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A Day in the Life of Our COO, Andrew Cloke

Categories: People

A question I often get asked by people in the SaaS industry, especially in the UK, is what a typical day looks like for me as a Chief Operations Officer (COO). This curiosity intensifies when they learn that our company operates across two different time zones—India and the UK—and that our team is predominantly based in India. My objectives are straightforward: to shape what is already an outstanding business, ensuring it is secure, stable, and capable of scaling to meet the ambitions of our founder and dedicated employees.

Here’s a glimpse into a typical day in my life as a COO of a scaling SaaS company navigating two time zones.

Start the Day Early

To maximize my working hours, I start my day around 5 am. Once I’m up I make myself a strong cup of tea to kick-start my brain. By 5:30 am, I’m logged into work, which coincides with 9:30 am or 10 am in India, depending on daylight savings. This timing is crucial because it’s when my India team starts their day.

The Workday

I dedicate my mornings to one-on-one meetings via video conferencing with my team, conducting interviews, and handling any overnight correspondence. This includes our weekly reviews, which we call Level 10s. I also check for any actions requiring my approval, ensuring they’re addressed early so the team can proceed without delays.

By 9 am, which is around 1:30 pm in India, I log off as it’s their usual lunchtime. I reach the office around 10 am, which is 3:30 pm in India. Despite having a talented team handling operational matters ranging from HR, payroll, recruitment, facilities, finance, and compliance, I prefer to immerse myself in the details. Understanding the issues that shape our business is essential.

I tackle a variety of operational and administrative tasks daily on an ad hoc basis. This can include drafting documentation for new roles, conducting background checks, and preparing visa documents and travel arrangements for colleagues traveling between the two countries. While this can consume a significant portion of my working hours, the variety of tasks and challenges is what I enjoy most.

Goal Setting

Handling many ad hoc tasks means I need to set aside time specifically for my larger targets. At the beginning of the year, I outline five to six strategic objectives for the company. I break these down into smaller, step-by-step components, working on and ticking them off almost every week. I maintain a physical diary to jot down my to-dos and schedule them using the Outlook calendar, adding tiny notes next to meetings or tasks that need attention. This system, despite the continuous flow of meetings, works well for me.

Staying Mindful

To clear my head or take a break, I listen to the radio during my 45-minute drive to work. It helps set the pace for the day. Additionally, I go for a brisk 20-minute walk post-lunch at around 3 pm to get some fresh air, rejuvenate myself. Sometimes, I walk to the nearby supermarket to grab lunch, which again provides a refreshing break.

On my way home from work, usually around 7 pm, I unwind by listening to podcasts on Spotify. Currently, I’m enjoying “Empire” by Anita Anand and William Dalrymple.

Keeping Physically Fit

Two years ago, I coached a kids’ English cricket club, which kept me physically fit. Although I’m no longer coaching, I maintain my fitness by doing a 5K park run almost every alternate Saturday and playing golf every couple of months. These activities are refreshing and help me focus better.

India Visits

I visit India for about three weeks every quarter. I thoroughly enjoy traveling and staying there. There’s no substitute for meeting people face to face. My schedule at the India office differs slightly—I start at 8:30 am and stay until 7 pm, scheduling meetings on the fly.

In summary, being the COO of a scaling SaaS company across two time zones is demanding but immensely rewarding. The variety of tasks, strategic goals, and the need to stay mindful and fit keep my days dynamic and fulfilling.