Emma Aldous is the Senior People Manager at monday.com, an open platform that democratizes the power of software so organizations can easily build work management tools and software applications to fit their every need.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I work with the Asia Pacific and Japan team at monday.com and I am responsible for the people function within this region. What that means is I have the awesome job of assisting the 70+ people who make up this region with anything from management development to the implementation of employee experience initiatives.
After 3 months into the role, and learning the ropes, my focus for this year is building a scalable workforce who are engaged, ambitious and advocates for the company. Fortunately, I have an incredible base to work from given our team and the culture which monday.com has instilled. In addition, I want to raise awareness of monday.com as an employer within this market so focusing on our employee value proposition (EVP) is a big and exciting project for me.
I’ve been in the People and Culture space now for 10+ years and have had incredible opportunities to work with some of Australia’s largest employers and exciting new tech startups.
I am definitely a generalist but where I feel the most energised is partnering with people to better understand their workplace experience and how, as an organisation/leadership team/group we can create a rewarding, energising workplace experience which gives back to people in a meaningful way.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I am relatively new in the role so my calendar isn’t bursting at the seams yet. In a day at monday.com within the people function you can expect to be working on some pretty cool things alongside some really cool people – it is a highly engaged and collaborative environment.
I start my day with focus time simply because the coffee has hit and I am generally my most productive in these hours. Getting the hardest work out of the way early is how I find my feet, it also prevents me from procrastinating too much.
monday.com is big on alignment and collaboration so we connect quickly to discuss initiatives, movements, people plans and commit to action points moving forward. As a company with multiple locations, it is awesome to get everyone in the room with a clear objective and understand each other’s role in achieving that outcome. In addition, we prioritise connection so I get to connect with others over a coffee or lunch to continue to build insight to our wonderful people and the culture here at monday.com.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I have fantastic flexibility at monday.com. I’m part of a global organisation and connected to a team in a completely different time zone sp sometimes my days can be a bit random but this creates a real opportunity for me to enjoy some of the best moments of the day.
With a combination of working from home and in the office I am able to focus on admin/quiet time at home and prioritise connection and catch ups when I am in the office. monday.com is a business that values autonomy and creating space for people to problem solve, think deeply and collaborate – this is done so well in a hybrid environment and I have really found that since working from home I have a healthier balance.
I am still the biggest believer in face to face interaction as it’s those micro moments which occur in the office that create long lasting intrinsic connection. Plus, I love having a laugh or a chat to a colleague – just brightens my day.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
We definitely need to understand and be realistic with ourselves that balance isn’t a fixed state of being. Our priorities constantly shift and aspects of our lives could demand more from us at one time or another. Coming to terms with this has really helped me understand my own definition of work-life balance.
Balance for me is a state where I feel energised, engaged and eager to contribute. I know if I’m not experiencing those feelings then I need to take a step back to understand where I might be asking too much of myself. I often find that when I experience this I am unorganised in areas of my life or am missing routine.
I do my best work when I am organised, have created a routine and am taking the adequate time to experience joy. How that manifests for me is having a plan — I like to know what my week looks like and have a key objective for the week.
In addition, it is really important for me to have things to look forward to – seeing the week ahead of me both through a work and life lens gives me clear direction and a sense of ease which prevents me from feeling overwhelmed.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have rekindled my love for pilates which has given me more time back to myself but now reflecting, I think there are some habits I definitely need to pick back up. Being strict on time for bed and cutting out mindless TV worked wonders for me and my headspace.
The habits I will keep in place are waking up early, enjoying the first coffee of the morning and ensuring to plan my week instead of just going with the flow.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I could recommend hundreds – I spend a huge amount of time reading blog posts, articles and dashing all over the internet to read the opinions of others. My go-tos are Adam Grant and his WorkLife podcast, HBR Book Series (an accumulation of their best articles) and the You’re Wrong About podcast series with Sarah Marshall.
Of course, you can’t forget Freakonomics, TED and embarrassingly, Best Book Bits (podcast). As for a favourite book, I will reread How Proust Can Change Your Life over and over again – each time I learn something new and think it is a book which brings so much insight to what gratitude truly is.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Sleep is one of my biggest priorities and being an avid sports fan, and somewhat mediocre participator, Whoop is my gadget I couldn’t live without and now that it is integrated with Apple Health I feel I have more control over my physical well being. It gives me far more data than I need but it helps me understand how much stress my body is under and what I need to do to perform at my best.
I 100% could be a spokeswoman for Whoop – I am seriously passionate. This and habit tracking app, Done. One of my good friends recommended Done as an easy way to set goals and progress towards them. I use it for tracking how often I’ve gone to the gym, how many days I’ve gone without something and for reminding me to get to bed at a certain time.
It’s simple, easy to use and extremely satisfying to see your trends over a period of time. It functions much like monday.com platform — just not as elite — and it’s a good reminder that your life can be simplified if you take charge of it.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Adam Grant every time. He has studied tons of executives, employees, students etc and has a really robust understanding of how people manage their work lives and their personal lives – he also understands that the two are very much integrated.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Take time to connect with yourself. Understanding your own motivations, what is bringing you joy and what is depriving you of energy allows you to more easily attain balance. Once you are aware of these things you’re able to continually check in on yourself and ensure you are working on things that matter for you.
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.