In my spare time I'm an online and club DJ: a work-life balance interview with Ashley Douglas

"It was only once I started working in insurance that I understood how truly fundamental the insurance industry is to the economy."

What has surprised you most about lockdown?

That I actually miss the ‘corridor’ interactions in the office more than I expected!

I’ve always been an advocate for flexible working (in terms of location and time), and have cherished the ability to be able to work at home from time to time, but being forced to do so permanently has definitely come as a bit of a shock to the system.

I won’t be the first to admit that I am quite looking forward to getting into our Walkie Talkie once again!

What, from this time, would like to keep in the new normal?

While I’m keen to see friends and colleagues again, it would be a shame to lose the progress we’ve made in terms of enabling people to work from home.

I’d like to see us actively encourage flexible working where we have the means to, in order to better support those of us with dependents, non-work aspirations, and for those who simply want a better work-life balance.

What have you learned about yourself in this time?

It’s really important to have the discipline to look after yourself – this has probably never been truer for those of us now working at home and the lines between work time and personal time becoming blurred – and that we need to allow ourselves to disconnect from the virtual office.

How did you get into insurance?

As everyone else will say; “by accident”!

I came across an ad for one of the local high street insurance brokers in Croydon. Having spent my first year out of college working in retail, I was pretty much given the job instantly after my interview – dealing with customers in branch and on the phone in respect of all personal lines insurances and associated claims.

Fast forward to 13 years later and here I am!

What did not expect about working in the insurance industry?

It was only once I started working in commercial insurance that I understood how truly fundamental the insurance industry is to the economy.

Without insurance companies acting as the mechanism to transfer risk, businesses would need to hold far more capital to pay for losses – whether they are related to physical property and subsequent loss of income, legal liabilities, medical expenses, and so on.

If this were the case, most businesses wouldn’t be viable, as they wouldn’t able to generate the income to hold such reserves.

What is your main priority at the moment?

Trying to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday!

My wife and I had decided earlier on in the year that we were ready to start looking at moving house. Once the initiative was announced, we knew that we needed to get on with it!

Do you think Love Island is TV gold or TV Fail and why?

TV fail – I’m allergic to any form of reality TV!

What was your last Google search?

Rightmove” – a daily ritual in the life of someone who wants to move home!

Night owl or Early Bird?

Both…which probably explains why I’m a bit more tired than I should be!

I’m at my happiest when…

Indulging myself in one of my two vices; playing music as an online and sometime club DJ, and tinkering with technology.

What is your best travel memory?

I was able to convince my wife to go to Thailand for our honeymoon, where we had the most amazing time. It was her first trip there, and my second.

It’s one of the most beautiful countries we’ve ever been to; the people are lovely, the food is amazing and there is so much culture to soak up and history to learn.

We’re both looking forward to the day we can return…sans masks, hopefully!

What are you currently binge-watching/listening/reading?

Having taken up my professional studies again, I’m binge-reading various CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) study texts!

Beyond that, I’m spending probably too much time on YouTube – I’m planning to build another PC and a lot of the components have moved on in compatibility since I built my last – so I’m having to do a lot of relearning!

Since June, I’ve also been working with a couple of friends to bring our new project to life; Crate Digs. Crate Digs is primarily a music blog and online radio station – we’ve got a growing roster of 15 DJs (spanning various genres), and are planning to start an independent record label too.