Job Title: Director of Operations
Years at WebDevStudios: 11
Where to begin?
It was 2008. Brad [Williams, WDS CEO] had moved from Indiana to New Jersey to focus on growing WebDevStudios (WDS) into the top WordPress development and design agency it is today. A few months after meeting, Brad and I started dating.
Things were going well and then I saw it: the box. They were keeping a large cardboard box in their office and throwing all their receipts and invoices and bank statements into the box. They would then hand the box to the accountant at the end of the year and tell him to “work his magic.”
It was painful to see this insane level of disorganization and I just couldn’t stop thinking about that box. What started out as me being hired to spend some time and get this chaos organized eventually turned into something much bigger. Eleven years later, I’m still keeping the books organized and a whole bunch more as the Director of Operations for WebDevStudios.
Throughout the years, WDS has grown from employing three part-time employees in New Jersey to 40+ full timers around the world. There have been many adjustments and process changes, growing pains and learning by trying. I wasn’t a formally trained bookkeeper or a certified human resource manager. I certainly didn’t take any business management courses, but I put in the time to learn what I could and figured out quickly when and who to ask for help. Here we are, all these years later, doing pretty darn well, with an awesome team of employees and making some really cool websites for our clients, if I do say so myself.
So what does the Director of Operations at WebDevStudios do on an average day? That is a great question! Here’s a look into what I might be working on any given day.
Our Morning Routine
My mornings all start with coffee and getting my son ready and out the door for school. Brad and I take turns dropping our son off each day. It’s become a nice little routine where we get to have a little one-on-one time chatting in the car before going into the day. Also, anyone with young children knows that you aren’t getting any work done with kids running around the house!
My workdays often start focused on the financial aspect of my job with responding to client emails, reviewing the status of our outstanding invoices, sending out new invoices, reviewing expenses and paying bills. Glamorous, I know.
As the Director of Operations, I work closely with our leadership team and PMO department regarding any invoicing questions, alterations or issues that may arise. Throughout the week, there are various project calls to review both incoming projects and the progress on current projects. I have a standing call with Brad and Lisa [Sabin-Wilson, WDS COO] to keep them up to date on the financial health of the company. There’s a whole list of weekly, monthly and quarterly calls on my schedule relating to the finances of the company.
Pre-COVID I attended a local yoga and pilates studio after work most days, but that is no longer an option so we have had to re-work our plans and schedules. Lately, I have been attempting to get a 20-30 min workout in at lunch time. I use the Peloton app because they have a huge variety of class options and lengths.
I am really enjoying the new afternoon workout routine because it breaks up the day and it’s easier to keep the commitment when it is scheduled right into the day. I feel like it helps alleviate an afternoon slump too. After my workout, I will have a quick shower and lunch and get back to work.
My afternoon work tasks tend to be much more fluid and varied. We have a wonderful little team of two that works in HR. Our amazing Employee Experience Coordinator, Julie Sarnick, handles a majority of the day-to-day HR tasks, while I generally assist with the bigger picture items like policy renewals, new benefit roll-outs, and creating or updating company-wide policies. We plan and organize virtual events for the team, and each year we organize our all-hands company retreat. We have set up some fun benefits like HeyTaco!, and next week we are holding a virtual trivia game with the company.
HR is an ever-evolving field that requires you to stay up to date on the newest employment laws and industry/company trends. A huge part of HR is just keeping up on changes to the field, and I am subscribed to a number of HR and employment-related newsletters. We are always looking for ways to improve the company and its employment offerings.
Last, are the operational tasks. Being the Director of Operations at WebDevStudios, this aspect of my job is extremely important, but also a bit of a catchall for the tons of other things that keep our WordPress agency moving along smoothly. Many of the tasks that fall into this category include working alongside our company departments to ensure that changes are planned, documented, and thought out with the entire health of the company in mind. We might be looking for a great training program for our employees to learn about new technologies or adjusting a project process. We might be pricing out a new software package or determining if we need to hire for one of our departments.
Evening Wind Down
After work is finished for the day, the focus is completely on family time. We pick up our son from preschool, get a million requests for snacks while getting dinner ready, and attempt to wind down for the day. If the weather is nice, we tend to spend a lot of time on our back patio playing and having the occasional dance party. Recently, my son and Brad have really gotten into playing games on the Nintendo Switch, so with the colder weather, we have been having game nights or movie nights.
After the kiddo has gone to bed, Brad and I usually just decompress from a busy day. Working from home and working at the same company makes it very easy to blur the lines of work and home. We attempt to keep all work-related items in the office and NOT talk about work at the end of the day. We tend to default to watching TV most nights. If it were up to me, I would just watch The Office on loop, but Brad insists on watching other shows too. Then it’s time for bed to rest up and get ready to do it all over again!
Would you be interested in having days like April’s at WebDevStudios? We’re hiring! Currently, we have open job positions for an Account Manager and a Project Manager. Take a look at our Careers page to find a job for you or a friend.