Dipra Ray is the CEO of Springday and mPort, two companies that build clever ecosystems that measure, inform and improve people’s wellbeing.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started off as a graduate in a global investment bank (Deutsche Bank) having studied Finance in New Zealand.
I left the bank after two and a half years to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions and haven’t looked back since. I’m currently the Managing Director & CEO of mPort & Springday, both businesses which are focused on making people healthier and happier.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days are fairly varied depending on my schedule however, my first port of call for work is to go through my emails before dialling into a daily stand-up I have with my commercial team.
After this, I typically have meetings with my senior management team or have external meetings with clients. I’m often in workshops about strategic planning for products and reviewing work completed.
I tend to take a lunch break around midday; when office work is possible, I would always try to encourage other team members to take a break, go for a walk and grab lunch. It’s my time to take a break and also talk to my team about things outside of work.
After that I’m normally back to meetings for the rest of the afternoon. Each day is quite unique for me as I have very different stakeholders I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Early in the week I interact mostly with my own team members and later in the week it’s external stakeholders like key customers or suppliers.
I tend to finish up at around five or six, though this sometimes gets extended, particularly if I’m having to deal with any overseas clients. I have a golden habit of always having dinner with my family and after that I tend to review any work that’s being created.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, all our teams and roles effectively allow for remote and flexible working. We don’t track timesheets – it’s the responsibility of each team member to let his or her team know if they are unavailable for a certain period.
I’m a big believer in people managing their own time and working according to schedules that fit them. It makes life a lot easier and takes a lot of stress out of planning for personal things.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me, work-life balance means having and enjoying a life outside of work. If your life is only about work and you have no other passions, I think that can be a very strenuous and unsustainable way of living.
To have a life outside of work means being able to prioritise the things that are important – such as being able to have dinner with your family, or being able to play tennis or spend time with your friends.
I’m lucky enough that I have a lot of control of my own diary so I can achieve this relatively easily. One challenge I have is that I do need my phone on me at all times as I do get queries or calls from team members and that means it can be hard to completely shut off.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve been trying to minimise my screen time, especially before going to bed. I’ve kept to my habit of turning my phone on flight mode before I go to sleep. I also have a personal rule to not read or respond to any emails on Friday nights which I have always kept.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a huge consumer of news – both from the AFR and The Economist. It’s very important for me to stay up to date on what’s going on around the world.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My phone almost certainly. I do like checking out our monthly campaigns on the Springday app to make sure I’m on top of my wellbeing.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Gladys Berejklian & Kerry Chant! I can’t imagine how they’re balancing their wellbeing over the last few months, given the challenging circumstances we’ve been in.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It’s critical that people take time out of work. While work is an integral part of life, it shouldn’t become the focus. It’s easier said than done – I know if I lost my work, it would be very challenging for me to know what to do given how closely I identify myself with my work.
But it’s so important to have a varied number of passions, because otherwise, your wellbeing is entirely reliant on one thing and that one thing may be something out of your control. Managers need to recognise this as well and encourage their staff to have hobbies and interests and make sure they keep some level of balance.
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