Balancing the Grind with Ben Pluznyk, Director & Country Manager ANZ at Freshworks

Ben Pluznyk is the Director & Country Manager ANZ at Freshworks, which designs ridiculously easy-to-use software for businesses of all sizes.

Learn about the daily routines of some of the most successful people in the world. Sign up to our newsletter today & receive a free gift that will help you achieve your goals!

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am currently the Director and Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand at Freshworks where I build and scale the end-to-end business across ANZ.

Freshworks is a provider of modern SaaS solutions — we create cloud-based software solutions for businesses with automated helpdesk support so things get done faster and easier.

With Freshworks, businesses can engage with their customers faster and more effectively. To date, over 58,000 businesses from more than 120 countries around the world use Freshworks’ products. 

As a tech enthusiast, I started my career in the tech industry over 16 years ago — I’ve never looked back! In my early career, I worked closely with startups and now work primarily with larger enterprises.

Over the past 12 years, I’ve been lucky enough to work in various roles including sales, go-to-market, digital transformation, modernisation, and cloud transformation.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

What I enjoy most about my job is that no two days are the same.

One day I can be in meetings with the marketing, product management, sales, services and client managers discussing plans, strategies, and improvements to better service our thousands of customers. 

We are always on the lookout for new ways of working to optimise our platform and get the best result for our customers. I pride myself on staying across industry trends to ensure we deeply understand the needs of both current and future customers which enables us to provide a better and more relevant customer experience. 

On other days, I can be meeting customers and partners to workshop solutions or share business updates and upcoming plans.

Some days are challenging but I love that each day is varied and I have the opportunity to chat with interesting people and pick their brains every day.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal? 

It is “refreshing” – no pun intended! Work-life balance to me is being accountable to both your customers and employees as well as your family and friends. We must be able to allocate time and resources to both groups and be proud of our decisions and achievements.

One motto I abide by closely is that we should always strive to be better versions of ourselves. I create goals for myself and work towards being 1% better every week. 

I have 2 children – a four-year-old and a one-year-old. I make sure we’re able to spend quality time as a family and make memories together. This is what we want everyone at Freshworks to be able to do too.

At Freshworks, we emphasise work-life integration vs. work-life balance. We advocate for employees to create their schedules and take pride in completing their tasks. Employees are in full control of setting boundaries and optimising their work schedule.

This might mean starting work later in the day to focus on a personal project in the morning or logging off earlier to make bath time with the kids. Work-life integration sees every activity in your day as a part of a whole rather than compartmentalising.

Most importantly, Freshworks is an employee-first culture. We adopt a hybrid work environment so employees can work however suits them best. As a global company with employees working across countries and time zones, we make sure that everyone feels included and part of the team — no matter where they live.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Since my second child recently turned one, the past 12 months have been an absolute joy seeing him grow and achieve new milestones. The flexibility Freshworks offers with the hybrid work environment helps me take a moment or two to enjoy in between meetings.

I strive to find the right balance – some days are definitely better than others. A work culture like Freshworks that aids agility and fosters a sense of ownership is key for employees to feel empowered and do great work. 

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Too many to name! I usually spend my mornings reading the daily news and business trades to ensure I’m up to date with current market trends. I particularly enjoy audiobooks given my travel schedule.

I recently finished AMP It Up! by Frank Slootman and am currently halfway through Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss,  which offers varied business and leadership insights. 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

To me, work-life balance means switching off one and switching to the other. Personally, I feel work-life integration is the right way to go. If you are empowered at work and are able to complete tasks at the time of your choosing, it is an integrated experience — one does not take away from another.

There is no shortage of advice out there, the key is understanding what work-life balance means to you and working towards achieving that. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It’s important to be proud and enjoy what you do, no one wants to wake up every day and be miserable. I make sure to take time off each year to do things I enjoy with the people I love. Otherwise, I find it can be too easy to let the days and weeks run past as I tick off each task. 

The perfect balance might just be a unicorn, some weeks are good, some are terrible — find out what drives you and keep that fire burning.  

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.