Day in the life: Project advisor

My morning
I arrive in the office about 8.30am and, while eating breakfast, I work my way through the e-mails that have come in overnight. I normally spend the morning catching up with my projects and discuss with the rest of the team how they are getting on with theirs. It’s a great atmosphere at Optimus, with everyone working together to ensure we’re providing the best advice and service to clients and the behavioural coaches and trainers out on the field.

As a behavioural change consultancy, we support clients in high hazard industries, including oil and gas, marine and petrochemical, in delivering a strong safety culture to their workforce.

We’re currently working on a project with a repeat client from the petrochemical sector. The latest scope of work is with a different division of the business, and as well as providing safety leadership training, the project involves the introduction of our new products on process safety and major accident hazards. Repeat work is a great reward, as it really shows us that what we’re doing is working for our clients.

Carlene Smith

We work closely with our clients to change behaviours and decision-making, with the aim of instilling a strong ‘culture of care’ ethos. By writing detailed reports and regularly talking to and liaising directly with the behavioural coaches, I get to hear first-hand about the difference we are making which is really motivating.

Working at Optimus, I’ve learned a lot about the range of health and safety issues which can occur in these environments, and how Optimus’ safety support services can help companies achieve and maintain a positive safety culture.

My lunchtime
My mornings always fly by, and before I know it it’s lunchtime. As I am studying my Masters in Occupational Psychology, I use some lunch breaks to catch up on reading or further studying, otherwise I’ll use our kitchen/break room to eat my lunch and get away from my desk.

If we’re lucky enough to have a sunny day, we sit outside taking full advantage of our picnic benches overlooking the countryside. I find it really helps to step away from the screen, and catching up with the team for a gossip can help inspire a fresh new outlook when I return to my desk.

My afternoon
By the afternoon, I’ve usually caught up on my projects and can start looking at other things on my to-do list. I manage the project work load between the project assistants and myself, so we all have a weekly meeting to discuss workloads and to re-distribute activity to ensure no one is overloaded. I also hold a fortnightly project planning meeting to catch up with the whole team about current and future projects to make a plan of how best to allocate the work.

I regularly help plan training workshops, ensuring they are ready to be delivered by our team of skilled and engaging trainers. My job is to match the client with the trainer, and organise any briefings the trainer may need. We use a lot of visuals in our workshops including posters and pop up banners, as the feedback we previously received showed that delegates were more stimulated, and remember more clearly the visual elements of the workshops. Feedback is really beneficial, as we always want to makes sure what we do is working for the audience, and keeping their attention and interest.

To add value to the business, I’m currently working on bringing my Masters research findings into Optimus so as a company we can develop further, and spend some of my afternoon working on this.

In addition to the day job and my Masters, I’m really excited to be providing a guest lecture for the new Postgraduate Certificate in Human Factors at the University of Aberdeen next year. I therefore spend time researching my chosen topic – safety culture – a focus I honestly feel should be the dominating characteristic of any organisation’s ethos, especially in high risk environments. At Optimus it is something I get a lot of first-hand experience working on, consistently educating and encouraging our clients to transform their safety culture and performance of their business.

My evening
Once my day at work ends, I head home where I live with my partner, and usually spend an hour or so studying if I have things to catch up on. Once I’ve finished revising, I can often be found in the kitchen experimenting with lots of different dishes that I test on my unsuspecting partner. I love cooking – and he loves eating, so we make a good team.

I think it’s really important to have a healthy work/life balance so generally my evenings are spent relaxing before returning to work refreshed, and ready to make a difference.

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