Nick Smith-Shefford is the Business Development Director here at The Lucre Group, where he has been helping to grow the business with his creativity for the past nine years. Here, he shares a day in his life…
The alarm goes off at 5am-ish and the first job of the day is to throw on some scruffs and take my not-so-little puppy out for a walk. I do a good hour or more, walking Tucker through the country paths around Harrogate, the town I call home. This is where I start work… it gives me the headspace to think up creative ideas for the many client briefs we have in hand. As Tucker chases squirrels through the fields and woodlands, inspiration comes for a creative campaign I’m working on for a nationally known food business.
By 6:30am I’m breakfasted and showered, and we’re both ready for the day. I transfer the voice notes from my phone to my laptop and head to the doggy day-care to drop off my boy before making my way into the Leeds office.
As an early bird I am always the first in, but I find it gives me chance to catch up on my early morning thinking and turn it into something ready to share with the relevant account teams. The rest of the team start filtering in from 8am, which also means I get to have a coffee and catch up with them… the ‘water cooler chat’ is alive and well now lockdown has finally lifted!
By 9am the video calls kick in – something that seemed quite odd when home working became enforced but is now just an amazing way to catch up with those not based in Leeds. These last until lunchtime, but I manage to schedule the odd refreshment break as copious amounts of coffee are an absolute necessity before midday!
I won’t lie… I live for lunch! As soon as I’ve eaten my breakfast, I am considering this crucial meal of the day and often disturb others engrossed in work to garner inspiration. Today I’ve opted for the delights of Wasabi and as it’s a good ten minutes’ walk away, it also allows me to get away from my desk and enjoy some fresh air. When I get back to the office, I resist the temptation to take it to my desk and head down to our communal kitchen and lounge space. When we moved into our new office just before lockdown our company opted to dedicate an entire floor to recreational space, so I honour the space sacrifice, plonk myself down on one of the sofas with my teriyaki tofu noodles and put on the latest episode of Bake Off. Some of the others in the team join me and we chat about how we couldn’t bake any better, others cover their eyes, run away and scream ‘spoiler alert’.
After a busy morning of meetings, in the afternoon I dedicate a generous amount of time in a quiet corner of the office to my own thoughts. A key part of my role is to develop creative concepts for potential and existing clients, and I have found that embracing the Dutch concept of niksen (the art of doing nothing!) is the often the best way to get the creative juices flowing. There’ve been many articles about it in recent years and although resistant to it at first, after trying it for myself I found the benefits in spades. It’s why I’ve continued to embrace homeworking in isolation for one or two days a week even after lockdown lifting, as it gives us ‘creatives’ the clarity of mind to develop ideas that we wouldn’t be able to get in a busy office.
As soon as I have drafted my thoughts, it’s a change of pace to tackle a few PowerPoint design jobs in preparation for some meetings we have with prospective clients over the coming days. Luckily our inhouse content division, RICH is on hand to help with the more technical visualisations. To round off the day I cram in a few team catch ups to discuss upcoming campaign plans, plus a meeting with our NPD team on some of the amazing new services they’re developing and I’ll then be marketing. I finish the day with an Outlook blitz, catching up on dozens of emails and calendar invites.
Thanks to my being part of a flexible working business and me being an early bird, my working day is done by 4:30pm, so I say my goodbyes to the team and head back to Harrogate. I’m still in a bit of a creative flow from my day so I take more voice notes on the commute back. Once home, it’s prepping the dinner, taking the pup for his evening walk and waiting for my husband to get home. It’s midweek and we’re trying to go meat free during the week so it’s a new tofu dish I stumbled upon whilst doing some desk research for a client, accompanied by the latest episode of Ru Pauls Drag Race UK. Watching the episode gives me another amazing idea for a brief we have in… something to start the day off with a bang tomorrow!