Q&A with Geraldine, Office Manager at Wise

PeopleLondon

I look after the people who work in our London office and no day is the same. One day, I could be setting up for an event, the next planning and project managing an office expansion. I look after the office environment, and my goal is to bring people together. We’re like the welcoming committee when you first join the company.

Why did you join Wise?

I knew joining a fast-growing company would be great for my development, and the culture looked great too. When I came in for my interview, the office looked like a cool place to look after.

What’s the biggest challenge working here?

We’re scaling very quickly, so it’s crucial to build frameworks and guidelines to help us as we scale, rather than reinventing the wheel every time. In the Office Team, we manage growth by planning together as a global office team, aligning on everything from meeting room etiquette to welcoming newbies and wellbeing initiatives in the office. We want to make sure our offices are aligned, so we create a consistent employee experience.

The feedback culture here has always been out of my comfort zone. Everyone gives feedback to everyone – to leads and peers. I’ve had to push myself to give direct, constructive feedback to my lead, but it’s developed me as a person.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

The two London office expansions I project managed. I worked with lots of stakeholders within Wise from the Head of Design to the AV and IT team, to employees who work in the office. It involved lots of teamwork, managing budgets, and figuring how to include our employees in the process. We wanted to make the expansion as inclusive as possible so our employees got to test the new massage chairs, vote on furniture we should buy and suggested and vote for the names of our meeting rooms.

The biggest learning for me was to take calculated risks and not be afraid to make mistakes. When you make mistakes, you learn a lot. But it’s also important to share your learnings with people so they can learn from them too.

Most interesting place you’ve used your Wise card?

A Hammam in Marrakech in Morocco.

What’s your team’s fun tradition?

Every 2 weeks, we do an activity together. We’ve recently done a Van Gogh painting class and pottery. In the office, we take time to have game breaks or just chats over doughnuts and coffee.

What does working with freedom mean to you?

As I have small children, I wanted somewhere where I can have that flexibility to spend time with my family. When I mentioned that I have children at home in the interview process, I was relieved to hear ‘we have lots of families here’. Having a support network of other parents at Wise and the ability to bring my son in for Kid’s Day means a lot to me. It makes me feel lucky as not many of my working parent friends have that. And also, my son thinks I work in the coolest place when he saw our games room!

How do you balance family life with work?

I’ve learnt it’s all about having structure and a good network around you. It’s important to me that I can bring my son into the office whenever needed. Not having to fear being judged if your childcare falls through is priceless. Or the flexibility to work from home to grab the kids from an after school club. I can have open and honest conversations about this with my lead. It’s so much more flexible than a 9-5 job.