- Thank you for sharing your story with us. What is your professional background? How did you end up with this career?
My professional background is in project management. Specifically, large-scale events, festivals, and community initiatives. I started working in events when I was 18 during university but more on the operational side, assisting onsite at live events. Once I graduated, I found myself freelancing on several projects from the planning side and fell into it as a full-time position as a project executive. Over the course of the last decade I worked my way up to Project Director. My degree is in Business Administration and what I loved about events was the ability it gave me to be creative while using my business knowledge. I loved being able to deliver unique experiences, but what really drove me was creating events where the community would come together in a meaningful way. Then about 18 months ago I launched Her Roomies.
- How did you begin your remote work journey? Where do you see yourself in the next year? What tips do you have for others who are working remotely?
I began remote working long before the “covid-era”. I was freelancing at the time and was able to do most of my event planning remotely, so I took advantage of the opportunity and worked remotely as much as possible. I was living in Dubai at the time and my family was in Spain, so I used to work from Spain so, I could also spend time with my family. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity and to gain the experience in order to best understand how to deliver successful projects, irrespective of where I was working from.
Over the next year, I see myself continuing to work and grow my business and expand across Europe and build my own family.
My number one tip is that you really need to ensure that you don’t get distracted, and keep your strong work ethic as your priority, no matter where you are physically located. If you have something to deliver – make sure you do! There were times when the time difference meant I had to wake up at 5 am for meetings, and I did it because I wanted to ensure my clients knew they could trust me.
- What is your self-care routine and how do you find time to integrate it into your daily life?
My self-care routine is definitely focused less on beauty and more on my physical self-care which helps my overall well-being. I make sure I do at least 30 minutes a day of some kind of movement practice which helps my blood flow, re-energizes me and gives me a mood uplift. I like to change the activities up, sometimes yoga, others dance or Pilates. At the moment I do daily walks and I’m loving it as it gives me time to listen to an educational podcast while I work out.
- Putting yourself first is important to your overall wellness. Given this, what are your best holistic wellness tips?
I believe in always making sure you do something nice for yourself to treat yourself after a hard day at work. I am a big believer in ensuring you make time for things that make you happy and make you smiles because it’s really hard to balance life, family and responsibilities so it’s essential that you find something that really brings you joy- maybe even a couple of things that you can alternate – and make sure you do them!
- What was the toughest challenge you faced during your career?
Launching my own business (Her Roomies) has been an incredible experience but the toughest part of the journey has definitely been the fundraising part. There is plenty of money going around and available – finding it and finding the people who are willing and able to invest in startups is when the challenge begins.
- How did you get through that period? What advice for people dealing with similar difficulties?
Staying positive and not losing hope in your business and vision is the only way forward. Not allowing rejection to hold you back or push you down but rather using it to get stronger and make any needed changes from the feedback you receive has been something I definitely learned through this process. Therefore, my advice is to do just that – listen to the feedback, address the concerns and update your deck to ensure these points are addressed before someone has to ask. Talk to other founders and share experiences whenever you can. Everyone launching their own business has gone through the exact same process – so learnings from other founders is invaluable.
- Mental health and feeling good are crucial to maximizing performance. How do you prioritize your mental health?
Just like my holistic wellbeing plan, I prioritize my mental health by ensuring I make time to do things that bring me joy and allow me to rest my mind and body. Making boundaries (for example. After 10pm unless it’s extremely urgent I try to disconnect from emails and phone), ensuring I make time to spend with my family and friends, resting my brain by reading a book or watching a relaxing tv show.
- Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work post-pandemic?
I’m sure most companies will want to have their employees back in the office to try and bring some normalcy back to the way we operate and also because of the overheads that many have incurred to keep offices open. However, I don’t think employees will be accepting. I think companies that value their employees will adopt a flexible working system where employees have the option to either go into the office or work from home or remotely. This empowers employees and, in my opinion, fosters a better work-life balance which employees appreciate, which in return, creates higher productivity. I think we are all capable of working outside of the office environment now and definitely professional enough to ensure the work gets done even if at home – so I think companies that don’t embrace and adopt these working styles will see lower employee satisfaction and even a high turnover of people as this is what employees are now looking for when applying for jobs, not to mention accustom to.
- If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be and why?
This is a tough question! There are so many people I would love to meet for different reasons which have inspired and/or continue to inspire me on my journey. However, if I had to pick, I would love to have a nice plate of pasta with Leonardo Da Vinci – a true creator and holistic artist with an incredible vision for innovation. His creative multi-skilled mind is one that I would love to brainstorm with.
- If you could inspire a movement, what would it be and why?
I think I would try to inspire a 4-day working week movement. Work-life balance is so hard to achieve, and when we are rested, we work best and are more productive. Research supports this. For women particularly, we often carry so much more of the mental load, especially with household and family tasks. This is a large part of the why behind Her Roomies.
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Due to the gender pay gap, women pay a larger proportion of their salary to rent a place to live, not to mention they work more free days than men because of this. When it comes to renting a home, women often have to spend more time finding their ideal home because of concerns around safety, roommates, and neighbourhood. At Her Roomies, we want to lighten the load for women and make finding their ideal home far less time-consuming and stressful.
Just like a four-day workweek, Her Roomies, in its own way, provides the opportunity to spend more time at home with friends or family, more time left to plan and carry out other responsibilities, and most importantly, gives us more time for ourselves. The gift of time would make a world of difference regarding a woman’s happiness, and it would allow for more time to be creative and inspired.
- Please list your social media handles so we can tag you.
LinkedIn – Chiara Fraser & Her Roomies