it’s equally important to be able to adapt them quickly. I’m very proud that, in under a week, we provided the training and technology to equip a 200-strong team with a completely new set of skills. They’d been trained to talk to people about Bulb in supermarkets and in person, but are now able to do this over the phone. Those values are what will see our business through adversity.
The biggest change I hope we’ll see in my industry post-crisis is… the rise of collaborative working. In recent months, we’ve seen energy suppliers work with each other, as well as with governments, to fight the Covid-19 crisis and support citizens. This isn’t necessarily unique to the energy industry; I think many businesses have pulled together in this way. We’ve all got an opportunity now to focus on making the changes we’ll need to build a greener future. I hope everyone can band together again to tackle climate change with the same sense of urgency and unity.
The one thing I can’t wait to do when all this is over is… go scuba diving. I love the feeling of being underwater and being completely immersed in nature. Nothing clears your mind like swimming next to a vortex of barracudas.
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