John Cave is our Director here at Shoptimised. Introduced back in 2018, we specialise in product feed optimisation that enables brands to manage their product feeds and incremental Google shopping sales.
Life in lockdown has been challenging for everyone and in this article, we asked John what his typical day looks like, juggling work, home-schooling, dog walks and more.
Most parents will agree that home-schooling is difficult; for the kids and also for parents. I find it’s like trying to juggle jelly, but as parents, we try our best.
We get up early to make breakfast although the longer lockdown goes on, the later we seem to wake up each day. Luckily, my son is an early riser with no snooze button. He pops up like a spring ready to go and is now our official alarm clock. My pre-teen daughter, however, takes some more encouragement to get out of bed.
Once we are up and breakfast is done, we all get ready to start our day. I have noticeably spent the past year transitioning my outfit choices into casualwear comprising mostly of elasticated clothes. We start by reviewing the home-school tasks and then I set the kids away.
Our spare room, which had organically become my son’s playroom before lockdown 1, has now become our office. The smallest room in the house now houses two adults, two kids and two dogs for most of the day. When lockdown first started, we used to work from the kitchen table, but we soon realised it was dangerously close to the fridge.
So then the day begins. My day has a fair level of uniform tasks or pre-planned jobs and projects, my diary is pretty well organised from 8 am to 5, 6,7pm-ish. I like to spin several plates at the same time, but I am also still very customer focused too. So, I always put aside any planned work to deal with any client requests or support tickets making sure they get resolved as quickly as possible. Hearing first-hand and understanding our users’ challenges has led to most of our best innovations.
We stop work frequently to help the kids with schoolwork or to negotiate with them why it is better to focus on doing their work rather than focusing on reasons not to do it.
I am extremely lucky that my wife works mostly from home. She is like the ‘sun in our family universe’, we all gravitate around her, including the dogs. My wife is a key worker (and I am incredibly proud of her for that, she is a superhero in my eyes) so on some days, she has to go to work. Those days when I’m alone with the kids, it’s more challenging to manage everything by myself.
I check in regularly with all the Shoptimised departments throughout the day via video and live chat, whether it’s work-related or just catching up to make sure everything is ok in their world. I’m proud that we have been able to strengthen the family-first values of the company during this pandemic, making sure that everyone in the team feels supported. The well-being of each person is our absolute priority. Now more than ever, it is so important to make sure the people around you know that it’s ok to not be ok and that they can talk to you about it.
I am very proud of the team we have at Shoptimised. I cannot express how grateful I am to all of them. Our whole team is pulling in the same direction and helping each other every day.
At regular intervals, our two very manly, curly dogs will start barking for no reason (usually while I’m in a Zoom call or on Google Meets). Sometimes they just lose their minds completely at the sight of the many delivery vans that drive up and down our street during the day. They really do not like delivery vans and somehow, they now know the difference between a standard work van, which can pass by without causing any response in them, and a DPD, DHL, UPS or Amazon van, which for some reason, sends them into fits of small dog rage.
Shortly after lunch, both my kids usually finish up their schoolwork and then the internet suddenly starts to underperform as more devices connect to Netflix, Fortnite, Roblox, YouTube and Disney+. Does Netflix plus StoryBots plus subtitles count as extra curriculum education?
One of the most challenging things that working from home in lockdown brings is the non-existent finish time. The ‘just one more thing’ mentality can keep you in front of your computer too long, too often. Even now, while I finish writing this, it’s already past 6:40 pm and I am tinkering with the idea of finishing one more task afterwards. So, finding the discipline to stop can be difficult.
Aaand breathe. Once the working day is done, it’s time for a dog walk before most likely settling into another seated position, this time dangerously close to the fridge.