A day in the life of our Military Matters Housing Options Broker – Karen Campbell

Karen CampbellIts that time again! Another fascinating ‘day in the life’ interview with one of the Housing Options Scotland team.

In part 4 of this series we’ve been speaking with our Military Matters Housing Options Broker Karen Campbell. Lets see what she had to say:

1.What does a Military Matters Housing Options Broker do? 

My role is quite new in the organisation.  I help veterans and members of the Armed Forces Community, who have a disability, to look at their housing options.  I work over the phone, email and face-to-face with clients to help them until they find a solution to whatever housing issue they have.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

My commute is very short.  I walk from my back door to the bottom of my garden where I have a garden office that I work from.

3.What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Tell us about your workspace, is it tidy or messy?

The first thing I do is turn my heater on!  My garden office is very lovely but usually needs heating up first thing.  Then I log on to my emails and make sure my phone is turned on and charged up for the day.  I usually have a cup of tea at the ready.  My desk is very tidy.  I lose my concentration if I have too much clutter lying around.  I much prefer to make notes on my computer rather than using paper.

4.What does agile working mean to you?

For me, agile working means everything.  It means I’ve been able to get back into employment, with 2 small children at home that’s not always easy.  It means I can choose when I work so our childcare costs are much more manageable.  It also makes me feel valued as an employee because I know that my family life isn’t seen as a burden at work, I think there can be a lot of pressure to keep family life separate from your work which is hard because the two don’t exist in isolation.

5. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

We keep in daily contact on WhatsApp and we talk on the phone.  We also have regular team catch ups and one-to-ones.

6. What do you listen to at your desk? Or do you like silence and why?

I usually work without any background music etc.  Because I’m in my garden office there are lots of background noises of people passing by and bird song.  Or sometimes I listen to the weather, wind and rain being the most atmospheric!

7. What does a normal day look like for you?

That’s pretty hard to describe.  Although I’ve mentioned my home working I also spend time out and about.  So, last week for example, I went to a Housing Group meeting with military and housing organisations in Midlothian, I was at my desk speaking with clients over the phone and email and I attended a housing brief at a barracks in Edinburgh.

8. What is your favourite thing to do for lunch when you are working?

I like to take my dog, Poppy, for a walk.  I like to make myself some lunch and pop the radio on in my kitchen.  If the weather is nice I like to sit in the garden where I have the added advantage of not seeing all the mess my kids have left all over the house!

9. What do you find most interesting about your job?

There are so many interesting things.  I love being able to help people find a solution to their housing problem.  Many people come to us in very difficult circumstances.  At the moment, as my role is quite new, I’m spending a lot of time finding out about different organisations and what help they offer veterans.  I’m finding that very interesting as there’s so much help available and working together can only be a good thing for our clients.

10. Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I love to sing and I play a little piano (very amateurly).  I used to sing in my local choir but for the moment I am happy singing at home with my 3 year old.   She is the top Musical Director in our house and could give Simon Cowell a run for his money.


11. What is the best thing about working for Housing Options Scotland?

Helping people with their housing, oh and working with a lovely team, oh and agile working.  Whoops, that’s 3!