July 19, 2022


Weyinmi Barber: Seasoned HR professional in tech

Hosted by

Oluwanifemi Kolawole
Weyinmi Barber: Seasoned HR professional in tech
Expert and African
Weyinmi Barber: Seasoned HR professional in tech

Jul 19 2022 | 00:35:50


Show Notes

On this episode, Weyinmi Barber, Softcom’s head of HR takes us on a ride into the complexities of the HR profession, including the peculiarities that led her into it.

Side note: This is the complete interview, not a scripted non-fiction podcast.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Weyinmi Barber: HR is something you learn by doing. It's experience. It's not book. Yes, there are certifications, but those certifications are handy after you've worked a while and you know where you want to focus. [00:00:10] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Welcome to another episode of Expert and African, where we spotlight African tech specialists and their journey from newbie to expert. On this episode, Weyinmi Barber, Softcom's head of HR, takes us on a ride into the complexities of the HR profession, including the peculiarities that led her into it. So, let's meet you, Weyinmi. [00:00:34] Weyinmi Barber: I am an HR professional, I'm currently building my career in HR leadership in the tech startup space. And I really enjoy what I do, I'm very fortunate to have been someone who intentionally sought out a career path that I believed or found out was a good fit for me. My background is in oil and gas. So I was at an oil and gas company for about eight years prior to joining Softcom as the SVP of people and culture, which is the head of HR. The last two years specifically have been HR in the tech startup space, which is a completely different ballgame. Trust me. I joined Softcom about two years ago and I've really had the opportunity to do a lot of organizational design and HR strategy. So in that regard, it's been a great fit for me. I also really enjoy being in the tech space. I really do. And so I've really spent the last two years and I intend to spend the next several years really branding myself or refocusing my competencies as an HR expert in the tech space because I did HR for many years. Look, tech space is different. Many of the things that are considered best practices in HR, they work in other industries, they don't work in a startup space. They don't work. There's no other way to say it. You have to do things differently. So, the last few years for me have really been a learning curve. It's not for everybody. I've enjoyed the challenge. You work long hours, you're constantly thinking, constantly trying to solve problems, and the people issues are very, very unique. Right? I'll give you an example. In a lot of traditional industries, like maybe banking or consulting, there's generally a correlation between your competence and your years of experience. So what I mean by that is someone who has been in consulting for six years versus someone who has been in consulting for two years. By default, there is a general understanding that the person who has been doing it for six years is more competent because they have more experience. That doesn't work in the tech space, especially for engineers, because someone who has really developed themselves in two years might be writing better code than someone that has been doing it for six years. And so that person is even reviewing the code of the person that has been coding for six. years So, how do you then build a career path? How do you then try to say that the person with six years is a senior engineer, senior backend engineer, and then the other person is maybe a junior? How? When they are the ones reviewing the other person's work. I enjoy being around tech people. I enjoy the conversations. I enjoy the energy and most of all, I really enjoy that sense of connection to purpose. I haven't seen it in any other industry. You talk to people in tech, you talk to startup founders these are people who are genuinely trying to make an impact, genuinely trying to solve real problems, genuinely trying to make people's lives better, more effective, more efficient, and give people opportunities. In addition to everything else I love about the tech space is that very, very strong sense of purpose and passion that you see when you're talking to founders, CEOs, CTOs, engineers, very, very strong sense of purpose. When I interview engineers and ask them what you like about your job. They always say I love that I get to impact people's lives. I build products that make people's lives better. I enjoy many different things. I like to read. I like to watch movies. I also really like food. I like eating it's more than I like cooking it, but from time to time, I do cook it. and I also like to travel. [00:04:05] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Do you have a philosophy or a favourite quote that guides you? [00:04:12] Weyinmi Barber: My favourite quote is it's often ascribed to Warren buffet and he says that no matter what in life, some things just take time. You can't have a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. Okay. Some things just take time. [00:04:30] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: I'll take you back to the background, where you started from? What influenced the Weyinmi we see these days. I want to have a look into how your childhood was, growing up with siblings, growing up with your parents, the environment you grew up in. So, I want to have a picture of that. [00:04:48] Weyinmi Barber: I was born in Warri, Delta state. And I spent the early part of my childhood there. And I spent a lot of time playing outside as a child. Right. So fun fact about me, my favourite time of the day is, you know, when it's evening, but just before it gets dark. So it's called Twilight. Right. Just when the sun is setting. And I realized after many years that the reason that's my favourite time of the day is because that was around the time that they would come and drag us in. Like you've been running around with the kids in your neighbourhood playing. And once I see that it's Twilight, I know that I have like maybe 10 more minutes before they come and grab me. Oya go and bath. So that adrenaline rush always made those last 10, 15 minutes, so much fun. That once I look outside the window and I see it's twilight, I get that adrenaline rush again, even all these years later. So yeah I love playing outside as a child, climbing trees. And I liked making things with my hands. So there was a time when my mom thought maybe I was going to be a fashion designer because I liked crafts, like making dolls and I would make clothes for my doll. And I remember my mom had to get me this book about how to make a doll, and she would buy me fabric and threads in different colours. And I was self-taught. I liked playing outside. I liked making things with my hands. I also liked reading a lot. I loved reading. I could escape into a book. So what that did for me is it exposed me to a whole world that was outside there beyond my family, beyond my hometown. Right. So I, I knew a lot of different things about a lot of different things, because I read everything from novels to like just different kinds of books, about different things. It did a lot for me in the sense of exposure. And then I also think it helped me in school because when it came to subjects that required a lot of reading. You know how there are some people that be like, I don't like reading once I see plenty text, I shut down. I don't have a problem with it. So I realized that subjects that required a lot of reading and writing. I did very well because I was very comfortable with like long passages, text. It helped my vocabulary very well also. So I could speak very well. I remember when I was eight or nine, my mom got me this children's dictionary. And, you know, there was a period of time where I would come home every day after school. And while I'm changing, I would open the dictionary and try to learn a new word every day. So I would pick a new word and try and learn how to pronounce it and what it meant. I don't know why I used to do that, but I did for, for a bit. We moved to Lagos when I was about, I think I was six or seven or eight. I've lived in Lagos ever since. But I went to secondary school. I went to boarding school in Benin city. . Yeah. Yeah. Which, which was a very interesting experience. Um, you know, so you are exposed to a different culture, different food. Because I had been exposed to so many different things and I felt like there are different career options I could have enjoyed and done well, right. I got to university and I wasn't sure what I wanted to study. At that point, I knew I didn't want to be a doctor. So that one was not happening. So I knew I wanted to work, but I wasn't sure what career path. And then, you know, there was all this hype around IT and stuff. I wasn't sure. So I studied a course called information management at Babcock university. And, I just spent that phase of my life, trying to figure out what am I good at? Where can I go to another career? So you can say I had different thoughts at different stages in life. Oh, I'm good at making things, maybe I should do fashion. Oh, I can read and write really well. I should be a writer. I attended Babcock university. I'm a proud graduate of Babcock University. I'm a Babcockite, as we call ourselves. When I graduated from university, right, the tech industry was of course, nowhere near what it is today. So while there was lots of talk about, oh, IT being the future, the IT industry, or the tech industry, as it exists today in Nigeria, it really didn't exist in the same way. I'm saying all of this to let you know that I actually started my career as an IT person for the first two years of my career. But I didn't really like it. Because I work in a tech space, I've now been told that I didn't really get the right exposure to tech. I didn't get the right exposure to the software side of things. Back in the day, what everybody was sort of doing is if you study IT or an IT adjacent course, then you go and do CCNA, there's this networking certificate. That was what everybody was doing back then. And it wasn't really what I wanted. So I left my job and I went back to school and I did a master's degree. And I was very fortunate to go to a school where they had a career centre. So you could go there and have conversations with people, get counsel about what kind of career path you should consider based on your personality, your temperament, your strengths. And so one of the career options that came up from me was HR. So I had this in the back of my mind that as I'm going back into the work environment, as I'm applying for jobs to start my career again, HR is one of the fields that I will consider and as luck and fate, and God would have it, I came back to Nigeria and I got to HR job very quickly after, that was in oil and gas industry. So I was there for a while and I played different roles at different times. I was really lucky that I got to do different roles, so it's not like I was doing the same thing. And what that helped me do was I had time to try and figure out, okay, where in HR do I want to focus? Cause I did different things. I did compensation and benefits for I think about three and a half years and I even thought, oh, maybe I want to be a comp and bens specialist. But at the end of the day, I realized that the aspect of HR I really liked was something called organizational design. So that's when you develop HR strategy and you come up with initiatives to try and solve problems, right. People issues. So whether it's building a career framework, developing a talent management framework and applying it to your organization. [00:10:47] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Would you say that you had a privileged background growing up? [00:10:52] Weyinmi Barber: I would say that I grew up with parents who valued education. I think like a lot of Nigerian parents. Right. My father was a doctor, so I remember that from when we were about 10, he would start asking us what do you think you want to be? You know, and when they saw that I was really good with reading and writing... I started writing stories when I was about eight years old. So again, I went to another phase where I thought, okay, I'm gonna be a writer. Right. And they were very encouraging. I remember they had these friends couple that came over to a house one day and they saw the stories I'd written and they were, you know, so impressed. So, my parents were very supportive and my father was the kind of person that from a young age, he was already asking all those sorts of questions. Okay, start thinking about your future. What do you want to be? Because he was someone who really, really loved being a doctor. You know, there are so many people in this part of the world who go to medical school because it's like, okay, your parents have told you go and read medicine, but my father really loved what he did. And it was very obvious. Like he felt like it was his calling. So I guess he wanted us to have the same experience. Right. So from a young age, he'll be like, okay. What do you think? And when he sees that you are good at something, he'll try to encourage you. So in that way, yes, I would say I was very lucky and very fortunate. People could see that something about computers and technology would be very relevant in the future, but the industry did not exist. So nobody was quite sure what it would look like, but we could see it coming. That's the best way to put it. So when I was in school, they make you do internships, which is good. So I did IT. I worked in the IT department and, you know, there was all this conversation about, oh, IT is the future. IT is the future. So it was like, okay, it's the future, let me explore it a little bit and then did it for the first two years. And anyway, like I said, I've now been told I wasn't given the right exposure because a lot of what I did was support work and database management later on when I actually started working. [00:12:54] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: So let's talk about the challenges you faced and how you were able to get over them. [00:13:00] Weyinmi Barber: That's a good question. I think one of the challenges I faced was that sense of, okay, you are restarting your career all over again and struggling with the feeling of you were behind your peers because, the people that maybe studied medicine, and knew that they wanted to be doctors. I mean, they had been doing that one thing since they finished. The people that studied banking and finance and went to work in the bank, they had been doing that one thing. So it's like, you spent the last two to three years after graduation, trying to figure out what it is you want. Literally, the feeling of I'm starting all over again. I'm feeling like you're a little bit behind and you have to catch up. So what that did for me is I really threw myself into it because I had that sense of, I need to catch up, I need to catch up. So I was like, okay, I really need to learn as much as I can as quickly as possible so that I can start to see the kind of growth that I want for my career. So I think because of that, I was very intentional about developing myself. In fact, there was the time I had the opportunity to be moved to a different unit. The role was a bit more senior, so I would've gotten a pay bump, but I chose not to take that opportunity because the person I was reporting to at that time was somebody who was big on development. And I told myself, and I told him, I said, I want to keep working with you. Because I knew I would learn a lot more under him. Then I would have if I had moved to that other role. So that was another defining moment for me. Um, making that decision and I would lie for a while afterwards, I was like, ah, what have I done? You know? But at the end of the day, I knew that I took that decision for a reason. And honestly, I have no regrets. I don't say this to be cliche. I worked under my boss at the time, and I learned so much under him because he was somebody that.... He used to say, look, if you go for a job interview tomorrow and they ask you what you do, you need to be able to speak to relevant experience. So he was very good about giving you projects, giving you opportunities. Like he would sit down and think, okay, for this year, what are the projects? What are the initiatives? And then based off of that, he knows that he's giving you opportunities to develop yourself. You know? So that's another thing working with that kind of person was amazing for my career. I learnt a lot under my first boss at Oando because he was very person about develop yourself, develop yourself, learn, grow, stretch yourself. So honestly, if I didn't work with that kind of person, I, I can clearly see how I could have spent that much time at a place and not learnt as much as I did. Yeah. So a lot of it has to do with the person I worked with. [00:15:40] Abisola Adenuga: Hi, I'm Abisola Adenuga, the head of business at Techpoint Africa, and I'm here with good news. Do you know you can present yourself as a reputable brand leader? Do you know that your business can get the limelight it deserves? Now you do. Using Techpoint Africa marketing tools, we can put you in the faces of a large audience for brand awareness and thought leadership. Begin your journey to generating leads for your business and getting instant feedback on your products and services. To know more, reach out by sending an email to [email protected] or click on the link in the description. Together, we can take your business to the next level. [00:16:25] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Talking about self-development you had natural tendencies towards people, and I know that people are like the most complicated resource to manage. So asides the natural tendencies you had for what you do now, what were the skills you had to pick up learning and climbing the ladder? [00:16:45] Weyinmi Barber: Ah, that's another really good question. There are professional certificates out there, which I did a few, but beyond that one thing I really had to learn was stakeholder management. When you work in HR, you do something called employee relations a lot. And employee relations has to do with things around. Okay. So, you know, every company has their policies and procedures and maybe if certain people haven't adhered to policy and procedure, then you sort of have to have conversations with them and all the parties involved and you need to figure, so there's a part of it. That's almost like being an investigator. You have to do some sort of investigation. Right? So what I learnt is how to listen to all the sides of the story and then try to sort of make sense. And, you know, a friend recently mentioned to me, I was having a conversation with a couple friend who were like, you are doing your HR thing with us. I said, what do you mean? He said, you know, that they have a feeling, this is how, when I'm at work. I said, and apparently I do it now in my personal life without realizing it. Because early in my career, maybe one person comes and they tell me a story and it sounds so convincing. So you already believe the person. I had to learn stakeholder management and learn that things are often, more complicated than they seem. And another thing I've learned about human beings and human nature. is that whenever, I mean, barring cases of maybe whether it's genuine mental, um, illness, right? Maybe severe mental illness, nine out of 10 times, if you think somebody's behavior was irrational or maybe it doesn't make sense to you. It's because there's a piece of information you don't have. I have learned that on the job and I take it into my personal life. So, you know how maybe for example, someone says, oh, this person did this and to you. You are thinking, why would they do a thing? There's a reason why they did that. So human beings for the most part are logical creatures. And we always have reasons why we do what we do. Now, if you understand the reason, you might not agree with their reaction, but you will understand why they reacted that way. So human being generally, are pretty logical. And we do things for a reason. There's a purpose behind our actions, behind our words, behind our behavior. So these are the kinds of things. Nobody teaches you in school, but when you work in HR, you're constantly solving problems because you know, when two people, if two people in a team don't like themselves and things have gotten so bad, they can't work together. It's HR they'll come and put it on your, you know, if they get along, they, they, I mean, nobody comes to HR because, you know, even when they have disagreements, they know how to sort it out themselves. So people usually come to you when things have gotten so, so bad. And you just have to try and figure out how to help them and you start that by understanding, trying to understand what is going on and trying to understand the whys behind each person's actions. Okay. Why did this person do, why does this person feel? What are they saying? What are they not saying? Because sometimes what people are not saying is more important than what they're saying. Another skill I really had to learn was, you know, I had mentioned earlier about organizational design. It can be a tricky part of HR. What that really means is that there's a people issue that the organization needs to solve. How do you solve it? So maybe the people issue is that there are too many people within the five to 10 year mark who are stagnant, who are not growing within the organization. How are you going to solve. So you have to literally sit down and create something to solve that problem. And a lot of the times there's no textbook. You have to maybe start having conversations with your peer. So HR people work together a lot, talk to people in other organizations, have you experienced this issue? How did you address it? But then whatever it is, they did, you can never copy and paste because your own organization is always different. So you then have to figure out. how to make even whatever advice or strategy you get, you have to still figure out how to apply it to your organization. And trust me, what I'm saying to you is a lot harder than it sounds. [00:20:37] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: I can sense the importance of HR from your discussion, but then I think you can be able to relate well to this because you deal with startups, right? Small teams, HR is not at the top of their list, [00:20:50] Weyinmi Barber: correct. [00:20:51] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Why do you think people do that? Knowing that HR is very important. [00:20:55] Weyinmi Barber: Um, because people don't really understand how important it is. And so what usually happens with startups is they go to a setting level and they start having HR crisis. And then at that point, they go around looking for, you know, HR professional. And so usually if you are the first HR professional to join a startup, a lot of the times, unless you're very lucky and maybe. The founder or co-founder is somebody who has had exposure to certain environments. So they understand that HR is an important need from quite early on. What will usually happen is you're walking into a storm. You're working into a crisis situations. The employees are angry. They're upset. Things are not working. CEO doesn't know what to do. Oh yeah, we need a HR department now. People are asking questions. We don't have any policies. Nothing is working. So a lot of times, if you're the first HR person is startup is hiring you're literally working into a storm. And like I said, it sometimes takes that storm for the leaders to then realize, okay, we need the HR team. We can't handle this on our own. We need proper processes in place. We are not hiring the right people because we don't know how to go about hiring the right people. We don't know how to design the right recruitment process for us to attract the kind of people we want to attract when and how, um, so that's, that's sort of usually what happens quite often. [00:22:15] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: If somebody's thinking of going into HR, what would you tell the person? [00:22:20] Weyinmi Barber: Depending on where you are in your career, my advice might differ. So if, for example, you're still in school or you're a fresh graduate. What I will tell you is look for opportunities to do internships. Intern in HR departments of companies, right? If you can do one or two or three different internships in different industries. So you know what it is, how does HR looking FMCG? How does HR looking banking sector? So what this will do for you, it'll let you understand the kind of HR you prefer because HR in banking, for example, is very different from HR in tech and startup. So that exposure too will help you. And some people prefer that, that sort of routine structure. So it depends on the kind of person you are. Um, so that's the advice I would give an early career person. For someone who has mid career. Maybe they have several years of experience, but they want to pivot. I would say, if you already have a job, then go and have a conversation with your line manager and with the people in the HR department and find out and let them know that you are interested. So if there's an opportunity for you to move to the HR team, right? Because if you try and look for a job outside your company, you're not likely to get to, because on paper you don't have the experience. But, you know, if you've been working for a company for a while, people already know you, you've formed relationships with people. So just have a conversation with your HR department, let them know this is something I'm interested in. That's an easier way to pivot. So if, and when a position comes up or depending on nature of the organization, they can even create one for you. You start your journey there. A lot of people think HR is just HR. But, you know, the same way you have different kinds of IT experts doing different things. The fact that you work in finance, there's a difference between being a payables officer and being in the treasury team, you also have different aspects to HR. There's learning and development, there's talent acquisition or recruitment, as some people call it. There's compensation and benefits, which has to do with rewards. There's HR business partnering, there's all these different aspects. [00:24:09] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: So what is your favorite part of doing this? [00:24:13] Weyinmi Barber: I like organizational design. I like HR strategy. I like creating initiatives to solve problems. I like sitting down and the thinking part, and then you roll out the initiative and you see it work. And then you're getting feedback from people it's very satisfying. I always tell people, I think one of the most satisfying experiences I've had in Softcom was at the end of year, December party, we had Christmas party last year when I had Softcomers from outside Lagos cos we have an office in Abuja, coming up to me and say, you know, thank you so much for all you've done for the culture. So moments like that can be very rewarding and very fulfilling. When you've had the opportunity to solve problems, to have positive impact. So whether it's someone who, Oh I've been doing product management, but I think I want to move into front end engineering and you sort of help them on that journey. You give them the tools, the guidance, the direction, the opportunities to practice, and then they move into that role. Like being able to solve those sort of issues for people. It really gives you the opportunity to impact people's lives. And I think that's, that's what I really enjoy. [00:25:18] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: What other experiences stand out for you in doing this job that you do? [00:25:25] Weyinmi Barber: Some of my big wins, I think Softcomers probably know what it is, but I'm not sure it's something that I can discuss publicly. Just really things around making soft coms happier. Also when I joined Softcom, there was no career path. There was no policy around career. There was no clarity on how you could grow within the organization. So I was very privileged to be able to build first career framework for Softcom. So now every Softcomer they do their band level, they know what the next level is. They know what they need to do to go from here to here. They know the time of the year promotions happen and, you know, so we built a policy around that and we shared. So that has really helped a lot in terms of providing clarity. So now when people come to you and ask, and of course, sometimes people will not read document and you come and ask you questions, but the difference is now we have answers. So I would definitely say the career framework cause building a career path for a startup is a very difficult thing. Okay. Um, sometimes what happens in the start of spaces, people change their roles. They come in as one thing, six months later they're doing so... they come in through finance, six months later, they're doing sales, six months later, they're doing products and you have to figure out a way that they can grow. So it's a very difficult thing, but being able to solve for that was definitely high point of my career. [00:26:38] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Spending 10 years already in HR, I think you're in the best place to say, these are the specific soft skills somebody that is going to HR would need, these are the certifications they should get. So can you just lay that out? [00:26:53] Weyinmi Barber: So in terms of soft skills, um, communication, obviously, communication speaks to both reading and writing, stakeholder management, entry level behavioral science, just learning to read people, body language, things they say and things they don't say, good presentation skills also, because you'll regularly find yourself addressing people, both small and large audiences. So if you're not very good with putting together presentations or speaking in front of audiences, it's something you really need to develop. If you have a fear of crowd, it's something you need to conquer as a HR professional, it's very important. It depends on what area of specialization you want to focus on. If you want to be a Comp and Ben specialist, you need to be very good with Excel. Or any spreadsheet software. So whether Excel or Google sheets, because Comp and Ben people for a lot of organizations, they're the ones who run the payroll. They're the ones who do salary surveys. So you have to be comfortable with numbers and you have to be really good with your spreadsheets. If you're going to be a HR business partner, it's really things like project management because, um, you might find yourself well, again, it depends on the type of organization, but sometimes for larger organizations, HR business partners find that they have to implement. So at the top, the HR leader designs a strategy, and then you, the business partner, you are responsible for implementing it and there are timelines. You need to get everything done by. So, so date, and you know, it involves people and getting people to cooperate. If you want to be an L and D expert, so L and D stands for learning and development. Well, some people who thrive in learning and development have a teaching background, or they are good teachers. Again, it depends on the kind of organisation, and even your role within the L and D department, because there are people who do the administration part of it, there are people who do the strategy part of it. There are some organizations who completely outsource all the learning interventions. But for some organizations, employees, members of the learning and development team have to take some courses. So if you don't have a teaching background, there are courses you can do to teach you how to teach, how to instruct a class, how to prepare notes. How to give assignments. So like I said, it depends on what aspect of HR, where you want to go. [00:29:11] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: I believe that, if I'm not assuming, you have some low point while you've been working as an HR personnel. Is there any you want to share? [00:29:22] Weyinmi Barber: So a lot of the times, and a lot of HR people can attest to what I'm saying. Again, this depends on the kind of organization you work for, but it can be very lonely and isolating being the HR professional. People almost see you like the police of the company. Right? So people are having a conversation like, like, hi guys, oh, HR is here they've kept quiet. It's like people, forget that you're an employee too. People forget that you also have a career that you're trying to build. You have your own goals and aspirations, right. They don't see you as an employee in the same way. They see themselves. Like I said, they see you as the police or the warden and so sometimes people will not protect you the way they will protect their fellow ... it's almost like people are comfortable doing certain things that they know will get you in trouble. So that sense of isolation, sometimes feeling like your peers act differently around you because they see you as HR. So that's, that's one of the aspects of HR that is less fun. [00:30:24] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: How is an average day for you? So you can just talk about personal and professional. [00:30:29] Weyinmi Barber: So average day, it depends on what's going on at that point. So if, for example, there's a lot of recruitments going on. Then an average day, within that period would be things like me attending interviews, reviewing feedback, having conversations with the talent acquisition manager on, okay, what can we offer this person? Negotiations, developing assessments, reviewing assessments for job candidates. If it's appraisal time, then obviously I'm spending a lot of my time on performance management and performance appraisal activities. So everything from administering, having conversations with the heads of teams to say, oh, okay, your objectives for the quarter, can we help you review them? Have you had performance conversations with your people? Can we know if people need to be put on performance improvement plans. So it depends on what is happening at that point in time. If we're planning for the end of every month, we have our town hall meetings we call Carpe Diem. If it's the last week, I'm probably running around with someone on my team trying to plan Carpe Diem. So it really varies depending on what's what's going on at that time. So right now at Softcom, we work hybrid mode. So we work from the office two days a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. And then the other three days we work from home. So if I'm working from home, I usually, I wake up in the morning. I usually wake up around maybe six 30 to seven. And, you know, I go around my house and look for anything that needs to be done. I find that it's better for me to do it with that morning brain so that I don't get overwhelmed. And then I might exercise a little bit and then just sort of have a shower, get dressed. Like it just helps put you in that mind frame. Because once you sit in front of that laptop, before, you know, it's 5:00 PM and it's like, where did the day go? But if it's a day when I'm coming to the office, then I don't have time to be walking around my house or exercising or all of that. It's just, okay. I need to get here on time, beat the Lagos traffic. The advantage of walking from the office is you get to see people. You get to have conversations. Cause sometimes working from you, send somebody an email. They've not seen it. They've not replied. But, by the time you see the person in the corridor like, ha please come, can we quickly come to an agreement and move on. So yeah, so that's I like both. I like coming to the office. I like working from home. Cause there are some things that just move faster when you can have face to face conversations. [00:32:46] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: So what's your idea of work- life balance? [00:32:49] Weyinmi Barber: First of all, hybrid work. Hybrid work is great for work life balance, not having to enter traffic or commute, whether you live in Lagos or another big city or small city, just not having to go to the mental task or, or go through the mental load of waking up, getting ready, hitting the road. You know, finding your way to work, getting dressed, trying to figure out what to wear, finding your way to work, not having to do that for several days a week so that you can just focus on your tasks and getting things done. I personally, I'm like very pro hybrid work, I think, especially from the, for the tech space. I think it's great. And it's because I think it's great for work life balance. Um, you know, people with children, you can imagine having maybe a couple days in a week where you're not trying to drop them off at school and then rush to work at the same time. [00:33:36] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: What tools do you use that make you productive either at work or in your personal life? [00:33:43] Weyinmi Barber: Setting alarms to remind me, like using the alarm feature both on my office email, my phone. Like it helps me remember things. I set alarms for the most random things. I set reminders for the most random things. It really, really helps me be productive. Another thing that helps with productivity is knowing what time of the day you function best. Whether you're a morning person, afternoon person or evening person so that you can schedule your most important tasks for that time of the day. What I will say is generally what motivates me or drives me is wanting to achieve things or wanting to have impact. You know, wanting to feel like I'm having positive impact in whatever space or sphere that I find myself is what really keeps me going. I like to be associated with things that are working. I like to be associated with things that are successful with things that are good. Who cannot relate to what I'm saying? So I think that really drives me and my work ethic. I like to do things well, and I like to be known as someone that does things well. So, those are the things that really drive me. [00:34:46] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Is there this thing that you really would love to do before you're done here on earth and you can't do it now, maybe because you don't have the time yet or you just don't have the resources? [00:34:58] Weyinmi Barber: Yeah. So in my head, I think of myself as an adrenaline junkie. Right. So I want to do a few things that I've not done. Like bungee jumping, skydiving. [00:35:06] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Okay. [00:35:07] Weyinmi Barber: Yes. [00:35:08] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Are you Nigerian? [00:35:09] Weyinmi Barber: By the grace of God, I'm a Nigerian. [00:35:12] Oluwanifemi Kolawole: Thank you for listening to Expert and African. This episode was proudly sponsored by the Techpoint Africa business team. Adapted and narrated by Oluwanifemi Kolawole. For more stories and startups and innovation, visit techpoint.africa.

Other Episodes