A Day in the Life: JAW Sustainability

In ‘A Day in the Life’ we reach out to thought leaders, business leaders and social entrepreneurs and ask them to share with us an average day in their working life.

This week we spoke to Jess James and Lucy Smallwood of JAW Sustainability. Based in London, JAW Sustainability provide specialist sustainability support for construction and fit-out projects of all types through the planning stages to handover and occupation.

A Day in the Life: JAW Sustainability

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What is in store for you today?

Well it’s Monday so quite a low key day as we tend to get our weekly admin and report submission sorted on a Friday, so that’s all been done. The biggest news today is the hip-hop karaoke competition later this evening in the office!

What does a typical working day look like?

Typical day?! Not sure we have one really! Over any one week we can be found assessing projects, completing reports, bidding for new work, out at design team meetings, giving CPD presentations, working on our marketing material or at networking breakfast or evening events. It’s a very varied life at the moment. Our company is only six months old so it’s been a crazy time of establishing ourselves, working through the minefield of potential project management software options, website development, setting up templates, finding an office, getting used to the world of admin as well as actually competing for, winning and doing project work! We love it though.

Are there any sort of personal rituals or routines that you have to undertake before you start work?

Lucy can’t start the day without a strong coffee. For Jess it’s Marmite on toast. Other than that it’s pretty much get in, quick catch up, and get on with the day.

As a team, do you have any group rituals or events per day or week?

We are a team of two so we work really closely together. We’re also really good friends so probably spend far too much time together. As such, we don’t really need to practice any team bonding exercises or whatnot. We do tend to go to the same networking events rather than taking a ‘divide and conquer’ approach, but actually our company is very much tied up in our personalities and so we think it’s important to meet potential new clients together.

When your team come together, is it in a digital sense, or is there still a physical meeting up?

See above!

What projects have you currently got on, and what upcoming projects are exciting you?

We’re working on quite a few large and interesting projects at the moment, including a Sustainability Hub at a University, a super green house that is partially underground and some nice office and retail fit outs that we are helping to make more sustainable.

How do you measure impact and successes, and how do you celebrate them?

Well we’re still in a data collection period so that we can start establishing some proper KPIs and projections for the company. However generally, we have a very good turnover rate of fee proposals to work and are definitely currently outperforming the business plan we wrote out last year. We get a lot of great feedback from our clients on our work and have many repeat clients, which we count as a great success. Our reputation is very important to us. We try to celebrate any milestones, even the small ones, as we feel it’s important to enjoy our work now we are doing it for ourselves. We just had a launch party which was very successful.

What gets you through the day? (Any podcasts, activities, thoughts etc?)

We work in Old Street as so are surrounded by excellent lunch options. We try to take a full lunch break at least a few times a week, get lunch together and chat, not necessarily about work although some of our best ideas for the company have probably come out of these more relaxed moments in the day.

What are you currently reading?

The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett (Lucy).  1984 (Jess)

What’s your Ethos?

We strive to always work in a way that has a positive environmental impact on any project, even more commercially led. We believe in providing a good and friendly service. As we develop our business we’d like to focus more on research and community led projects that have a wider impact on the environment.


Find out more about JAW Sustainability here: https://www.jawsustainability.com/

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