Gemma Middleton’s Friday Reflections – Out on the road…

It’s that time again…Friday reflections are quickly becoming one of my favourite 15 minutes of the week. I’d love to say that I have always taken time to pause and look back over the week to celebrate and assess what has happened, but that would be a lie. It’s all too easy not to step off the work treadmill, although I actually feel the Stairmaster is a better comparison. (Other sweat inducing stair machines at the gym are available).

This week, I was invited to a customer conference along with Unique IQ’s very own legend, Keeley Evans, Senior Service Desk Analyst. What Keeley doesn’t know about our care management system or the history of Unique IQ is not worth knowing.

The conference was the first time that I had sat in a room with one of our franchise customers and their franchisees in attendance. It was really interesting to be a part of the day and listen to what their up-and-coming focus as a group was for the rest of the year, as well as hear the honest stories of their franchisees, from established players to pre-CQC businesses.

It was lovely to see the camaraderie between the different branches. There was a real belief and sense of pride in what they were doing, as well as an acknowledgement that it wasn’t easy.

The home care market is a tough industry for all those operating in it; I knew this before the conference, but seeing the commitment in the room just pressed this message home. The nature of the market is very responsive, and recruitment is still proving to be one of the most challenging aspects for business owners.

Yet this week’s news highlighted another area that business owners really have to focus attention on, data security. What happened to the four London hospitals was just another reminder of the massive impact that getting hacked or experiencing a data breach can have.

Personally, watching the story unfold in the news really hit home. The consequences felt much greater, given how many operations were cancelled as the data breach will undoubtedly have impacted many people’s health and quality of life. It has definitely made me think about upping my own knowledge and keeping my data and passwords as secure as possible.

I valued the unofficial parts of the day just as much as the actual conference. Unfortunately for Keeley, she was trapped in a car as my chief passenger while I drove us up to Derby. Although I feel part of the furniture at Unique IQ, there is still so much I don’t know, and whilst Keely was strapped (quite literally) next to me, it was great to find out more about her home and work life. As the main person to speak to our customers and help them when they need it, listening to what she had to say gave me loads of ideas for future campaigns, as well as quite a few laughs.

I do find getting out and about, away from the desk at home and in the office (I’m a big lover of hybrid working), really helps me gain perspective and fresh ideas. I will definitely be getting out and about a lot more over the coming months, and I will no doubt continue to share my ramblings.

And with the end of the week comes the downtime of the weekend – I hope everyone has a good one!