Unwind Your Mind with Mandy Hamerla, Founder of Modern HR

This week we asked Mandy, Founder of Modern HR, some questions as part of our Unwind Your Mind series.

  1. Background about yourself and your company

Hey! I’m Mandy, founder of Modern HR. I’m also an author, mum of two young boys, a massive [flat white] coffee fan and a flexible working advocate.

Over the last few months, I’ve been busy helping small businesses to navigate their way through the extraordinary people challenges that Covid-19 has thrown at them. And also, making sure they look after themselves.

Coronavirus aside – I help UK business owners to hire their first employee and build their ‘dream team’ (as well as teach people how to lead a team brilliantly). I also assist with anything HR related. For example: employment contracts, employee wellbeing and recruitment strategies. And I have an online shop, where businesses can access helpful Hiring & HR how-to guides and templates – on a pay-as-you-go basis – to save them time and avoid costly legal mistakes.

I've worked with some incredible female entrepreneurs, tech companies, and charities since setting up Modern HR in 2017 – and in my former corporate life, I was the Global HR Director for Pearson and worked as Head of HR at Argos. I’ve got a Masters Degree in HR Management, a degree in Business Studies, and Chartered Fellow status from the CIPD.

  1. What do you find helps you unwind the best?

Okay, so before I can totally unwind, I have to empty my mind of all the things I need to get done. Everything from client tasks, to buying a birthday present. Only when all my actions are out of my head, and safely captured on my to-do list, can I begin to unwind.

My guilty pleasure – perfect for unwinding – is reality TV. I’m talking ‘Selling Sunset’, ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’, and ‘Made in Chelsea’. It’s a bit of light relief from the intense world we live in. I also love a facial or massage to really help me relax and switch off and going for family walks/bike rides.   

Another technique which I find really beneficial is to weigh up everything that’s going on in my life and divide things into two categories: things that are boosting my energy (like spending time with friends or listening to music), and things that are draining my energy (usually something I’ve been putting off for weeks). I then work hard to tackle the things that are draining my energy. I tend to do this once every few months and it makes me feel great afterwards – like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

  1. What part of the business process do you enjoy the most?

That’s easy! I love helping entrepreneurs to hire their first employee, because I truly believe that hiring your first employee can be game-changing for your business. And then as their business grows, helping to build a strong kick-ass team, aka their dream team.

I also get excited when I help female business owners go from feeling totally overwhelmed and stressed about managing their team – usually because they’ve never been taught how to lead people – to feeling assertive and confident. A big part of this is having the mindset of a CEO. And everyone in the Company benefits when there’s strong leadership.

  1. During Covid what would you suggest is a good way of unwinding when in close proximity to your family most of the time?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been great spending even more time with my family during lockdown. But, if I’m being honest, it’s felt like Groundhog Day at times.

A fabulous way to unwind in these strange times, is to carve out time for self-care (i.e. you-time). Jot down a list of 10 things that make YOU feel truly happy. It could be anything from listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, or meditating. Then, try your damn hardest to fit those things into your days!

Even if it’s only 10 minutes each day – when you put your needs first, it can make a huge difference to how you feel and improves your relationships with other people.

I used to say ‘I don’t have time for self-care’ but actually that wasn’t true. I could make time, I just didn’t. But now I believe that in order to support others, I must nurture myself first, so I can be at my best. It’s like when you’re on an aeroplane, and you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask first, as then you are in the best position to help others.

So, if you’ve got into the habit of putting work, kids, chores, etc. first, I would encourage you to carve out some ‘you time’ starting from today. No excuses!

In fact, I totally live by this saying: “I can take care of the world, when I’ve taken care of myself.”

Mandy is offering our readers a 20% discount on her online shop which offers downloadable Recruitment & HR templates for small business owners. Please use discount code: UNWIND20