Caroline Evans is the Zenith Office Manager and all round Queen of Organisation. We would be lost without her!
Can you tell us a little bit about your working life before joining Zenith?
I worked at Friends Provident (which later changed to Friends Life then Aviva) for 26 years, joining at 18. I started out as an Office Junior and worked my way up to Personal Assistant. For the last 8 years of my job there I was working from home – so home working has always been something I was very used to pre-Covid!
I joined Zenith in the February of 2020. The job really stood out as it enabled me to work within growing business offering a bit of everything for my career – and it was a local office!
After spending over 8 years working from home, would you say you’ve mastered the art of home working?
Haha – maybe! It’s funny because after my 8 years of home working, I only had 8 weeks in the Zenith office before Covid hit and we were all working from home. I don’t mind working from home and do try to go on a walk most lunchtimes – I don’t always succeed though! A really important thing I have learnt though is to try separate ‘work’ from ‘home’, this can be tricky but definitely worth doing. Microsoft Teams meetings have made life so much easier and enable you to put faces to names much more easily.
What do you prefer? Working from home or in an office?
Working from home certainly has its place but I really miss the interaction you get from an office – a lot of the Zenith team I have only met virtually! For our graduate employees in particular, I think it’s so important that we do return to office working or some sort of hybrid with home working so they can get a real feel for what working in an office environment is like.
Outside the world of Zenith, what are your hobbies?
Outside of work I’m a big football fan. I’m from Bury so naturally I supported my local football team. It has been at the heart of the community for more than a century and has been a big part of my life. I am one of three girls ( I think my dad wanted me to be a boy) and I was the one who went with him to watch Bury F.C. play each week. After having a break, I started watching with him again in my thirties. We would go to games at home and away and I would have tea with my Mum and Dad on a Saturday evening which is great because I hate cooking! The real tragedy for Bury is that in 2019 the Club was expelled from the Football League after prolonged financial difficulties. The ground in Gigg Lane is still there in the heart of the town, but it’s up for sale. The groundsman still cuts the grass every week, even though he’s not being paid. The pitch looks beautiful, but I doubt we’ll ever see a game of football played there again. It’s not all gloom though, Manchester United has filled the void left by Bury. My Mum and Dad were supporters when they were growing up, in fact they met in the Stretford End. That’s where they did their ‘courting’ as they used to say. So the club has a special place in all our hearts.
Who would you say are your inspirations?
My inspirations are certainly my Mum and Dad, my Mum in particular always knows what to do – I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking her for advice! At school a teacher who inspired me was, Mrs Hannay, she taught typing. She was so positive and inspiring and encouraged me to study business administration at college. I kept in touch with her until she died.
If you could choose any people in the world to invite for dinner, who would you choose?
That’s a very tricky question! I think it would have to be the singer Bruno Mars and the comedian Peter Kay. I think he’s hilarious and would be sure to get everyone laughing. My third guest would be my younger self. Maybe me in my twenties, so I could give myself a good talking to. I would tell myself to be more confident and to believe in myself more. I would invite them all to my Mum and Dad’s house for Sunday Lunch, which I love and I think it’s hard to beat.
Looking to the future of Zenith, what are you most looking forward to?
As I mentioned earlier, I do miss office interaction and I’m really looking forward to heading back into the office properly – we are currently looking to change our office location to Manchester! I don’t think office life will ever be the same as it was before Covid. I think there will now always be a hybrid way of working with a combination of home and office. The Zenith team have done brilliantly throughout lockdown and built really strong working relationships over Teams. But what I am really looking forward to is the team away day which we are organising for October. Many of us have never met in person so it will be a great opportunity to all meet properly and get to know one another outside of work.