I've used my time in lockdown to learn new skills; a work-life balance interview with Louise Maclean

In our latest work-life balance interview we spoke to Louise Maclean. She's mastered Christmas wreath making just in time for the holidays and is about to tackle learning sign language too.

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What has surprised you most about lockdown?

How much I enjoy staying at home now. If I didn’t have something booked in my diary I would plan something or I would feel like I had wasted a weekend. I am normally a busy bee, always spending time with my friends and family. Lockdown has made me realise I need downtime to just stop, refresh and spend time at home cooking and watching movies.

What did not expect about working in the insurance industry?

The amount of opportunities there are and all the different layers to our business. I started in the contact centre and now work in our HR department. I have also been lucky enough to be involved in so many different projects including setting up the More Than office in Cape Town. The culture and the people there are so lovely. It was such a rewarding experience and is one of my happiest memories working at RSA. 

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

Relaxing at home, and really enjoying planning to stay in and have some downtime.

How did you get into insurance?

My friend worked in Aviva and she recommended me for part time hours while I was studying. I then left Aviva and went to be a mortgage advisor but didn’t enjoy it. I saw More Than were hiring and I really enjoyed working in insurance at Aviva so I applied and was successful and started in RSA.

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

TV Gold! It's my guilty pleasure. I love sitting down every night at 9pm to get the daily gossip. It's most exciting when they switch partners, and who doesn’t love the Love island yearly talent show?! 😊

What are your three top tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance?

  • Prioritise your day, and don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Reflect weekly on what’s working and what needs to change to improve
  • Create time to have fun, we are all more productive when we are happy

What was your last google search?

How to create Christmas wreaths. I have used my lockdown downtime to create 2 of my own and I’m really impressed with my new wreath making skills!

What is your main priority at the moment?

To stay positive and help my friends and family, to try and make this lockdown fun by being creative with video’s, zoom parties and quizzes. 

I also volunteer for Dogs Trust. They need help more than ever with more abandoned dogs. As the pandemic has put a hold on running face to face fundraising events, I have set up a just giving page to help them through the Christmas period.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Not for looks (I wish) but I would love Courtney Cox. I see a lot of Monica Gellar in myself and she plays Monica well. 😊

What new skill would you most like to learn?

I have always wanted to learn sign language and I have just booked myself on to a course to finally get started with learning. I am so excited to get stuck in!

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

at the moment I'm watching The Fall on Netflix - it is gripping! The acting is brilliant, I highly recommend it.

How is insurance making the world a better place?

Working in More Than made me so proud daily. The amount we do for our customers, we really do DO MORE. We help people in their time of most need, and we do this phenomenally.

I remember the year with the horrendous floods and our RSA ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) was there giving the local people blankets and cups of tea while they called their claims companies whether you were a customer or not. Also the recent article about what we are doing for our hearing impaired customers. It is just fantastic we are so innovative!

What would be your ideal dinner party menu?

I love Spanish food so it would have to be gambas pil pil to start and seafood paella, crusty bread and potatas bravas for main. If I had any room left for pudding it would be chocolate churros.

The last time I belly-laughed was:

When my boyfriend Joe made steak for his tea. He was really excited to eat it, grabbed the “mayo” off the side, and when he was eating it he said it tasted funny like coconuts. He had grabbed my coconut butter because the bottles look the same. It ruined his dinner but it made me laugh a lot.

Career highlight to date is?

I won Manager of the year at the North West Contact Centre awards. I was then shortlisted for a National Award and won the best UK Manager of the Year 2016. It was a very exciting year! 😊

What is your best travel memory?

Thailand when I was travelling. We went to Monkey beach at Phi Phi island and when I got off the boat a monkey ran up to me and climbed right on to my shoulder.

What would you say to someone considering a career in insurance?

DO IT, the opportunities are endless. The amount of investment and training I have received and the places I’ve visited and the talented people I have met has been so inspiring. My friends always say to me "wow your work sounds brilliant", and I have to agree that it is!

Okay finally, what's your karaoke song?

That's a no-brainer. Spice Girls - 'Say you’ll be there'.