This week operations are the star of the show. Pulling this complex and unique role into the light has been fun, and I’m excited to learn more.
I had the pleasure of gaining Praxis grad Emony Anderson’s perspective on the role. Emony does it all at Linen Club, and her experience is truly fascinating. Read on to find out how interactive operations can be.
Q1: What do operations entail in terms of day to day activities?
“Operations is probably one of the most diverse job descriptions in business, but I’ll describe what day-to-day activities are for me keeping Linen Club operating:
Scheduling our staff based on data from our clients is one of my top priorities and needs to be checked multiple times a day.
Buying, transporting and preparing supplies at our different locations/making sure each staff member has what they need to do their job.
Creating and printing training/feedback resources and manuals to keep the staff up to date on our clients’ needs and requests
Already we see how integral this role is day-to-day. Scheduling, buying, creating, reporting. All of which need to be balanced and organized.
Q2: Why is this particular role important to the overall health and success of the business?
“Operations is literally doing what has to happen so the business keeps operating. Things like organizing logistics, communicating between the team, making sure everyone has what they need, creating systems to keep repeat needs met. It’s everything in between the idea of the actual product showing up for the customer. Operations is not only important, it’s crucial — without someone to keep things running, the business’s product will not go to the customers, and the business will collapse.”
Q3: What are the hardest parts of operations?
“Operations is nonstop. You can never take a break from making sure the business is running smoothly and everyone has what they need, because if you stop doing that then the business falls apart pretty quickly. Being an operations associate has been hardest on the busy days when I’d love to call it a day and finish tomorrow, but I literally can’t.”
Q4: What are the most rewarding parts of the role?
“You get to make contact with every aspect of the business. You’re the one the staff congratulates when things are going well, who the clients see plodding along every day. My most rewarding times have been working through problems alongside staff, clients, or my bosses, and being able to give them info and resources from all of the different areas I’m part of each day that they rarely see connect.”
Offering insight and resources, making connections. I hadn’t thought about the role that way until now and it makes total sense.
Q5: Is there anything cool or interesting about operations most people don’t know?
“Not sure if people don’t know this, but operations often ends up being much more physical than computer/tech work — at least for me. I get to drive a van around the city to transport supplies, for example. I love having excuses to be out and about rather than sitting in front of a screen.”
Q6: Are there any negative stereotypes or misconceptions people have about operations that you think are untrue?
“That it’s all scheduling and numbers and putting people’s names in spreadsheets. Operations mean if a staff member reports they’re missing a component of the product on the way to deliver it to the customer, you’re the one who hops in the car, buys it, delivers it, and smooths things over with the client. Obviously, it would be different with a tech product, but running a business has so many more moving parts than the digital ones.”
Q7: What does it take to be successful in operations?
“Patience and resilience. Things go wrong and there are often last-minute needs and emergencies, which are more stressful in operations because an issue in operations means an issue in the entire process of making sure your customer gets what they paid for. Like I said, if operations stop, the business stops. You need to be ready for things to go wrong and then have the willingness to see what needs to be done and get it done, even if it’s time consuming, inconvenient, frustrating, or embarrassing. You can’t shut down and call it quits. You have to power through.”
Q8: What kind of hard skills are necessary or useful for operations?
“Know any tools relating to company communication like the back of your hand. It’ll be you setting up Zoom calls, inputting new staff into Deputy, designing and printing staff notes. Writing will be important, as you’re recording company processes. People management has been a big one for me, though in a more tech-based company this may be more project management.”
Operations have a hand in every pot, a hat in every department, and insight into connections that most people don’t see.
Next up, we’ll further explore why operations are essential to a company.
Thanks for reading!