We’re often asked by interview candidates what an “average” day is like in the STEAK offices. Amongst the regular posts we make about digital industry topics, we’re posting a series of “day in the life” pieces to give candidates a flavour of what it’s like to work at STEAK, under the title “STEAK Digital Days”.
Here’s the latest by STEAK Co-Founder and COO, Duncan Parry.
My role at STEAK has changed several times over the years. When we started the agency in 2005 I was hands-on delivering STEAK SEO and PPC campaigns for clients; since then I’ve focused solely on PPC, moved to a client services role and now I’m COO. My day has changed with my role – when you’re focused on your client’s campaigns in search, the performance of your campaigns, optimisations and responding to client requests is your bread and butter and shapes your day.
When my role moved away from being in the day-to-day driving seat of campaigns, other demands now shape my day – meetings, pitches, working with marketing teams, agency network requests etc. all require attention.
My average day in 2012 starts around 7:15 A.M. on the train, checking emails and often catching our Australian office at the end of their day. From there I move on to news sites, Google Reader and Facebook. This continues when I get into the office around 8 A.M., followed by any personal chores and then looking at my diary for the day and writing a to-do list.
The varied nature of my role means my time is pulled in different directions and I have to juggle several balls and a long action list. I’ve come to rely on Wunderlist as my task management app, with lists broken down per area of the company or topic, professional and personal. Usefully it synchs across my HTC, a Mac app and browser, so I can add to it from any device and set reminders – I guess it and my mobile are the 2012 equivalent of a battered Filofax.
My day unfolds after 9 A.M. into meetings, emails, writing, working with our Senior Planner, new business, contributing to STEAK’s social presence, recruitment, suppliers…and anything else that “crops up”. Some things are consistent – emails, last minute requests, the need to read every day to stay up-to-date with the constant rate of change in the industry. Other days will be completely different. I can find myself spending one day in front of my screen, and another in back-to-back meetings or on a train crossing the country for a pitch.
The best days are the ones where you go home feeling you’ve really achieved something that day, be it helping a client overcome a challenge in their business, hiring somebody with real talent or seeing something you’ve written being shared and commented on.
One thing I’ve learnt is to make sure you take time during the day to catch-up with yourself – on busy days, everything can rush at you and if you’re not careful, you’ll not have time to process anything… Until you are lying in bed at 2 A.M. unable to get to sleep!
So I empty my head into notes or a to-do list before I start relaxing – that’s how I use my commute home, answering any lingering emails, deleting old ones and updating my to-do list. Emails slow down but keep coming as the UK relaxes – we’ve offices in New York and LA and the US industry is in full flow in the UK evening. I aim to “switch off” from work when I step-off the train; not something I always achieve as I’m a night-owl by instinct.