Mandi Fine On Why You Have To Make Some White Space

Mandi Fine On Why You Have To Make Some White Space


Vital Stats

Mandi Fine is the group CEO of Fine Healthcare (FHC), a strategic healthcare marketing and advertising agency. Claiming multiple local and international awards for leadership, creativity and innovation in healthcare communications, here’s how Fine makes it happen.

What do you do daily that makes a difference to productivity?

Every day around 7:30am I have a coffee meeting with a client, employee or business partner. We can reflect without distraction and discuss clients, the business, employee aspirations, and future plans.

As a mother of teenage boys, it’s unrealistic to have traditional office hours and habits. It’s not uncommon to find me having a conference call in the car while waiting to pick up the boys from school or checking email after hours.

Tell us about your philosophy of ‘white space’

White space is essential for good ideas; people are much more productive, energised and creative when given the space for thinking.

If someone hasn’t left their desk in days, they must go! Get out and see what’s happening in the world, do something different.

Can work get done if staff aren’t at the office?

Absolutely! Staff have outputs they need to produce and we trust them to do it. It doesn’t matter where it gets done. We have to have healthy people, so if they want to train for a triathlon or have family responsibilities, they have the freedom to do it.

We’re also very conscious of directors having balance, restoring energy and being inspired, and that requires strong partnerships and trust.

How do you get the most out of work hours?

If I don’t schedule internal meetings, there’s a queue out my door and little gets done, so my morning is dedicated to that.

Then I block at least two hours of no interruption where I catch up my own admin. On weekends I only communicate internally if there’s a deadline, as we respect each others space.

How do you spend your travel time?

I go abroad every six to eight weeks on business and always schedule a day or two for myself. It’s good for me, and it’s good for the business, as I often get my greatest ideas by seeing what’s going on in the world. 

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt about being effective?

The executive function of planning and blocking time is important, but the essence of productivity is loving what you do.

I’ve had many mentors, and my business partners are my daily mentors as they constantly reaffirm our values of being the ’Finest’.

How do you keep yourself sane?

I love yoga and walking and they’re fundamental to my energy management. I practice both twice a week. Every day I do some breath work, taking slow deep breaths, and practice gratitude to relax and focus myself.

Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.