Vidia Henshaw is a senior HR leader, currently working as the Head of Organisational Development at Rest, responsible for collaborating, cultivating and building the enterprise people development and culture strategy.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career as a lawyer and realised that my passion was to work with people. I am currently the Head of Organisational Development at Rest Superannuation, one of Australia’s largest industry super funds.
My role is busy and varied covering Culture Transformation, Performance, Engagement and Enterprise Change Management. I absolutely love my role and the challenge it brings me! I also have a fantastic team who I am very proud of.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
- A typical workday for me starts at 5:30am where I fit in a quick gym workout.
- I then head home and get the kids ready for daycare or before school care. My husband and I take turns with the kids and this allows me to be in for an 8am start.
- The day is then quite busy clearing emails, conference calls and meetings. My work covers a broad remit so I can be working on some very technical business matters all the way to thinking about future aspirations and innovation opportunities. No two days are the same!
- I have to be very disciplined with my diary and my time so I regularly review the balance of my work effort to ensure that I am outcomes focused, whilst staying supportive to my team.
- I then finish at 4:30pm to pick up the children, cook dinner and help with homework. If the weather is nice, we might head down to Balmoral Beach for a play in the pack. If I am feeling really ambitious I might also do a load of washing!
- At 7pm my husband and I eat dinner. I often log back into my computer around 7pm after the kids have gone to bed to catch up on any outstanding items, prepare for the next day and ensure that I have afforded some reflection time.
- Bedtime is around 10pm, ready for another day!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I have 2 young children (aged 2 and 7) and so flexible working for me is essential. My employer is a true advocate of role flexibility and I have a number of different options including working from home, remote working and flexible start/finish times. This allows me to be there for my children for drop off/pick up times, but also to manage my workload in a flexible way.
I find that I work from home at least 1 day each fortnight (sometimes more). This is a great way for me to balance all my commitments, be a great mother and a passionate employee.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
I find that I constantly evaluate my calendar. I often find that being so busy means that I don’t have much reflection time. I therefore think its essential to schedule some reflection or thinking time. This is important for me as I often need to come up with creative ideas and different ways of doing things. I also use this time to read and stay close to what is happening in my industry.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work life balance for me is everything!
I love spending time with my family, but I also love my job.
It is a constant juggling act, but I think it’s a worthwhile compromise to have. It does take some sacrifices (especially as I am probably not going to be on the School PTA committee, or it might mean I miss that work drinks event sometimes). I try to make active choices around both things.
I will always be looking for work life balance in my career and with all my employers.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Being disciplined on sleep, getting to the gym 4 times per week and being proactive with my calendar.
These things allow me to bring my best energy to each conversation and each moment.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. A really relatable book uncovering the intersection between great leaders and great teams. A must if you are interested in organisational culture and leadership.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Get to the gym!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
All the way through my career, my leaders have trusted me to work flexibly. That trust is so important and something I bring to my own team.
I have found that having worked flexibly for over 8 years now, that theme has continued to exist with all of my employers. I feel trusted to perform and deliver, and as I a result I always give my best.
I really encourage employers who are unsure about supporting employees working flexibly to give it a go! It takes a bit of work to get it right, but it’s a worthwhile step to get the best from your teams and people.
If you found the above conversation about work-life balance helpful, be sure to check out Balance the Grind’s 42 tips for achieving & maintaining a healthy work-life balance.