Ready for a challenge? Be Poppy’s new office manager

Four minute read

We’re sad to start 2022 with a goodbye — our wonderful office manager, Peggy, is leaving Poppy’s when she moves out of London.

As we look for a new office manager, we asked Peggy what the role involves, what she’s most enjoyed about it and what she’s learnt in the past two and a half years on the team.

Want to join our team? Find out how to apply for the office manager role.

How did you come to work at Poppy’s?

I joined Poppy’s in July 2019 before then I’d always worked in schools. In my previous job in a Pupil Referral Unit, I started a book-keeping course. It was interesting and so I began looking for a role where I could develop my finance skills.

I saw the job in Tooting Newsie. I wasn’t looking to work for a funeral director, but when I started looking at Poppy’s website, at all the testimonials from clients, I thought, wow, this is quite special.

How did this role compare with previous jobs you’d done?

The office manager job at Poppy’s was a brand new role in a small team. Working in schools, you have to get so many people to sign off on a single thing, but Poppy’s wasn’t like that. I had the chance to develop and tighten systems and processes, and had to find a balance so that things could still run quickly and efficiently.

In schools, I loved working with people. I didn’t have lots of direct involvement with the kids, but I loved it when I did. Same with the clients here, I like having the chance to meet and greet people and welcome them to Poppy’s.

What does Poppy’s office manager do on a day-to-day basis?

Finance is the main thing. I also answer the phones and the door. I’ll step in where needed whether watering the office plants, going out on collections or helping out with the staff awayday.

The main thing is that you have to be open and flexible, and ready to take on a challenge. You don’t know what will happen when you answer the door it could be someone who is upset or who just needs to talk.

What have you enjoyed about working in this role?

I like it when people drop off clothes for the person we are caring for. It allows you to find out a little about the person, just small stuff that tells you something about what they were like. I remember one woman who brought in her mum’s handbag to be buried with her, and she told me that she had exactly the same handbag that was going to wear at the funeral.

I’ve enjoyed having my eyes opened to a world which I would never have known about otherwise. I’ve learnt so much about death care, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve enjoyed any opportunity to deal with clients and to care for the dead. I like looking after people.

I’ve also enjoyed setting up systems and processes and getting Poppy’s to the place where it needs to be now. I feel happy to have been part of something. Although I’m sad I won’t be here to see how it develops, I know it will happen.

The Poppy's team (Peggy, front and centre)

Do you talk to friends and family about your job at Poppy’s?

I find that I want to tell people about my job.

I share stories of dressing people or particularly unique funerals we’ve done. I explain the way we do things differently. It’s important to me that people have a choice to have something different if they want to.

I always say to people, if you are choosing a funeral director, make sure you ask where your person will be kept.

Has it made you think about what you’d like for your own funeral?

I’ve always known I’d prefer to be buried than cremated. I’d like a natural burial. We did a funeral once in a bluebell wood in Norfolk, that was beautiful, but a bit far away from where I live! There’d be no headstone and no formality for me. It would be an accurate reflection of how I was as a person. I’d want all my friends around, talking about me!

What do you think your replacement should know when they start this job?

You need to be open to growth. I think Poppy’s is rapidly changing, it’s exciting to be moving at a fast pace. It will be easier for someone new, as it won’t feel like change. I’ve been able to make sure our systems and processes are ready to go, now someone else can come and move these forward. As Poppy’s grows, you’ll be at the forefront of a movement for change. It’s exciting to feel part of something like that.

What will you miss about working at Poppy’s?

It’s been challenging at times, but I’ve had such a great time working here. It sounds corny, but it’s been an opportunity to give back, to be part of something and to help make a change, and to work with people who are so nice, who do such a caring job.

I’ve seen the great care in the mortuary and the way that funeral directors and client support advisers care for clients. For them to be able to do what they do, they need us to do what we do. You can think that a back office role doesn’t matter in the same way, but we’re all in it together.

Want to join our team? Find out how to apply for the office manager role and discover more about why people work for Poppy's.

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