A Day in the Life: Warwick Conferences’ Richard Harrison

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Richard Harrison, head of conference centres at Warwick Conferences

I get up at 6.30am each morning ahead of a 45-minute drive to work – I quite enjoy the commute as it gives me some thinking time and a chance to get my head around my day.

I’m at my desk by 8am and I’m a creature of habit with a set morning routine. I turn my computer on before heading into one of our four training and conference venues to take a look at breakfast, see what’s happening around the building, and speak with staff. On my way back to my desk, without fail, I grab a small pot of coffee. I try to limit myself to two cups a day and have both in the morning.

I then have around 45 minutes of uninterrupted time were I can check emails and catch a breath ready for the day ahead.

My day kicks off properly at 9am with an admin meeting to discuss what is upcoming that week – communication is a massive part of this job.

Over the last 12 months a lot of meetings have related to our newest venue The Slate, which is now open for business. We’ve also had a refurbishment at Scarman with the introduction of a number of creative and informal spaces, and meetings of late have focussed on the closure and re-design of Radcliffe. This is a £6.3m project so it’s key that myself, the architects and project team meet regularly to ensure the projects continue to progress smoothly.

My mornings fly by pretty quickly and when it comes to lunchtime I tend to grab a sandwich between meetings. I try to eat in one of our venues once a week, with our operations manager, venue manager or our head of food. This gives us an opportunity to catch up, but also review the guest experience. Our food is really important to us as a business and we work very hard to ensure it is fresh, locally sourced and sustainable as well as tasting great.

My favourite lunch of the month is when we host a staff table in one of our venues. We invite each department to send two representatives and it is an opportunity for us to talk directly to the team.

Mid-afternoon I try to have a couple of hours at my desk doing emails if I’m lucky.

I leave the office anywhere between 5 and 7pm depending on what we have going on to make sure I am home to see my children and read bedtime stories. They’ve given me permission to miss this once a week, but if it happens too much I know I’ll be in trouble.

I tend to keep my evenings free for downtime, but if it has been a busy week I may dive into emails for half an hour. I enjoy cycling, especially when the sun is shining. My love of food continues at home we have an allotment and you will often find me there on a summer’s evening.

Getting the right work-life balance is incredibly important and I encourage this within my team too. We need to be firing on all cylinders during work hours and this can only happen by taking a well-deserved break in the evening. As in a few hours’ time it all starts again.

Martin Fullard

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Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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