Meet the Team: Q&A with Jane O'Brien
At UnderTheDoormat, we believe that a company is only as good as its people; and fortunately, we have some of the best and brightest on our team! This week, we’ve been chatting to Jane O’Brien, our excellent Homeowner Account Manager, who has told us a little bit about what keeps her busy on a day-to-day basis, as well as her top tips for anyone thinking about short-letting.
Lovely to get a chance to speak with you, Jane! Can you describe your job in a few sentences?
Looking after the interests of homeowners with properties in our portfolio. I am the ‘go-to’ person they contact whenever they have queries. I guide them through all stages of the journey, from on-boarding to calendar enquiries to small refurbishments - and lots more!
Tell us about a typical day at UnderTheDoormat.
We start with a daily team catch-up meeting. After that, well… no two days are ever the same! Sometimes I go to a new home to complete a photoshoot and blueprint (which documents the workings of a home). It’s great seeing the homes and meeting the homeowners – I love property and like meeting people and chatting (sometimes too much!), so it’s perfect for me. On my return I answer queries in the inbox, which range from organising a member of the maintenance team to fix a dripping tap, to looking over schedules with the operations team so I’m up to date with homeowners departures and returns. Once a week I complete the financial settlements with our Head of Operations James; I catch up with James most days, though, as there is a substantial amount of crossover in our roles.
Another important task is to make sure homeowner calendars are fully up to date so there’s never any danger of missing a booking. We now list for mid-lets on the Zoopla platform (an enquiry-only service), too, so I keep an eye on that. I’m generally at my happiest when each day includes a chat to homeowners – I hear some amazing stories!
Things have been a little different in the last couple of months, though, as we’ve been focusing largely on NHS Homes - a wonderful scheme, initiated by UnderTheDoormat, through which we’ve helped key NHS workers with accommodation during the pandemic.
During the coronavirus crisis, what has been the biggest change for you in terms of day-to-day work?
Adapting to working from home and not being able to visit as many homeowners as I would like. Face-to-face contact is so much better.
Have you discovered any new ‘working from home hacks’ to help keep you on track?
Schedule breaks mid-morning, mid-afternoon and take time out for lunch. It’s too easy otherwise for the day to lack structure - and it also helps limit your tea and coffee intake!
What’s been your proudest work moment?
Being part of the NHS Homes scheme. I’m delighted to have made the lives of our NHS staff a little easier, more comfortable and less stressful by helping organise beautiful accommodation for them close to work.
‘Why should I AirBnB my home?’ is a question you must get asked a lot – what’s your top tip for anyone thinking about letting their home?
It’s great to be part of the sharing economy; to let visitors experience London from a homely environment; to let visitors take advantage of your home when you do not need it. In addition, it’s a great way to monetise your property while you are away enjoying yourself!
What makes UnderTheDoormat special?
The kind, supportive and smart colleagues. There is a lot to learn when you first join but they are always there for you. It’s also amazingly multi-cultural – colleagues from USA, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Greece – and we’re a small team!
What’s your favourite thing to do in London?
A day in the free art galleries and an evening in the theatre or cinema, followed by a meal and cocktails in a new place. I’ve lived here for 25 years and still feel I have barely touched the surface of what is on offer. It’s the most exciting place to visit, live and work in.