My working day: Becky Thoseby, Group Head of Wellbeing, Department for Transport
- 6 Min Read
In a regular new series, HRD Connect speaks with leaders from all different industries about their working day. In our latest feature, we spoke with Becky Thoseby, Group Head of Wellbeing, at The Department for Transport.
Learning from your peers is very important when it comes to overcoming challenges and adapting to new working environments. In a new series launched by HRD Connect we find out how your peers shape and craft their working days.
Becky Thoseby, Group Head of Wellbeing at The Department for Transport
What time does your day start?
It varies depending on what my commitments are, but I’m more of a lark than a night owl. Usually, the alarm goes off at 6 or 7.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Get up! I can’t hit snooze, otherwise, I’d still be in bed at 2 pm.
What for you kick starts your day correctly?
There’s nothing I absolutely have to do, but I find my morning grooming rituals (hair, make up etc) help me collect my thoughts for the day.
What is your commute like to work?
Two days a week I work from home, so on those days, the commute is amazing! The rest of the time it depends where I’m based, I might get the tube or bus. I much prefer the bus as I usually get a seat and there is a woman who I often see who I enjoy a chat with.
What is the first thing you do when you get to the office/start working?
Check my schedule for the day so I know what I’m doing and where I need to be throughout the day.
Can you talk me through a typical morning for you…?
When I’m in the office, my days are usually spent in meetings. I view the office as a place where I go to see other people who I’m working with, and home as a place where I do my thinking and desk work. At the moment I’m delivering a series of workshops for senior managers on wellbeing and leadership, so quite a lot of my time is spent on that. I’m using the results of our recent wellbeing survey to drive my future work programme, so I might spend some time with our statistician talking about that. I might also be coaching a client, catching up with a team member, delivering a mindfulness session or discussing a new idea with my manager.
“Sleep is my absolute number one wellbeing priority.”
What do you have for lunch?
The same thing every day – Thai vegetable soup. I make it in batches at home and eat it throughout the week, and I love it. My husband calls me the soup dragon!
Do you feel more productive in the morning, or after lunch?
Neither really, I tend to have mini peaks and troughs of energy throughout the day.
What do you think is the best way to motivate a team?
I’m not sure that one size fits all. For me, it is about getting to know people as individuals, what drives them, how they like to be led and then tapping into that. The old adage “treat others as you would like to be treated” is not really true, you should treat others as they want to be treated.
What does a typical afternoon look like for you?
My mornings aren’t all that different to my afternoons, if I’m at home I’ll be catching up with e-mails, thinking about new ideas and doing the type of work that requires me to produce things. So I might be preparing a paper for the Board on my work programme for the rest of the year, putting together a presentation on wellbeing for a team away day or writing an article for our intranet. On Fridays, I always take some time to review the week ahead and make sure I’m prepared for whatever meetings I have coming up.
What is the one thing you never forget to do throughout your day?
Tell my husband I love him. After the 7th July terrorist attack, I realised that the people you love can be taken from you so quickly, so you should never miss an opportunity to tell them how much they mean to you.
What time do you leave work?
I don’t have a set time, it depends what meetings I have, but I tend to work later when I’m at home – not having to commute makes a massive difference!
Do you think you have a good work/life balance?
Yes, but only because I work hard at it. I don’t waste time at work, I don’t allow myself to be distracted and I choose how I spend my time very carefully. I think a lot of people see work/life balance as something that just happens, but like most things that are worth having, it requires effort and discipline.
What do you do in the evenings?
I’ve had a passion for orchestral music and contemporary dance since I was a child, and it’s a very important part of my life. So I make it a priority to go to a performance most weeks, sometimes more. Once a week I set aside time to make soup and do a workout, and that’s usually Tuesday. On Friday nights I do my weekly shop, as I just love the feeling of starting the weekend with a fridge stocked full of healthy food. The other nights I might catch up with a friend, do an exercise class or hang out with my husband.
When is bedtime?
As early as possible, but never after 11 pm, even at the weekend. Sleep is my absolute #1 wellbeing priority.
A bit about you…
What is your personal career highlight?
Definitely getting my current role. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do something for a living that I feel so passionate about.
What do you do to unwind?
I actually find unwinding incredibly difficult, but I do love to read, particularly sci-fi, and have recently discovered the joy of jigsaws.
What is your favourite food?
To my eternal shame, pizza.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Many years ago I was moaning to a friend about my current boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, and he said: “your problem is that you’re thinking about time in a linear way.” I didn’t have a clue what he meant at the time, but it really stuck with me, and as I’ve made my way through life I have come to see it as an expression of profound faith in the capacity of human beings to change and transcend their past experiences.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Helping others to bring about positive change in their lives.