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Meet our people: Nicola Weideling
27 March 2020
Nicola Weideling was a much-loved employee of OUP from 2015 until her passing in 2021. We all remember Nicola as the upbeat, dedicated, and focused colleague that this article captured, and so we've chosen to keep it live in tribute to her work here at OUP, and everyone who benefitted from working alongside her. She is much missed.
At the time of writing, Nicola was Head of Customer Insight and Management for our Education division.
What does your job involve?
My team has three workstreams—customer insight, customer experience, and data management and marketing technology. It involves drilling down into often complex data, to gain insight on what customers want and value, and then define how we can make it happen. If someone within Education wants to reach a new customer base, they would come to us and we can help define the target audience and data sets, map the customer journey and desired outcomes, and advise on best practice for implementation.
How has it changed with the arrival of coronavirus?
Everything has been moving so quickly. Our customer base has changed location so rapidly that we are now supporting teachers no longer based in the classroom, some of whom may be switching to online learning for the first time, as well as fielding questions from parents looking for additional online resources. We have to make sure that their needs are being met and that the systems still run as they should. That has taken a great deal of flexibility. Where once we might be organizing one support webinar, now it may be five. We are a digital and agile team though, so we are keeping up.
How long have you been with OUP and what does it mean to you?
I have been here on and off for more than 20 years. I first started in 1996 when I was doing a post-grad course. I worked one day a week doing admin. I fell in love with everything from the building to the people. I was so excited and one day my father came to meet me for lunch and told me: ‘I need you to understand that work isn’t normally like this! Hold on to it.’ I did. I met my husband Kurt then too—in fact we just celebrated our 20th anniversary. I took other jobs in publishing, but then we moved to Australia when I worked for OUP again. In 2015, we returned to the UK because I was getting homesick. I popped in to see everyone here at OUP just to say hi and left with a contract as Digital Marketing Lead. I’ve been here ever since.
How much time do you normally spend in the office?
I [usually] spend three days every fortnight in the office in Oxford and the rest working from home in Hale. I have remote working down to a fine art. I am extremely organized and get the same train there and back every fortnight. I have two sets of toiletries, the same bags, and stay with friends and family. By doing it the same every time I don’t have to think about the logistics.
How do you find working from home?
I work in the dining room looking out over the garden and have it neat and tidy—I hate clutter. I have a screen, laptop, keyboard, mouse, and an A3 pad for notes and planning. I can clear it away in two minutes flat to turn it back into our dining room. I am exceptionally disciplined and make sure my day starts and ends at the same time. I usually make sure I have been to the gym first thing but now that has turned into a walk. When I shut my laptop—that is it done. I end my work day and do not respond to emails after that.
How does your team stay connected now that you are all working from home?
My team works from home one day a week anyway in order to give them the headspace to work clearly. Now we are all at home it is about having shorter more frequent meetings on Skype and managing them well with clear agendas. Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and when. We are minimizing emails too, and use Slack to manage workstream chat. There is a WhatsApp group too for the team in order for us to chat as needed. That is key for keeping the team in touch.
Useful tips for new homeworkers:
- Be strict with your start and end times
- Take proper breaks and leave your desk regularly
- Talk to people in your breaks—if no-one else is there call someone, and if it is a colleague don’t talk about work
- Keep moving—I have a Fitbit. When I am in the office, I easily do 15,000 steps daily but it can be more like 2,000 at home if I don’t work on it
- Get your workspace right from the beginning. Don’t hunch over a laptop on your lap. Use a desk or table, think carefully about your chair. Use a mouse and keyboard and laptop/monitor at suitable height.