A day in the life at Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester
01 July 2020 07:49

Project Manager Charlie shares an insight into her busy working day

For many of our staff and volunteers, working from home has become the ‘new normal’. While our service has adapted well to this change, this new way of working can bring its own unique quirks. Charlie shares a busy day managing multiple roles, projects and pets at Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester…


Hi, I’m Charlie and I’m the Projects Manager for Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester. I started as a volunteer about 5 years ago and since then I’ve worked as a Project Worker, Outreach Worker, Trainer, Supervisor and Team Leader. My current role involves managing things such as Help to Claim, Social Prescribing, Home Visiting, Domestic Abuse support and many more, as well as volunteer recruitment.

I’m also co-chair of the Citizens Advice Disability Network Group and have lived experience of numerous health conditions, the effects of which, in short, give me constant pain and exhaustion.

This week is a particularly busy one for me as our Operations Manager is on leave, which means I’m also the point of contact for the Supervisory and Administration teams. We’ve also created a new role of a Campaigns and Communication Manager and he’s started this week too.


Okay, it’s 8.30am

After a long commute from the bedroom to the “office” (other bedroom), it’s time to get ready for the day.

Officially I don’t start until 9am but I like to get logged in and start planning for the day a bit before. I’m much more of a night owl than an early riser (well, in reality, more of a permanently exhausted pigeon) so that’s plenty early enough for me. Because of my health conditions, I need to take medication to sleep through the night and feel rested, so I can be a little groggy in the mornings.

Videoconferencing has been vital when working from home. We have team chats for each day of the week (there’s about 30 people in each), as well as private chats. The choruses of “good morning” help me to keep track with which day it is!


9.10am is time for the supervisor catch up

Unfortunately, one of our supervisors is unwell today so it’s a tactical talk about how best to manage the day being a person down. Oh, and Rogue the cat made a guest appearance strutting across the desk while a colleague’s dog joined in with the exchanging of hellos.



At 9.30am we have a meeting led by the supervisor of the day to update the team on any new changes this week

We also have a discussion point and this week it’s “what have you been grateful for and what have you missed?”. You wouldn’t believe the range of things people are grateful for!



Now it’s time to catch up with the CEO

We have a new project starting later this month to provide fuel top-ups to those in need and we need to plan how it’s going to work. We’ve already been hosting a similar scheme but different funders want different things so we need to make sure all bases are covered.


Time for a cup of tea before getting on

There are some urgent things that need doing for the new project so my original plan of completing another report today is going to go out the window. Oh, and I must email the administrators with some things that need doing before I forget!



Some ad hoc tasks that popped up before lunch:


  • Checking our website details are correct


  • Supporting a supervisor with giving advice to a client through a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter


  • Finding instructions for an adviser’s mobile phone


  • Getting messages together for a leaving card


I’m stopping for a lunch break!

I always try and go to the garden to take a break from the screen and get some fresh air. My border collie joins me and keeps me safe by attempting to herd the birds… that are flying…



Back to work


Numerous emails and messages have come in while on lunch so I’ll filter through them to check for anything urgent before continuing on. The guidance documents for the new project must get done so we can start delivery this month.

Great news! We’re having more students join us for their social work placement from the local university in September. I’ll need to get their training materials together and work out some of the practical arrangements. It’s going to be a bit trickier than usual when we don’t know if we can return to face-to-face services in September so I’ll need to plan for working from home too.

My day job goes on hold for the final 45 minutes of the day so I can catch up with the other co-chairs of the Disability Network Group and hear from the Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team about their work. The percentage of disabled staff is quite encouraging and it’s great to hear that improvements of EDI are high on the organisation’s agenda.


Okay, it’s waaay past 5pm and I really must call it a day.

Emails and messages came through while on the other call. But everything else will have to wait until tomorrow, including those reports that I was definitely going to write today…