Office across the world are shut because of the Covid-19 crisis, but plenty of office managers are busier than ever.
Kirsty Roebuck certainly is.
As well as ensuring her team of ReelWorld radio makers are staying productive in their home bases, she’s keeping her children occupied.
When we sat down to chat – in between exercise sessions and school lessons with her kids – Kirsty explained the role Pleo plays in adjusting to the new normal.
First up, how would you explain what ReelWorld does?
We make radio sound wow.
So when you listen to your favourite station, we make the jingles, the branding, the little music beds when the presenters talking. If you listen to shows like Greg James on BBC Radio 1, you’ve heard what we do – and we do it for radio stations across the world.
What brought you guys to Pleo?
We had been using company cards from a bank and every single month it was just a pain.
I’d get receipts in a right messy pile, or the team would have to trawl through their inbox for stuff they’d bought online.
I told my boss that we needed to find a better way to manage expenses, one that really worked for us.
Any other headaches you’d encountered with using bank cards?
Well because we’re an American company, it wasn’t as simple as we would have liked to get company cards with a lot of banks. It was actually really difficult.
Whereas I couldn’t believe how quickly we got set up with Pleo.
What has Pleo changed in the way ReelWorld runs?
Well, most importantly, It’s saved us money.
We’re not having to pay the additional fees on credit cards – we were getting a lot of transaction fees when the guys were overseas on work trips.
To see a 15p transaction fee, again and again, all down a card statement, it was frustrating.
Not having those fees has probably saved us thousands.
What has the pandemic meant for you guys?
A lot of our producers work from home – so while we’ve got our head office in Seattle and our European base in Salford… for the majority of our employees, work’s just the same!
But I’m a real people person and for those of us that were in the office most days, it does feel weird. Everyone’s in the same boat though, so we’re just doing what we can.
And even though you’re out of the office, you’re helping everyone stay productive?
Yeah, that’s been what’s kept me busy!
If the guys have needed a new computer, a good quality chair for their home, things like that are what I’ve been helping them with.
It’s been handling things we couldn’t have predicted too, like insurance – making sure we’re covered even though we’re not in the office any more.
Before all these big changes, what were you using Pleo for?
I make sure the office is fully stocked: Drinks, snacks, fruit, stationery. But then I help with all the travel for the team too: trains, flights, conferences.
There are the little things too like the Amazon vouchers we give everyone on their birthdays – I use Pleo to buy those. Plus I’ve got some subscriptions on my card… so it literally is used for everything!
It’s the convenience that makes my job easier – if I go to the shop to just buy a pint of milk, I snap the receipt on the way back and it’s done. Because God forbid we run out of milk for people’s tea.
What’s stood out from the past few weeks for you and how you do your job?
I remember asking myself as I closed up the office: how long is this for? Little things like my plants – what about my plants?!
I like to check in that everyone’s all right. So we’ve been having a daily huddle and people are Slacking me to have a quick chat.
Sometimes it’s exactly what you need if you’ve been indoors with your wife or husband or children all day. Instead of a change of pace, t’s a change of face that matters now.
Finishing on a positive, what do you think companies might learn from the current crisis?
I think working from home will become much more the norm.
Potentially it’s going to save everyone a lot more money: no rent on offices, no cleaner to cover, no plants to water.
I think a lot of companies have realised they can do remote working. They really can!