A day in the life of Gemma!


30 October 2017

Image: Gemma Harper pictured out on siteAt Optivo, our aim is to build homes and communities people love. It’s an exciting time for us as we’ll have the capacity to build 1,500 homes every year from 2021.

This means our Development & Sales Team are kept busy!

Gemma Harper, Project Manager – New Business, Development & Sales at Optivo (pictured centre), recently shared a ‘day in her life’ with 24housing magazine.

The regular feature looks at people within the housing sector and the differences they make on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s a transcript of the article featuring Gemma which they published in their October edition:

Gemma Harper, Project Manager, Optivo
Employee Since: 2006
Location: Kent

06:30 Early bird catches the worm
I contemplate doing some early morning exercise but that’s as far as I get. Driving to work I tune into Radio 4 to listen to the headlines. This station discusses some thought provoking topics that more often than not relate to housing and the direction we’re taking.

8:30 Must Must Must
Mind stimulated and coffee in hand I write down my 5 must do’s of the day:
1. Site meeting
2. Approve sales and marketing strategy
3. Run a new scheme appraisal
4. Chase progress on planning application
5. Update Cashflows

Image: A computer generated image of Wild Ash Croft9:00 – 10.30 Quality Houses
I attend a site visit at ‘Wild Ash Croft’ in Sittingbourne – an exciting scheme which involves bringing 40 new family homes to the area as part of an £8.6million regeneration project.
I meet the project team to inspect the progress and review actions taken and needed.

10:30 – 12:30 Devil is in the details
Meeting with a developer to agree a sales and marketing strategy for one of my sites which will deliver 210 much-needed homes. It’s important to have an agreed approach to target the right market, at the right time and the right price.

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
I’ve stopped contemplating and I’m definitely doing some exercise. I nip across to the gym for a quick workout. I think it’s important to take a break and exercise is a great way to keep motivated and help relieve stress.

1:30 – 2:30 I love shopping
Buying a piece of land is a lot like shopping. I want to make sure I get a good deal, I want quality and something that fits!
I assess the site by researching the area and local values. I read through the planning documentation and assess the viability of the site.
And then like you do when buying a new outfit I get a second opinion…I ask my colleagues in the housing team if this is a site they want. Answers to this being yes and it’s a good deal I make the offer.

2:30 – 3:30 Eye on the prize
A weekly call with my project team to chase progress on a planning application. Programming is an important aspect of project management, by scheduling time for updates I can ensure the project keeps moving and that everyone’s attention is focused on the actions they need to take.

3:30 – 5:20 Spend it as if it was your own
I re-forecast my cashflows on all of my schemes to make sure I know what I’m spending and when. Overspending on a scheme could potentially affect the wider programme and the number of homes we’re able to deliver.

5:20 – 6:00 My thought of the day
Cliché I know but driving home I make use of this time by acknowledging what went well and what I could have done better. Having done this in the car I can open the front door with a clear head and ready to enjoy the evening.

My annual trip to Portugal with my husband and his family in the quiet fishing village of Burgau. Afternoon stroll over the cliffs finishing at the beach bar with a drink or two where we watch the fishing boats come in and the sun set.