Interview: Head of Account Management, Christine Parkhill, speaks with EBM Magazine on the importance of flexibility in the workplace
Our Head of Account Management, Christine Parkhill, spoke with Rachel Zammit Cutajar from EBM Magazine on the importance of flexibility in the workplace, and how this has helped her to pursue her passions further whilst also improving work productivity.
Read the full interview below:
The lifestyle changes that the pandemic brought about have given companies food for thought about how to organise workers in a fashion that brings about most productivity while also looking after the well-being of their employees. Christine Parkhill, Head of Account Management and Business Intelligence at Push Gaming believes that the pandemic has been the death of the nine-to-five, and some of the changes in working structures are here to stay.
“It’s no secret that a more flexible work schedule increases productivity,” Christine explains. “Being able to flick the work switch, so that you can balance your headspace between work life and rest has been tricky for most people during the pandemic. I’ve seen this from personal experience.”
As with so many other people, Christine hardly took any vacation time last year, thinking she would take it when it was possible to travel again. “I’ve always associated switching off with travel, so when the pandemic first hit, I struggled to give myself any time off work at all. My husband also works in the industry, as do most of our friends, so we end up talking about work all the time. We’re all passionate about what we do, however it’s good to switch off sometimes. Throughout this year, I’ve learnt how important it is to find activities that take you away from work and allow you to take the rest you need to be more productive.”
Christine has found her haven in horse riding. Taking up the sport in preparation for a five-day trek on horseback around Sicily in 2019, she quickly found her inner horse girl and kept it up after the holiday. She started following RMJ – a local horse rescue centre – and when Nilo came up for adoption she jumped at the opportunity.
“I’ve loved horses ever since I was a child and am really passionate about the sport. It really does take up a lot of time, but I believe it has made me more efficient. When I’m at the yard, I leave my phone in the car and that time becomes all about me and the horses. Conversation never strays into games of any kind as no one at my yard works in iGaming. This really allows me to switch off for a short time and then I am able to sit down again, refreshed and able to face the day.”
The structure at Push Gaming has always been very flexible, even before the pandemic. “I’d never be able to practice this sport without the flexibility I have at Push. We’ve always had a very flat structure where people are encouraged to do things they like. Company culture is so important, and when the situation allows, we generally tend to recruit juniors, then allow them to grow and find their own way. We believe that when workers are happy, they perform much better.”
Christine was a mechanical engineer before she joined the iGaming industry, and is a whizz at crunching numbers. She also runs the company’s Business Intelligence team. From a profitability aspect, employees’ well-being is important. “Recruitment takes up a lot of time and resources. Content workers do not leave, making it unnecessary to spend that extra money finding new ones. Flexibility costs nothing.”
Christine is also an avid runner, having competed at half marathon level, she also loves dining out and traveling. The last two, she is looking forward to when COVID restrictions ease. “Although working from home has its benefits in flexibility, I do miss meeting my teams as well as clients. I feel like it is quite difficult to maintain relationships solely online and you also lose a little bit of the insider knowledge you pick up from informal chit chat when having drinks or dinner. In such a fast-changing industry this kind of information is invaluable and it’s not really available anywhere else – you can’t just get up in the morning and Google it!”
Once COVID restrictions ease, Christine says she is unlikely to return to the nine-to-five, rather opting for two days at the office and three days working from home. This is achievable for everyone. “There is no need to be in the office counting hours. I don’t need to know exactly what my team is doing at all hours of the day. As long as staff are accountable and get the job done then they could be doing whatever it is that makes them happy! Of course, people need to have the right attitude and understand that there are some days when physical presence is necessary. It’s all about give and take, and at Push we hire on attitude, rather than knowledge. Knowledge is teachable, attitude is not.”
The original interview may be found on here (pages 24-27, "The Death of the Nine-to-Five")