Chelsea Reid at the Barclays Command Centre, Radbroke Technology Centre

My Working Day: Chelsea Reid

05 September 2017

Chelsea Reid, Head of Command Centre Transition and Social Media Operations for Barclays, is based at the bank’s Radbroke Technology Centre in Knutsford, Cheshire. She lives in nearby Winsford with her husband. Here, Chelsea tells us about the job behind the long title, how the Command Centre “looks like NASA” – and her love of all things vintage.

My alarm goes off… at about 6.30am. I have coffee with my husband, who also works at Radbroke, and we drive together to work – I’ll be doing the driving at least until he’s passed his test. It’s a 20-minute trip and we get to work by 8am.

I started working at Barclays… in 2006. After my A-levels I saw an advert in a newspaper for an “apprenticeship with a blue-chip company” – it didn’t say who – and I decided to go for it rather than going to university. It turned out to be Barclays, and I came in on that apprenticeship scheme, spending my first year as a contractor. I’ve now been a permanent member of staff for eleven years. I spent eight years as a mainframe programmer before moving to my current job.

My job involves… heading a small team of people looking at social media for major incidents and using the data we have to build a proactive platform for security and insight across Barclays and beyond. I’m based in the Command Centre in Radbroke and the room looks like NASA with 50-odd screens on the wall monitoring technology worldwide. Anything from mobile banking issues to a flood in a building to major economic news – it’s all monitored through here 24/7.

Chelsea Reid at the Barclays Command Centre

We have to deal with the impact of these major incidents on the service that our colleagues elsewhere in the business can provide. Our team get all the appropriate resources together to send out communications and fix things.

I started this team off from scratch two years ago. I wrote the strategy and built the team and did the day-to-day work. It’s only recently I’ve been doing less of the day-to-day as we’ve recruited more people to make a team of six.

I report in to the Head of Technology Command Centre, Craig Williams, but the requirements for how we monitor things mean I work with a broad range of people across the Barclays group, constantly seeing what we need to do to help customers.

That means speaking to colleagues in Barclaycard, for example, and people like Ashok Vaswani in Barclays UK.

My working day… involves a lot of phone calls. We check in with people throughout the week – an example would be a regular call with the mobile teams. Mobile and digital are some of the biggest things for our customers so we check on what the problems are, how they’re being worked on, and whether we can do anything to provide better updates.

Then there are days where we’re reacting to events. When there’s a problem with online banking – if it goes down, for example – we see straight away: we’ll get a bunch of alerts saying there are more mentions of online banking on social media. We get everyone together and start investigating what’s happening. I send a heads-up to the social media response team – who are replying to customers on Twitter and Facebook – to tell them that we’re aware and working on updates. Then update the technical teams and the business teams in real time. The quickest way to get confirmation that things are fixed is actually by looking at what customers are saying as we’re fixing things, and I’m the bridge between that and the Barclays teams in that situation.

The thing I love most about my job is… the work/life balance I have at Radbroke. It’s a big place with over 3,500 people working here and it feels like a university campus, with a lot of different buildings and lots going on. I really like the fact we have this old house – which is only used for meetings but is nice to look at – and we can sit out in the old rose garden and have our lunch. I tend to bring my own lunch in and sit outside if possible.

I also love the amount of opportunities I’ve had throughout my career to do different things. Alongside my day job I look after our Radbroke website and have helped organise charity and archive events. I’m also a Citizenship Ambassador and spend a couple of hours a week on that – trying to spread the awareness of what’s available to the community. I haven’t done as much this year as previously, with social media taking off and the job being busy, but I’m involved in arranging the Radbroke Family Fun Day, an event open to local people and colleagues and friends that raises money for nominated charities.

The thing I love most about my job the work/life balance I have at Radbroke. It’s a big place with over 3,500 people working here and it feels like a university campus, with a lot of different buildings and lots going on.

My best day at work… was when we opened the Command Centre. I helped to move everyone into this space, I specified the technology, I visited the building site in a hard hat – so actually seeing it officially opened by our local MP, at the time George Osborne, and having all the execs on site – that felt like quite an achievement.

The most difficult part of my job is… talking to big groups of people. I did a presentation last year at Facebook headquarters about what my team do and even though I knew the subject, I found it difficult talking to lots of people. But I keep challenging myself to carry on doing it, whether that’s asking a question at a big town hall meeting or just volunteering to do more of it and over time getting more confidence in being up on stage.

After work… I usually cook dinner with my husband and then we hammer Netflix and Amazon. We’ve just finished the new season of Orange Is The New Black, and we’re watching American Gods and the new Game Of Thrones. I sound like an old person but I like my sleep and am usually in bed at 10.30pm.

If I wasn’t working for Barclays… I’d want to be doing something around vintage. I have a bit of a 40s/50s style and I like going to vintage fairs and have a thing for visiting tea rooms. So, I’d be sourcing antique and vintage materials or recreating vintage items. I do this as a hobby anyway, but maybe I’d try to make it into a business.