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Real advice on how to find a work-life balance

  • Lawrence Ward
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  • July 13, 2017
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It is one of the biggest personal issues of employees up and down the country. Everyone wants to work hard and be a success within their firm, but all too often they let their home life and personal relationships suffer the consequences. There is such thing as a perfect balance, but what is the best way to find what works for you?

Advice from a successful CEO

Understanding the busy lives of workers is key to the success of the Trainline website. With 80 per cent of rail tickets still bought at railway stations, Ms Gilmartin’s pitch is that she can take some of the stress out of train travel.

Gilmartin’s advice has helped many people in your situation

She thinks that mobile will help to transform the business. Two thirds of Trainline’s transactions are now made via its app, which is neck-and-neck with Uber as the most popular mobile travel service. In addition, mobile means that she can collate real-time customer feedback to show service delays or how busy the next carriage is.

Soon it will easier for her business. By 2018 Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has pledged to make e-tickets available for every journey, up from 50 per cent now and 7 per cent two years ago.

But what about prices? The train companies set fares and Trainline navigates them, so it is well placed to exploit the stand-off between the rail operators and the Department for Transport and explain ticket pricing. “We, as an industry, have to make sure people know that they are getting the cheapest price for their journey. It is a hygiene factor.”

Finding your priorities

Trainline’s rail ticket sales rose 21 per cent to £1.9 billion in the year to March, but profits slipped to £33 million after marketing spending increased, according to numbers filed at Companies House yesterday. The accounts do not reflect the acquisition of Captain Train, the French ticketing group and a bridgehead into Europe that has pushed up ticket sales to £2.3 billion annually. Trainline is gradually folding rail operations on the Continent into a single app. It has 44 operators in 24 countries, spreading as far east as Poland and Hungary.

Ms Gilmartin travels by rail a lot, to Edinburgh to visit call centre staff or down to Cornwall with her children, where she is learning to surf. She says that the sweet spot for rail versus short-haul air travel tends to be journeys that take four hours or less. Her belief is that a doubling in high-speed rail routes in the next decade will open up the Continent.

You are not the only one struggling

To talk of a new golden age of rail travel might sound naive to a commuter who endures misery every day and it is easy to evangelise when your company is not responsible for troubles such as overcrowding or signalling problems, but she remains realistic that there is a long way to go.“We are paying the price of non-investment for the previous 50 years, but I see very tangible steps in place, like Crossrail and HS2. I think successive governments are going to have to invest in infrastructure.”

Ms Gilmartin refuses to comment on the future of Network Rail, which could be broken up or have its track and train operations brought closer together. Not surprisingly, she favours more competition on key routes because it “benefits customers”.

It is a struggle every successful person will experience at some point and looking after your personal life is just as impotant as looking after your professional life. Why don’t you get in touch and let us know what works best for you?

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