Balancing the Grind with Damien Andreasen, ANZ Country Manager at HiBob

Damien Andreasen is the ANZ Country Manager at HiBob, a company on a mission to transform how organizations operate in the modern world of work with its HR platform, “Bob”.

Learn about the daily routines from the most successful people in the world by signing up to our newsletter

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

I’ve spent the last decade starting and scaling tech businesses. There have been some exits and some failures but all have been invaluable learning opportunities for me.

In that time, I’ve been a founder, CEO, CRO and, most recently, head of region. My focus is in the B2B enterprise software space, and for the last five years I’ve been in HR tech, which is an area I love because it solves deep problems for customers. I understand the customer pain points in this space after having built and scaled several businesses myself over the course of my career.

My role at HiBob is to launch and scale the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region including building a full team to support customer demand. Like any senior role it’s multifaceted working across marketing, partnerships, sales and customer services functions to align and execute on local and global strategies. My personal ethos is to build a culture focused on customer advocacy — it’s such a strong, sustainable growth engine.

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

I wake up at 6am, and either go for a swim in the ocean or for a walk and coffee with my wife before I start any work. As I work for a global organisation, I start my day meeting with the US team around 7am.

Then from 9am, I’m focused on supporting the APJ team. Then between 4pm and 7pm, Israel and the UK come online, so each day is at least 12 hours long, structured around the different teams I’m working with.

During core local hours I’ll check in with department heads to get updates on team performance and initiatives and identify blockers that I can assist with. I’ll usually meet with one or two key clients, and one or two partners in the ecosystem that we work with too.

Amongst all of that, I’ll try to carve out time to have lunch with my wife to take a mental break and reset my energy levels for the afternoon. I leave non-time sensitive emails and Slack messages until after core hours so I can make myself available to my team as much as possible.

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

It’s not work if you love what you do, right?

Honestly, I could do better here as my wife so often reminds me. But when you are responsible for setting up a new region for a business with ambitious goals and your team is doubling in size every six months, there are rarely enough hours in the day to get it all done.

On the occasions where I find myself with free spots during the day I’ll take time out to get outside and enjoy the sunshine to recharge the batteries. 

The key for me is to understand my energy levels and when they are low, to take action. I’m not against taking a mental health day every now and again to reset and I try to do this on a Friday to compound the benefit of having three days off.

I’ve seen burn out and probably burned myself out without fully realising it. It takes far longer to recover from that than you might think, so I’d rather sacrifice a half day when I need to recoup, reset and come in fresh on Monday.

Elon Musk, Kobe Bryant, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, receive a new daily routine each week about some of the most successful people in the world.

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

Mostly, it’s my morning habits that make a huge difference because they set me up for the day. Some light exercise like a swim or a walk, warm water with lemon and cayenne pepper then a greens powder like Athletic Greens is all I usually have until lunchtime.

I find skipping breakfast and avoiding coffee for the first few hours of the day helps me to maintain focus and energy levels, which is critical when you have more than 10 Zoom meetings per day.

I’ve also dabbled with some Wilmhoff cold water therapy — that’ll wake you up faster than a double espresso any day of the week!

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

I’m reading all day so I opt for podcasts like All In, Huberman Lab, Joe Rogan and, more recently, Flying Coach by Steve Kerr and Pete Caroll, the coaches of championship teams Golden State Warriors and Seattle Seahawks. There’s a common theme across each because in one way or another, I’m exposed to tips, frameworks and methods to increase performance.

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

I’d love to learn how people at the top of their game across different industries manage a work–life balance because I don’t subscribe to a one-size-fits-all approach. If I had to pick one, I’d probably look towards Elon Musk, though I get the feeling he probably doesn’t have much of a work–life balance. Either that or trolling Twitter is cathartic for him!

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

Probably just a note to self — carve out more time to do the things you love and spend more quality time with those you love.

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.