Bow-Tie Briefing – Tête-à-tête with Melissa Willock of Informa Group (part 2)

Two weeks ago, in our Bow-Tie Briefing, my dear colleague Melissa Willock – group travel director & head of corporate events of our parent company Informa Group, shared her views on the corporate travel industry. Let’s continue to deeper dive and discuss her views on well-being and work-life balance. 

Benson: Love the beautiful photos behind you, are you working from home now? 

Melissa: Yes, I’ve been working from home since February last year. It’s been good and it’s been bad! Good, because it helps me regain my balance, a new notion – home-life balance. My children love to see me around at home. Bad, because we miss seeing our colleagues so much. But I do go back to my office from time to time, not very frequently though. Some work still inevitably requires to be fulfilled in the office. It’s lovely to be back in the office environment to see people and to have face-to-face meetings. Working from home is fine and this keeps our business going, even in lockdown mode. However, we are all human beings, we want to get back to the office to interact with our team. In the future, there will be a new normal with a new balance. It will be a hybrid mode – sometimes working from home, sometimes back in the office. Working from home definitely has its benefits, but sometimes there is no better place to work than in the office. I am looking forward for a more balanced approach in the future. 

Benson: No doubt, there are many different schools of thought. From a well-being angle, we heard that some staff are commenting that they have difficulties to find the right time to switch off their laptop. What’s your view?

Melissa: Actually, if not managed right, working from home can be a danger. Using my own experience as an example, I have never been so tired working in the office before. People think, “Well! it’s not too bad to take an 8am or 9pm call, since I am at home, so let’s take it!” As time goes on, there are more out of office hours online meetings. If time management is not managed well, there is a danger of unbalance. Let me share some best practices:

  • I am now officially putting break time into my diary such as lunch breaks. I will get up for a walk, get some food, do some stretching exercises during lunch;    
  • Whether it is 5pm or 6 pm, your normal end of office time, you should shut your laptop down or put your pen down. You say to yourself, it is enough for today;
  • I am lucky to be able to spare one room in my house to use as my office. So I make it clear that other parts of my home are exclusive for family life only. But I will transform myself to working mode when I am in the room which I assigned as my office; 
  • Try to be away from the laptop during off-office time. Make it your daily habit that you check or reply to urgent emails via mobile phone in critical situations only; 
  • We should always remind ourselves of this ideology: Home should not be associated with work. I know it is hard, but the line has to be drawn very clearly, in order not to fall into the trap of work-life unbalance. 

As a preview, we will continue this in-depth dialogue focusing on travel technology with Melissa in the next and final edition of Tête-à-tête with Melissa , so please stay tuned! 😊

Bow-Tie Briefing shares the views of Benson Tang, a corporate travel thought leader and executive director of the CTC – Corporate Travel Community. Benson’s remarkable career in travel started more than 25 years ago and his extensive knowledge of the corporate travel sector has made him a sought-after speaker and lecturer.

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