Uncovering the 9-5 with Maeve Monaghan, chief executive of Now Group
We’ve never had an alarm clock in our house but my husband wakes me every morning and it’s straight into getting the kids up, dressed, fed and ready for school. I’m not a real morning person but do love my two boiled eggs and toast. This part of the morning is spent saying the same thing over and over again until everyone is ready to go.
Kids dropped off, I walk the rest of the way into Belfast. We’re trying to reduce our impact on the environment so have one car – it requires good organisation but works most of the time and helps me get my daily steps in.
If it’s Monday I’ll be in our head office having internal meetings – either of our executive team which meets weekly to manage the strategic direction of the business or with a support services team. How our places and services ‘feel’ is very important to me so I often spend this time speaking to people and gauging how the organisation is doing. Otherwise I could be on the road to one of our cafes – maybe at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh to catch up with our partners National Museums NI or Fermanagh and Omagh District Council which we are working with on an employment academy. When in Belfast I usually arrange my meetings in either one of our cafes – the Bobbin in City Hall or Loaf on Grosvenor Road.
Lunch is never an issue if I’m at one of the Loaf cafes – I just need to be careful not to over-indulge, especially when the team are trying out new traybake recipes.
The afternoon might see me back at head office – perhaps catching up with our environment committee. We have eradicated single use plastic from our cafés and our corporate catering business – all our food is delivered in compostable packaging and we don’t use plastic cutlery or sell soft drinks in plastic bottles.
I try to leave the office – I want our staff to know that while work is important, so is the time we spend with our family and friends. I think if you can’t be effective in your work hours and get the job done you need to revisit how you are spending your time. People often say ‘you seem to be so busy’ but for me it is more about making an impact.
I walk home as often as I can – it’s three miles so it gives me time to unwind, process what’s gone on that day and get myself ready for the next part. I used to make calls during this time but now use it to listen to podcasts or just to think.
Once home, if I don’t have a work event to go to or the kids don’t have a class, it’s dinner and homework time. My husband works from the bottom of the garden so he usually has things started and we get them sorted between us.
The kids are all in bed by 8pm or so, and it’s usually a movie or some time on Twitter. I’m a bit hooked on social media so have to be really careful about how much time it consumes.
I love my sleep and reading. I try to get at least eight hours sleep every night but it’s not always easy to wind down after a busy day so I read a lot. I read all kinds of books from Bosch to Brene Brown, I have a pile beside my bed at any time and it’s great to see our kids have inherited my passion.