Joining Data Interchange: My lockdown experience

Heya, I am Hannah and I joined Data Interchange as a UX Designer at the start of March 2020. Up till this point, my career was within the creative and advertising sector where my main roles were creative strategy, brand management, and design. During this my focus was B2C, servicing the likes of Bavaria beer Global, Molson Coors, Derby football club, and a variety of SME and challenger brands. Outside of work I like to spend my time doing DIY projects such as upcycling, interiors, and crafts. I seek the outdoors, so spending time with the horses or visiting heritage sites is a great way for me to relax and unwind.

Why did you choose Data Interchange?

Advertising itself is on a shift. People increasingly are becoming so desensitised to brand-centric media or don’t see it at all due to the rise of ad-free subscriptions (Youtube premium, Netflix, amazon prime video, Spotify premium, etc) that without that big media budget it is near impossible to get cut through. And so, this led me to want a new challenge, I wanted to shift my focus to digital platforms, where we as humans are becoming more and more dependent. I wanted to expand on my existing expertise by channelling my problem-solving skills into UX (User Experience) design. Data Interchange were looking to expand their UX team, so it seemed like perfect timing. Plus, when I went for the interview, I really hit it off with the Head of the UX team. Knowing I would have a line manager that I could work well with was such an important factor for me.

“I was looking for somewhere I could make a change that mattered to people and provide value that could be measured. Enter Data Interchange, with the opportunity that ticked all those boxes and more.”

What was your first month like?

I started in March, managed a strong 5 days in my new role in the office, and then…Lockdown hit. If starting a new role was not already a challenge, try doing it remotely. However, with Data Interchange this was almost seamless. The infrastructure in place made working from home and adapting to my new role minimally different than if I was in the office. (I just wished I had remembered to pick up my mouse before we all left to embark on this new normal!) Everyone I have met in person and increasing via ‘Teams’ has been nothing but friendly and helpful. Swiftly being added to Teams groups for social interaction whilst working, where I was able to meet more people that were not necessarily in my department and bond on daily topics and discussions. 

Clear communication was evident

From the very start, I noticed the leadership team has a strong involvement throughout the company and are very transparent to all. Our CEO, Robert, is very friendly and has ensured that all employees across Data Interchange are kept up to speed on any changes happening through-out the company with full transparency. From monthly company updates to company drop-ins where employees get to have their say, ask questions, and get answers there and then, has shown me that Data Interchange is a company that cares about its employees and this works its way down through management.

My first immersive project at Data Interchange was the creation of a component library and design studio to be used across the company and its evolving products moving forward. This began with the new dashboard prototype on, for example, Data Interchanges DiNet product.

My line manager, Andy, has been nothing but supportive and on hand from the moment I started. Working from home can have its challenges when you cannot simply pop by someone’s desk to ask a question. However, Andy has always been approachable and available whenever I have needed help or guidance and I have felt very settled in my role early on.

“In short, my first month was met with a variety of challenges outside of anyone’s control but was smooth sailing and a pleasant one for sure.”

How was the transition to working from home?

I work on a laptop so moving from office to home was seamless. I can actively fulfil my job requirements from home as well as I could in the office with the help from Teams. However, it is much harder to stick to working hours, so a little more self-discipline is required.

“With the view of the ‘new normal’ being more work from home centric, Data Interchange has been great at opening companywide discussions to help plan how they can make working from home, suitable for everyone. How that looks is yet to be decided but I am confident it will be one that adds benefits for us all.”

Personally, I have always been a people-centric person, working in high-intensity environments, across multiple teams and resources, music playing, office dogs snoozing under desks, so adapting to a more isolated environment has been one of the most challenging.

Screen to screen doesn’t quite cut it in comparison to face to face, the chats you have in passing at the coffee machine, a meander around the office to take a break from your desk for five minutes, and the tactile nature of a simple meeting with an actual, physical whiteboard.

Has working from home had any benefits?

I have always considered myself as an outdoors person but certainly, since working from home, I find myself actively wanting to go for more walks, bike rides, sit in my garden. Perhaps for the fresh air, change of scenery, I am not sure, but I have noticed a strong need to seek fresh air and fields. Luckily, I am based in a beautiful market town surrounded by countryside, so an evening walk is often never the same route.

This has also highlighted a new hobby of house spotting! Where you would usually never notice certain buildings or architectural styles due to driving everywhere, we have found a new appreciation for the simpler things. It has helped that the weather has been amazing, so we will have to see how things change once the colder days descend. But for now, it is just taking each day as it comes, enjoying simple pleasures and maybe a little cheeky help from a Malbec here and there.

How do you feel about the ‘new normal’?

“I think I’m one of the ‘minorities’ that might be looking forward to being back in an office from time to time, but this is solely a personal preference and not linked to any physical work requirement. An ergonomic chair and coffee machine might be swaying factors though…”

Overall, I have spent nearly six months with Data Interchange and from my perspective, it has been a great move. The whole company have dealt with the Covid-19 situation not just well, but above and beyond. From stories I’ve heard through my friends about their working environment, it has made me feel very lucky to now be working for a company such as Data Interchange and I’m excited to see how things evolve and adapt as we continue along this ‘new normal’.

Data Interchange are growing and have career opportunities for talented people. Why not join us? Check out our current vacancies on our Careers page.

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