Let’s talk about you…
Q -What makes you most stressed?
A - The challenges or running an operation which relies on a lot of staff and short deadlines with the pulls of family needs and home life.
Q - How do you de-stress?
A - I do Zumba and play a lot of golf.
Q - Do you get any side effects from stress? How does stress affect your everyday life?
A - I do suffer from headaches and that sometimes makes me short tempered with people.
Q - How do you avoid every day stress?
A - I try to meditate when I get the time and tell myself that nothing is really worth stressing about as long as you have your family around you and your health.
What about your business…
Q -What is the most stressful thing about running a business?
A - It’s like having 50 children to look after, you feel responsible all of the time for the wellbeing of staff and of course the worry of delivering a great service to clients. Not to mention the strains of profit and loss and cash flow.
Q - How do you stop your work stress from affecting you at home?
A - I don’t go home!!! I mean that I don’t go straight home but go and do something physical. Doing 9 holes straight after work is a great tonic.
Q - What advice would you give to other business owners to stop themselves from getting too stressed?
A - Well the best thing that they can do is employ really good people and invest in them, then step back from the day to day operations and focus on the bigger picture almost exclusively. Getting drawn into everyday operations when you know that you should be driving a business forward is probably the most frustrating thing an MD can do.
Having to manage lots of employees must be difficult…
Q -How do you recognise the signs of stress in your employees?
A - It is very difficult sometimes to see the signs so it is important to ask key employees how they are coping with potentially stressful rolls and offering support and advice before they blow a gasket. Of course some people show outward signs and treat colleagues badly. This needs to be jumped on or it will bring down the whole ship.
Q - What do you do to stop your employees from being stressed at work?
A - Encourage people to communicate their feelings and of course do team building and social occasions.
You’re also a mother of 2 boys…
Q -How did you cope with two boys during the teenage years?
A - I don’t think I did!! They are horrible animals at that stage and you blame yourself for the way they turned out, especially as a working mother. We spent a lot of time shouting at each other and getting upset. Although I did go for some NLP sessions and found that very helpful at the time.
However, I needn’t of worried because they turned out OK and we are now very close.
Q - What is the most stressful thing about being a mother?
A - You worry about being a perfect parent and when you work all of the time, you cannot do the things that you know that you should. The responsibility of them growing up as nice people with the ability to support them weighs heavy as you feel that you have to guide them all of the time. Which you do of course, but they do have their own minds and letting them make decisions is equally important.
Q - Do you have any advice for getting the right home and work balance?
A - It is the hardest thing in the world and you need to make sure that you have supportive partners and family around you if possible. Working part time was never an option for me as I was terrified of taking the time out and losing my business/career. Life is too short however and before you know it your kids are taller than you are and you don’t recognise them, so it is important to spend the time with them in their early years or you will probably beat yourself up later.
About the author
Tracey has worked in the media and event industry since before the m25 was even joined up! She started her career selling advertising space before deciding she wanted to own her own business and her first company was a publishing business established in 1989, from which came her initial telemarketing venture in 1996. Procoms is the latest iteration since 2010 and has grown from 6 members of to a 60-seater call centre in Stevenage. In 2015, Tracey launched the software side of the business as its own company, licences are sold into other call centres and internal sales teams on a cost per seat basis to provide them with a version of her expertise in a box.