Meet the team: Hazel Di Pippa

Here at Xalient, we have a lot of unsung heroes, so we thought it was only right that you got to know them all. This month, we have Hazel Di Pippa in the hot seat.

Job title

Managed Service Analyst.

How would you describe your job to a child?

When my 7-year-old asked me “what do you do at work mummy?”,  I tried to frame it to what she knows in replying that I’m a bit like a School Teacher who is always looking to improve and make things better for Xalient and our customers.

What values drive you?

The buzz of the industry we are in.  Being open and honest, placing trust in my colleagues, and understanding what ‘Service’ means to our customers.

What are your biggest professional challenges?

Awareness. Technology is moving at a fast pace and, rightly so, everybody is eager to move with it. However, ensuring people understand the correct steps that are needed to move at pace can be a challenge.

And what do you believe are the biggest challenges within the technology industry?

Keeping up. Again, everything moves at such a fast pace and organisations need to be on the ball with the right technology for their business, or risk being left behind. I think that’s why being ahead of the game with solutions such as SD-WAN is so important. The industry is constantly moving and organisations, like Xalient, need to be moving with it. I believe that’s what makes Xalient such a trusted provider because that’s exactly what we do.

What do you love the most about working with Xalient?

I love the people, who are supportive when needed and share experiences that make a difference.  It feels like you are part of a family, rather than a job.

And finally, if you had to use a song to describe your working week, what would it be?

Could you be next in the hot seat?

We’re always on the lookout for awesome people to join our team. Whether you are in sales, consulting, project management or service delivery – get in touch with us at careers@xalient.com as we’d love to hear from you.

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open the door into some of the teams’ homes, today we have Sr. Business Development Manager, Brian Ramsey.

What is your working from home routine? 

Early Bird…Get up and get going. With the UK Head Office six hours ahead, the earlier the better. Walk the dogs, coffee, shower, check email and prep for the day ahead. 

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t used to working from home?

  1. Stick to a routine
    Start your day as you normally would and keep to your normal work hours.
  2. Leverage your collaboration technology
    Teams, Skype, LinkedIn and Video Calls are all great tools to keep you in front of customers and co-workers.
  3. Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
    Don’t roll out of bed and start working. Have a plan to attack the day and week.
  4. Do the hardest task first
    Knock out the big rock on your to-do list and the rest of the day is downhill.

Xalient has introduced a ‘Quaranteam challenge’ to encourage employees to take on a new challenge whilst working from home. What is your challenge? 

I have started a Vegetable and Flower garden from seed. Great progress and have since moved the plants into a raised bed in the back yard!

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the healthcare workers keeping us safe and healthy.

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams’ homes, today we have Project Operations Manager, James Collins

What is your working from home routine?

Week 6 of quarantine. I would like to be voted off the island now! And even if I didn’t want to be voted off, I’m pretty sure my wife would vote me off!

Working remotely has removed my commute time and reduced my weekly ironing pile (I’m not kidding, my wife would burn her hands if she picked up the iron).  So, you would think free time was in abundance. However, with our daughter also out of school, the balance between work and home schooling is challenging, especially when my wife’s job is just as demanding as mine. The wider world and the Xalient Team are providing great support in this regard – whether it be Joe Wicks’ 0900 daily PE lesson (I’m sure I’m aching more than my daughter!), Sue McLure’s daily water cooler challenge or Donna Moor’s Friday Virtual Pub (no shop talk allowed). All these events help to keep us feeling connected with the team in a situation that could easily see people struggle with social isolation.

The day begins with a hearty breakfast of Eggs Quarantine.  Yes, total dad joke and I’m not apologising! To get the day started I find it easier to prepare as if I were leaving the house to drop my daughter off at school and travel into work. The demands of the job haven’t changed although I now have the added challenge of trying to allocate segments of the day to reading blending letters into words, Doodle Math’s and handwriting practice.  Thankfully, I split this workload with my wife.

After lunch, my daughter, wife and I try to go for a walk. We all need this, even if only a short trek around the garden. Luckily, the UK is having an uncharacteristically warm spell so there really isn’t any excuse not to get out.

I originally thought that with most of the country in lockdown and having to work from home, the pace of work would slow down. From my experience so far, this has not been the case as most of our customers have initiated or are moving to invoke their Business Continuity Plans. The planning for this and subsequent network and security changes are reliant on Xalient so now we are as busy as ever. I am also assuming that other customers will look to engage us for this type of support going forward.

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t used to working from home?

Get dressed. Don’t make the mistake of not making the transition from night clothes to day clothes. We all need that clear break. This should be reversed too when you have finished work. Ensure you switch off!  

Get outside. Even if only once a day for 20 minutes in the garden. This really is a must as getting outside works wonders for your sanity!  

Staying connected with the team. An email checking in, a phone call or a video conference (with a smile) will all help to keep us sane for the next couple of months.

If you have any downtime, then start to action those jobs around the house you have been putting off. Decking the loft, painting that windowsill or clearing the garden of weeds (just some of my list currently). With the additional daylight we have at the minute, and no commute from work back to our homes, we should use that hour or so of time.

Volunteer. The NHS is asking for help, so we all have the chance to volunteer and do our bit for the community and country in this unprecedented time.

 

As a Project Operations Manager what tools do you find useful when working from home?

Skype/Teams and SharePoint have proven invaluable for collaboration to keep our customer projects moving forward and us connected as a team.

 

Xalient have introduced a Quaranteam scheme to encourage employees to take on a new challenge while working from home.

What is your challenge?

My challenge is to stop being awesome, for a week. It is very unlikely I will achieve this.

 

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’ – Greek Proverb

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams’ homes, today we have Sales Director, Steve Tucker.

What is your working from home routine?

I tend to be a lark as opposed to an owl, I find I’m more productive first thing.  So I can start early dependent on customer deadlines and the overall to-do list.

Throughout the day I’ll grab plenty of drinks (quick break from the desk) and look to take lunch, which gives me the chance to step away from desk again.

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t used to working from home?

Enjoy the commute!

Don’t stress if home life causes unforeseen interruptions to calls (we all remember the news broadcaster whose wife bursts into the room trying to retrieve the wayward youngsters).

Take plenty of mini-breaks if you can & give yourself time to assess or review the calls and conferences you’ve been on.

Turn video on and have a few chats that aren’t always 100% work focused.

If you’re using video on conferencing (we are at Xalient) remember when you’re not speaking you’re are still being potentially watched …so no awkward faces if you don’t agree with what’s being said. That is, unless you want to jump into a heated discussion.

As a Sales Director what tools do you find useful when working from home?

Teams & Skype are the main two platforms we tend to use, so knowing your way around them makes life simpler.

Oh and I sit on bouncy-ball as opposed to a chair to help with my posture/core.

What is your challenge?

I’m really struggling to come up with something I’ll do with the extra-time (in part because at present I’m feeling busier than ever….) – suspect it will involve yoga poses (which I’ve never done before) + solving a Rubik’s Cube.

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there doing their bit to keep us safe:

I have to say I’ve always been in awe of those people in public service across the board. Right now, to all those fantastic healthcare workers working tirelessly to keep us safe we are forever grateful. My family and I were on the door-step the other night applauding as that’s the very least they deserve.

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are now working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams homes, starting with Senior Service Delivery Manager, Natanja Hunter.

What is your working from home routine?

I try to start each day with 30 minutes of getting familiar with my day.  That actually starts the night before with reviewing the days schedule, ensuring that my meetings don’t overlap, etc.  First thing in the morning, I check my schedule to see if there are any high priority issues that I need to be immediately addressed, then double check my calendar.  If all is well, I have about 25 mins to read (devotionals, the news, etc.) before I have to start moving.

After I shower and dress, I dial into my 7:30AM Daily Operations call.  While listening in I will often walk the dog (Charlie!) and then get started with Round 2 of my day.

Working in the States for a company headquartered in the UK means that my mornings are typically packed, so I’ll get through morning meetings, eat lunch and then start get started with the afternoon.  I try to log off by 5PM to give Charlie an evening walk and then workout.  Then I’ll check back in sometime around 8PM to ensure I haven’t missed anything and review my calendar for the next day.

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t used to working from home?

  1. Find a spot for your “office”. If that’s not a dedicated room, make room some place so that you are able to get oriented and subconsciously recognize that when you sit there, it’s time to work.
  2. Shower and get dressed! Just doing so wakes you up and tells your body it’s time to get started for the day.  Besides, you never know when someone will want to video conference. 😉
  3. Take breaks. Don’t eat every meal at your desk.  Get a stand-up desk (with a mat) if you can, it helps.  Don’t bring your laptop into your living room and bedroom.  When you leave your “office” wherever that may be, leave the laptop there!  A lot of folks don’t realize how easy it is to put in 12+ hour days if you always have your laptop with you.  (I’m also horrible at taking this advice so this a reminder for me as well!)

As a Senior Service Delivery Manager what tools do you find useful when working from home?

  1. A stand up desk
  2. Bluetooth audio devices
  3. Coffee and tea
  4. A large water bottle
  5. A diffuser and essential oils
  6. A candle
  7. Music! Lo-Fi has become a favorite for me to “zone out” to
  8. Closing the blinds if there are a lot of people, kids, activity outside so Charlie doesn’t bark!

 

Xalient have introduced a ‘quaranteam’ scheme to encourage employees to take on a new challenge whilst working from home.

What is your ‘quaranteam’ challenge?

  1. Stay hydrated drink (at least 80 ounces of water a day)
  2. Work out at least 3 times a week
  3. Make meals at home and make use of all the food I’ve been buying for the last 2 weeks 😊

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

Be kind.  To yourself and to others.  Remember that this is a fluid situation and as things change from day to day, we will need to react accordingly.  We are so much stronger when we work together.  When my mind starts to get too negative, I re-focus with a quote or thought.  My personal favorite is Philippians 4:8.  Find a way to stay positive.  We will get through this!

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are now working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams homes, starting with Head of Managed Services, Kieran Darlow.

What is your working from home routine?

Run, shower, brew, set my goals for the day, pick today’s playlist, collaborate and socialise with my amazing team and colleagues to ensure we continue to deliver to our customers whilst supporting each other!

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t use to working from home?

Get some fresh air! It is easy to just sit down and before you know it several hours have passed and you have not even moved! Get your window open, enjoy that fresh air but more importantly take regular breaks and change your scenery – go for a walk, even if it is around your garden.

As a Head of Managed Services what tools do you find useful when working from home?

Whilst Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business have been essential to keep in close communication with both my teams and customers, I would have to say Spotify is critical to ensure some high energy beats inspire me throughout the day.

Xalient have introduced a quaranteam scheme to encourage employees to take on a new challenge while working from home.

I have set myself a goal to run at least 10 miles per week to remain fit and healthy. So far so good. If I keep up my current progress it will not be long before I increase my goal… who knows, the York Marathon 2021 might be on the cards!

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

To our emergency services and all those who are working hard to ensure we remain watered, fed and safe. In the face of danger, your passion continues to help and provide critical services to our nation, you are both mine and my families Hero’s and we will forever be in your debt!

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are now working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams homes, starting with Senior Project Manager, Fay Carter.

What is your working from home routine?

I hate routine.  This is by far my biggest challenge when I’m working from home 100% of the time.

Over the last few days it’s tended to look at bit like this:

  1. Wake up and make a coffee
  2. Join my 1st stand-up meeting at 08:30. Video off for this one.  No one needs to see that.
  3. Make coffee number 2
  4. Remove cat from the laptop, check if he’s pressed any buttons he shouldn’t have, and then crack on with meetings and work I have scheduled for the day
  5. Critical decision point: do I have a 3rd coffee?
  6. More work
  7. Rummage around in the fridge to see what I can conjure up for lunch
  8. Escape the house for some fresh air (weather dependent)
  9. More work / video calls
  10. By this point I will have reached my daily exercise quota based solely on the number of times I have gotten up to let the cats in / out of the house
  11. FaceTime-time
  12. Return to the fridge to contemplate dinner

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t use to working from home?

  • Make sure you take breaks. It’s easy to get sucked into sitting at your desk all day but you wouldn’t do that in the office, so don’t let it happen at home.
  • Understand your working style and tailor your space to suit it. I work best in exciting, noisier environments where I can freely share thoughts and ideas. To make sure I get that at home, I have my record player on the majority of the time belting out my favourites (Led Zeppelin features frequently) to keep me motivated, and I rely on video conferencing to maintain the interaction with colleagues that I need.

As a Senior Project Manager, what tools do you find useful when working from home?

  • Microsoft Teams is my go-to tool when I’m working from home. It does everything you need from instant messaging, real-time editing of documents with your colleagues and customer to video conferencing.  It makes remote collaboration so much easier.
  • A record player and lots of lovely records to listen to.
  • A cat or three.
  • Snacks

Xalient have introduced a ‘quaranteam’ scheme to encourage employees to take on a new challenge while working from home.

What is your challenge?

Mine’s not brand new.  I’m 4 months away from finishing a law degree that I’ve been studying part-time for the last 4 years so I’m taking full advantage of social distancing to write my dissertation. I have zero excuses now not to.

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

Thank you for everything that you are doing to keep us safe be it working in the NHS, delivering much needed parcels or making sure that we can still get our groceries; we couldn’t manage without you.

Understandably, times are hard right now and many businesses are now working from home, team Xalient included. We thought we would open to door into some of the teams homes, starting with Pre-Sales Manager, Tom Grace.

What is your working from home routine?

  1. Coffee, breakfast and time with the kids
  2. Shower
  3. Get dressed and set up in the office
  4. Get disturbed by kids or cats 5 mins later
  5. Many Video calls
  6. Cup of Tea
  7. Get disturbed by kids or cats again
  8. Exercise – Try and do 15 min HIIT session or a quick run
  9. Lunch – I will try and take a break and see the kids for a little while – In the garden if possible
  10. Back to more work
  11. Get disturbed by kids or cats again
  12. Finish work

And what would your advice be for those who aren’t use to working from home?

Make sure you have a comfortable environment to work in, take plenty of breaks and get some fresh air. For me getting daily exercise is important, ideally in the morning as it keeps you motivated for work. Having some music on in the background also helps me keep going.

As a Pre Sales Manager, what tools do you find useful when working from home?

Good Wi-Fi, good headset, a second monitor, Sonos speakers, Web cam cover (comes in handy when kids and pets are involved).

Xalient have introduced a ‘quaranteam’ scheme to encourage employees to take on a new challenge while working from home.

What is your challenge?

Still trying to think of one, welcome any suggestions!

And finally, we want to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to send a message to all the amazing people out there fighting to keep us safe:

As a parent of a child who is in the high risk category (Congenital Heart Defect) I cannot express my thanks to each and every one of you who is out there risking their own lives in order to keep the rest of us safe. Every single one of you is a hero and I hope you realise how grateful the whole world is for your efforts. Your selflessness will never be forgotten.

Pictured: Imran Hussain

Here at Xalient, we have a lot of unsung heroes. That is why we thought it was about time you got to know them all. This month, we have Imran Hussain in the hotseat.

Job title

Tier 2 Network Engineer.

How would you describe your job to a child?

I help to put the building blocks together that allows companies to communicate with each other and the outside world. Like Lego, but not quite.

What values drive you?

Fun, collaboration and development.

What are your biggest professional challenges?

Ensuring I keep up to date with multiple changes, tech and customers environment link to learning, managing both the problem and the customer.

And what do you believe are the biggest challenges within the technology industry?

Keeping up the pace of technology change.

What do you love the most about working with Xalient?

Simply the people.

Could you be next in the hotseat?

We’re always on the lookout for awesome people to join our team. Whether you are in sales, consulting, project management or service delivery – get in touch with us at careers@xalient.com as we’d love to hear from you.

Pictured: Lucy Price

Here at Xalient, we have a lot of unsung heroes. That is why we thought it was about time you got to know them all. This month, we have Lucy Price in the hotseat.

Job title

Service Desk Analyst Level 1.

How would you describe your job to a child?

We help people at work make sure everything works properly. I’m the first person they  would call if something went wrong with their internet.

What values drive you?

Autonomy, success and transparency. These values help me try and create positive impact with everything I do.

What are your biggest professional challenges?

Knowledge. Technology moves so quickly and being able to keep up is key.

And what do you believe are the biggest challenges within the technology industry?

Staying current is a huge challenge when the market is constantly evolving.

What do you love the most about working with Xalient?

I love the inclusive environment where everyone supports each other. I also love the charity work Xalient do with local organisations.

And finally, if you had to use a song to describe your working week, what would it be?

Could you be next in the hotseat?

We’re always on the lookout for awesome people to join our team. Whether you are in sales, consulting, project management or service delivery – get in touch with us at careers@xalient.com as we’d love to hear from you.