A Day In The Life Of – Amy Corfield

I am a consultant at Kan Do Ventures and owner of two crazy kittens. Here is a typical working day for me. Kan Do Ventures really support a great work life balance for the team and I make sure I have time for the things that make me happy and relaxed. Cooking, running and cats (when they are not fighting!)

I wake up at – 6:00am

The first thing I do is – Open the bedroom door and let Thor & Loki in.

Before work I like to – Go for a run

I start work at – 8am ish. Kittens allowing!

Not sure where one cat ends and the other begins – Thor and Loki up to mischief

Three things always on my desk – Laptop, water & normally food!

Typical morning tasks – Once I have had a run or gone to the gym pre-lockdown, I then have breakfast and feed the cats. I then get on with work checking emails and having calls to get ready for the day.

For lunch I usually eat – Whatever we had for tea the night before. There’s no point cooking twice!!

From my desk I can see – The wall, not very inspiring but we’re getting furniture collected from the office soon and will be rearranging, which means recently I’ve been set up in the kitchen. It’s better here as I can see the garden.

Amy’s desk. Checking out Kan Do Ventures website and eating cake

The best bit about what I do is – Sounds cheesy but it’s definitely the team, I love working with these guys.

Typical afternoon tasks – This varies each day with work tasks. I have ongoing projects and jobs that have come up in my morning calls. One thing is always the same, I’m normally telling Thor & Loki to stop playing with everything they shouldn’t be or to stop attacking the dining chairs.

Before I finish work – I check I’ve done everything I needed to or said I would do for the day, I like to know I am signing off having achieved what I needed to.

After work I like to – Cook something for dinner (and lunch the next day) exercise again if I can, tidy the house (the cats make a mess not me!) I also like to watch TV, spend time with Thor & Loki – and my fiance Tom I suppose ;-)

Virtual Working – The Good, The Bad And How To Avoid The Ugly

Lockdown has meant that many businesses have had to revert to virtual working and, in most cases, it was at very short notice and most businesses were not prepared for this. In London alone, 57% of people did some form of home working during the lockdown period. This has meant a decline for businesses relying on people coming into the capital for work such as shops, hospitality and transport and the Government is encouraging workers to get back into the office to support these industries. Actually, scrap that sentence. This was written prior to the announcement this week that the government is again encouraging people to work from home! However, with the threat of a second peak on the horizon and those that worked from home enjoying the lack of commute, will we ever go back to the 9-5 in an office or is the future flexible? 

The Good 

Research by the TUC in 2019 suggests that the average commute in the UK is almost an hour each way. When you multiply that twice per day, five times a week, the average Briton wastes 10 days each year going back and forth to work. This is before train delays, traffic jams and breakdowns are factored in. Then there are the jobs that require travel to various locations during the day. It all adds up to a lot of time doing not a lot. Virtual working has put a stop to all that commuting. It has meant more time with family and friends, time to exercise or cook, time to do what makes you happy. For Kan Do Ventures it’s meant all this and also the ability to reach more clients every day. Instead of travelling for face to face meetings we are able to Zoom call and see more people. Great for us and great for the environment.  

The Bad 

Even with video chat, messaging services and all the technology the we have at our fingertips we can still feel disconnected from people. Nothing beats a face to face meeting sometimes and working together with colleagues in an office encourages organic collaboration that you just don’t get sat at your kitchen table. Working from the same space that you live, eat and sleep can also mean that workers find it difficult to set boundaries. It’s hard enough leaving an office and leaving the work behind but what if you never leave your “office”. Where do you draw the line between work and home life. It all becomes blurred and this can lead to you working far more hours than intended and never being able to switch off that work persona.   

Avoiding The Ugly 

At Kan Do Ventures our work ethos is based around wellbeing and positivity. That’s why we are always talking about a Kan Do attitude. You can’t be at your best in your work life if you aren’t looking after yourself and that means physically, mentally and emotionally. To stop working from home turning ugly we have a few tips that we have been implementing ourselves.  

Structure your day – The structure does not need to be the same one as you had in a real office but the routine will help you stay on track. Segment your day and schedule in a proper break. Your break should involve leaving the house. Go for a walk, a drive, or if the weather allows, spend some time in the garden. KDV team members favour heading out to Pott Shrigley to visit Kickback Coffee for a socially distanced brew and catch up.  

Kickback Coffee in Pott Shrigley is a great place for a little break

Set your space – Set up a dedicated work space. It will make you feel more productive and it will be easier to walk away from at the end of the day.  The Boss (Chun-Kit) always has coffee to hand, all his equipment and in the morning a delicious breakfast!

Stay connected – Even if you are not working on a project together be sure to schedule in time to chat to your team. Regular contact will help you work better together when you need it and stop feelings of isolation and loneliness.  

Get out – If you can (and if COVID allows) try and work from somewhere else. A local coffee shop, park or even a colleagues house are all options which will allow a change of scenery.  

Know when to stop – At the end of the working day have a clear finish time. If your workspace is also in your leisure space be sure to pack everything away, this creates clear separation and helps you to get out of work mode and relax.  

Most of all, make time to talk to your friends, colleagues and family.  You may not need it, but they might do and in these crazy times we need to help each other. 

Ready for anything – Chun-Kit’s working area.
The Power of Yes

The Power Of Yes

Yes is a short word, only 3 letters and we say it countless times a day but I recently discovered how powerful it can be when said positively and with meaning.

I am guest writing today for Kan Do Ventures and I have recently started working for them. It’s been a great experience so far, such a positive atmosphere and attitude in everything they do. It’s something I am trying to take into all areas of my life since lockdown started, although, that got increasingly difficult being stuck in the house and on furlough from my previous role. Things got worse as time went on. I was under threat of redundancy several weeks ago and after sitting at home like the rest of the nation I was feeling out of control and a bit lost.  The redundancy threat was a huge blow, so when my previous employer offered voluntary redundancy I realised there was one way to get back control……. I could say YES! 

Deciding My Own Fate

This little word meant that suddenly, the ball was in my court. I had decided my own fate and I felt so much better for it. It gave me a whole new outlook on my situation and new motivation. Someone suggested trying to set myself up as a freelance Social Media Manager and Virtual Assistant. Staying with the theme, I said YES! It’s an ongoing process but so far so good. My website is almost ready to launch and I feel my confidence building by the day. I am joining groups online for like-minded people and others in the industry. I am joining courses and workshops and reaching out to people for advice.

Kan Do Attitude

I have know Chun-Kit and Alice Kan for a few years now as we attend the same amazing fitness classes at Carla Gilder Fitness. I got a message from Alice suggesting that I should contact Kan Do Ventures as they might need support. I was nervous about putting myself out there but by saying YES it’s opened up a whole new range of possibilities. Not just work but networking, firing my brain back up after furlough and getting the chance to talk to some lovely and supportive people.

I don’t know what’s next for me exactly but I do know what I am going to be saying to opportunities that come my way………… a big, positive, hopeful YES!

Saying yes to opportunities can lead to unexpected and amazing things. Don’t let fear hold you back.

Dion J Sully is a freelance Social Media Manager and Virtual Assistant – https://www.dionjsully.co.uk/

A Word on Alice Kan

It’s been a strange year to say the least. We have all made changes we didn’t think we would ever make and made sacrifices we really never wanted to. Kan Do Ventures like all businesses was affected by COVID, especially as we went into lockdown. Both Chun-Kit Kan and Alice Kan have worked tirelessly to make Kan Do Ventures a success giving up time and ploughing all their energy into the business.

With business reduced and overheads to pay, difficult decisions needed to be made. It wasn’t just business finances but personal finance pressures to weigh up as well. It was a huge step but one that was necessary in order to secure the future of the business and to be able to continue to support her family. Alice really wanted to stay at Kan Do Ventures but made a huge sacrifice for the benefit of the business and decided to leave. We are so proud of Alice for taking this action and she is now doing something that makes us equally proud. Alice is now Programme Manager for COVID-19 vaccine manufacture at Wockhardt Ltd. It’s such an important role that will help Wockhardt fill finish vaccines from the AstraZeneca and Oxford University Partnership.

We think this makes Alice a double hero and we just wanted everyone else to know what a superstar she is.

It was never a dress.

A Day In The Life Of… The Boss!

Lockdown has changed a typical day for me, mostly for the better I think. I used to leave the house at 6:30 am to get to a project site and usually did not return until after 6:30 pm. Once home I used to head straight back out to training. Lockdown meant an end to the 1 hour 10-minute commute and a rethink of where I can fit my training in. I now have a personal training session at lunchtime and couldn’t imagine life without it now!

Back to a typical day in the “new normal”

I wake up at – 5:30 – 6:00am

The first thing I do is – Make coffee. It has to be Kickback Coffee too. They are an amazing local coffee roaster and I love to pop up to their shop for a brew and to grab a bag of coffee for home. https://www.kickbackcoffee.co.uk/

Before work I like to – Drink coffee obviously and I also train 2-3 times a week before work. Sometimes I have a catch up with old friends over a brew.

I start work at – Any time between 8am and 9am depending on what I have on that day or if we are having a team brief and catchup over Zoom

Three things always on my desk – A drink, water and a brew. Working set up including laptop riser, keyboard and mouse. Post It notes.

The “office” at the kitchen table

Typical morning tasks – I like to review emails and do any of the general admin tasks first. It helps me get into work mode and I always feel more productive.

For lunch I usually eat – Meat with veg. I need a decent meal with protein especially if I have had a pre-lunch training session with my personal trainer Vikki Thomas. She never makes it easy for me as you can see from the photos. You can check Vikki out here https://www.facebook.com/vikkihaleythomas/

From my desk I can see – The back garden or the kitchen wall.

The best bit about what I do is – I love collaborating with other people. Not just people in the Kan Do team but on projects and other businesses. I love making things happen being productive.

Typical afternoon tasks – In the afternoon it’s mostly meetings (virtual) and phone calls. All my deadlines seem to be towrds the end of the day so I am usually at my busiest checking what planned activities are happening and re-planning them if things haven’t gone to plan.

Before I finish work – I like to catch up with the team and review my tasks for the next day. If there is something quick I can deal with it or leave until the next day. I am a fine procrastinator, especially if there isn’t a brew in my hand. I am detecting a strong brew theme to my days.

After work I like to – Train, cook a family meal, and eat as a family. The benefits of not communing right now are that I have more time to do this and the work-life balance is good.

Taking a step back to move forward

Alice's medals

Start small but be consistent…

It’s that time again, when many people’s thoughts turn to making changes, using the new year (and this time decade) to start (or stop) a habit. For me, the festive break was a time to slow down, and spend time being rather than always doing. And now I’m back to my (very welcome) routine, I want to continue some of the good habits I started.

In previous years, I have used this time to make some crazy resolutions, which come March have all but evaporated. Last year, my goal was to run two half marathons, as I had never run that far before. And I’m proud to say that for the first time, I exceeded my new year’s resolution, and did three!!

So it started me thinking and reading about why I was able to achieve my resolutions last year when previously I’ve failed. There were a few things that I did differently which really helped. And by reflecting on what they were, I’m hoping that it will help me with future resolutions or changes I want to make.

Support

Firstly, I had plenty of support from the Carla Gilder Fitness family. I’ve been a member of CGF since Carla started the business, and in the last five years have radically changed my attitude to exercise. I now can’t imagine a week without it, and love going to classes not only for the exercise, but also to see my friends.

In the last two years, exercise has become a consistent part of my life. It’s an ingrained habit now, and I really miss it when I don’t do it. So training for a half marathon was more a case of changing what I was doing, not how often. And with the encouragement from the CGF instructors and members, it made it so much easier.

Clear plan

If you’ve ever wanted to run a half marathon, it’s pretty easy to find a comprehensive training plan. Whether you are starting from the beginning, or can already run the distance but want to get faster, there is a plan for you. Finding the plan was easy, and then it was just a case of sticking to it. Which wasn’t as hard as I’d expected – three (or four sessions) a week, with one long run.

Having a plan to stick to with what I needed to do took any decision-making out of my hands. I just needed to put on my trainers and go. Which was made easier with the support of the CGF Run Club with twice weekly training sessions.

Take time to reflect

One new habit I’ve started over the festive break has been to write in a journal most days. By letting my mind wander and write about anything I want, I’ve discovered various things I hadn’t realised about myself.

One of the things that I have reflected on a lot is that I succeed more easily when I establish small but consistent habits. Like walking to the station on my commute to work. Calling my mum when I’m walking, even if it’s only for five minutes. Taking time to plan my week in terms of exercise and food. Meal prep on a Sunday.

And I didn’t start all those habits at once – they have evolved over time. But they are easy to do now, and I feel the benefits throughout the week, not just when I’m doing them. The fresh air and (occasional!) sunshine from a brisk walk in the morning sets me up for the day. And I sleep better at night. Fun exercise classes with friends are sociable as well as benefitting my health.

Start small and be consistent

So what about my work resolutions for 2020? Well I’m going to start with small changes, and be consistent. Before the end of each day, I’ve been making a list of my priorities for the following day, so when I start work in the morning, I don’t get distracted with emails, but focus on my plan.

And we will be bringing this approach – providing support, having a clear plan and being consistent – to our clients in 2020.

So if you want some help with your 2020 resolutions, why not get in touch, or come to one of our business skills courses in Macclesfield or Bolton.

We’d love to see you there.

comfort zone

Having a voice which is valued and listened to

Some people might think if you’re the youngest and least experienced, your opinion isn’t valued. At Kan Do Ventures, I can always voice my opinion and know it won’t be ignored, but will be valued. When I first joined, I was nervous and not confident enough to disagree or add my own point of view. Three years down the line and they can’t shut me up!!

I haven’t got as much experience as the rest of the team, so initially I felt my opinion didn’t matter. But I soon realised that isn’t the case here! My opinion is just as valid, and positively encouraged as I have a fresh perspective. We are always aiming for the right outcome for the business and our clients, so all opinions are welcomed.

Getting involved to learn

Having an experienced team around me with knowledge of different sectors has enabled me to learn every day. Previously, I would have sat and absorbed as much as possible, but I’ve realised I learn more by being actively involved. In the past I have sat and not understood a conversation because I was too shy to ask a question. Now I always ask if I have a question, as we will all benefit and come to a better outcome. If I don’t understand something, I know the team will all be wanting to help. 

In the time I’ve been working for Kan Do Ventures, I’ve been out of my comfort zone at times, but I know it will only help me in the long run. It’s easy to get too comfortable in a role and just get on with day-to-day tasks. 

It’s amazing what working in an experienced team with people who actually want to help and make a difference ‘Kan’ do! I still struggle with confidence sometimes, but I’m working on it and will hopefully it’ll happen less and less often in the near future! 

Exam stress

Risky business?!

Exam nightmares

So, this time last week I was getting over sitting two exams – I swore I’d never do any more exams after university!!  Immediately after the exam, I panicked about whether I’d missed out important points or misread questions.  After a week of time to reflect, I feel more confident and hope I’ve done enough to pass the exams!  However, the exams were definitely more difficult than I anticipated, especially considering one of the exams was multiple choice. 

I’ve always hated taking exams, from school right through to my finals.  I tried hard to find subjects with more coursework especially if it reduced the number of exams I had to sit.  Throughout university, I tried to pick the modules of interest to me but without exams if possible.  But to study an IRM course, I knew I’d have to sit exams. 

A new set of skills

I wanted to specialise in a subject and bring new skills to the Kan Do Ventures team.  My background has always been in sport but I’m struggling to apply this knowledge in my day-to-day job.  I was unsure about what to specialise in, but after reading about risk, I was excited to get started! 

To be honest, when studying the IRM Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management, I found distance learning quite difficult. I definitely learn better by attending classes and learning from the experiences of others who are also studying.  However, the flexibility of distance learning has allowed me to study alongside working and gaining experience in risk management. 

I had no understanding of risk terminology or standards, so I started from scratch with both modules I studied.  It took a while to get my head around it, as had to understand the basics of the first module before I could apply it in the second.

Underestimating the importance of risk

During my time gaining experience of risk management, it became immediately obvious how different sectors manage risk in different ways.  Many businesses don’t see risk as an important aspect to consider as part of every day operations. But if risk is considered and managed correctly, it can prevent major issues and also help organisations to identify opportunities. 

Hopefully when I receive my results next year, I will have passed and I can enrol on the diploma to further my understanding of the topic.  The subject is really interesting to me and I’m excited to apply my new knowledge, and really add value to Kan Do Ventures and our clients.

MEN Awards 2019

It’s not the winning…

This time last week, our team (and supporters) were reflecting on a fantastic night at the Manchester Evening News Business Awards. Being finalists in the One To Watch category, alongside Nadine Merabi and the winners of the category, Code Nation, makes us so proud.

It was disappointing not to win, but we celebrated like we had! We know that being included as a finalist is something to celebrate. We were by far the smallest business there, but felt we belonged, as we have big ideas for the future. Hearing from the finalists across all categories was inspiring, particularly knowing that they have all been where we are now.

Taking the positives

It’s easy to feel intimidated by businesses who are hugely successful, when we are still on the early part of our business adventure. But hearing from other businesses, who were once where we are now, was so inspiring and has really increased our determination to succeed.

Before the end of the year, we are taking the positives we heard, and developing a really exciting business plan. Having a goal which inspires the team to aim higher than we thought possible, so that next year, we can enter a different category.

Faking it until we make it

KDV MEN Awards
Double winners at the MEN Awards 2020?!!

We may not have won, but we borrowed two awards for our vision board for 2020! Thanks to two other winners, we have created our vision for next year. And before anyone asks, yes we did return the awards!!

So what does the next year hold for Kan Do Ventures? Growing our client portfolio, expanding our team of passionate individuals and finding even more ways to have a lasting positive impact on the businesses we work with.

With a great team, an inspiring goal and plenty of hard work, I know we can make it a reality.