Profile: Alex Wowra
Alex Wowra, Housekeeping Manager, came to Univ from Merton College. As Housekeeping Manager, her team encompasses over 30 staff, working to keep the College clean and tidy throughout the year.
How did you come to Univ?
Prior to my role at Univ, I worked as a Housekeeping Supervisor at Merton College. The time had come when I decided I should move on and face new challenges. As interview skills were not my strongest point, I decided to start applying for jobs to gain confidence. The first job I applied for was the position of Housekeeping Manager at Univ. As it turned out, I my interview skills were not that bad. On the same day, I got a job offer, and that is how my story at Univ began…
What does being Housekeeping Manager involve?
As a Housekeeping Manager I am responsible for managing all aspects of cleaning services across all Univ sites. I manage a team of approximately 30 staff, which is one of the biggest teams in College. Managing so big and diverse team can be a challenge itself.
However, I am very proud of my staff and their ability to adapt to change, especially when they team up and turn 100 student bedrooms around to make them into admission bedrooms in 6 hours!
I am even more proud of those who have been with me during the pandemic, going out of their way to keep our students and the rest of the staff safe
I’ll be honest, we do get complaints too, but I believe that every mistake teaches us something, and, as long as the mistakes are not repeated, we are on the right track.
Do you have any advice for current students, especially during this strange time?
As a community, we have to stick together, take care of each other and ourselves. Please read the information posted in communal areas, follow the rules and respect others.
Let’s work together to keep everyone safe. The Housekeeping Team try to keep the kitchens and bathrooms clean, but without your help, it will not be possible. All of us have families and friends, who we worry about so let’s work together and get through these unprecedented times.
Have you faced any challenges in your life that you are happy to share here?
I am mum to a toddler and I work full-time. The requirement of working from home during lockdown turned out to be a big challenge for me. I felt a lot of pressure knowing that I should be working while my two-year-old son wanted attention. Like most of my colleagues, I worked until late to compensate for the time lost during the day. The only way to deal with the excess of work and stress was to think, “Not long… everything will calm down.”
I cannot say that we are back to normal yet, but things have settled down a bit. I have a better work-life balance after returning to on-site working, and I try to concentrate more on my family and enjoy the time spent together.
How do you relax?
In my spare time I work on various DIY projects, from furniture renovation and upholstery to sewing and macramé décor.
Now with autumn, when days are getting colder and darker, I enjoy snuggling under a blanket with a cup of hot tea, reading good thriller books or watching movies.
Tell us one cleaning tip you think everyone should know.
Baking soda, white vinegar and lemon are “must haves” in your cleaning cupboard.
Those ingredients can replace many cleaning chemicals. Soda removes bad smells and stains from carpets and mattresses. Vinegar is great for removing limescale and clean appliances, such as dishwashers or washing machines. Lemon gives a nice scent if you want to do your own cleaning spray. Those are just some of many uses.
Describe Univ in three words.
Integrity, diversity, accessibility
Published: 19 October 2020