Georgia Foley is the Director of Community Operations for ANZ & SEA, at WeWork, a flexible workspace company with over 700 locations globally.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m a hospitality-minded community manager with an international career spanning almost ten years!
In my five years at WeWork, I’ve had the incredible honour of overseeing a fast-growing team across eleven locations in Sydney and beyond, helping to build a flexible workplace environment that supports businesses of all scales to grow.
Right now my focus at WeWork is on strategically managing the integration of new products and operational processes that enhance our offering to members.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
An early riser, I like to start my day with a walk around Centennial Park in Sydney’s inner east, or catch up with a friend for a coffee before walking into the office. I’ll listen to a quick news update to ensure I’m across the day’s headlines and usually arrive at my desk by 8am.
While every day is different, the first hour of each day is for running through emails and setting priorities for the day ahead, before diving into cross-functional or project related meetings.
Tasked with balancing incredible member experience with operational efficiency, I manage the inner workings of the business to ensure things run smoothly. Day to day, this involves chatting with members to understand their business needs, communicating with stakeholders around the world and liaising with our Community team.
Our Community team is positioned as the connective tissue of the workplace, not only greeting members by name and welcoming guests, but also program events to create deeper connections.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
More than ever, I think we’ve learnt that flexibility is key. While some individual or administrative tasks can be completed at home, days spent in the office are for creating in-person, workshopping ideas around a whiteboard or tackling a challenge with a colleague over a coffee – those human experiences which can’t naturally be replicated online.
While the pandemic has sparked a cultural shift on remote working, I think many people are looking for the best of both worlds – a hybrid of remote and onsite work.
Personally, I’m incredibly motivated by in-person interactions and face-to-face meetings, where the energy of those around you boosts motivation and productivity. Fortunately, a diversity of spaces at WeWork allows me the autonomy to choose a workspace to support the way I like to work.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, balance is about having a great routine and investing in your own well being every day, be it through physical exercise, getting plenty of sleep and knowing how to switch off. In today’s dynamic world, a change in the work environment can offer a big productivity boost too.
Employees are wanting greater flexibility to work where they can be their most productive for the task at hand. In Sydney alone, WeWork has 11 locations peppered all over the CBD, each with its own unique culture and vibe. A flexible workspace provides a hub for genuine collaboration and creativity; so what’s exciting is how workplace design is evolving to support this change.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
With the lines between work and home life increasingly blurred, having a routine (and sticking to it!) helps me to step in and out of ‘work mode’ and maintain a healthy balance throughout the working week.
Carving time for yourself is important too so I try to disconnect and avoid emails while I am home. As a creature of habit, I’ve happily returned to my daily walk to and from work which I find clears the mind and sets me up for a productive day ahead. I also block my calendar on a Wednesday evening for Pilates and look forward to it each hump day.
For me, the most significant change has been in taking my annual leave more regularly – escaping the city with a short mini break is a great way to unwind! A long weekend is a really easy switch-off tactic and provides an essential reset, leaving me feeling rested and more energised when heading back to work!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I tend to read fiction books but listen to non-fiction podcasts! I’ve learnt this is how I best absorb certain information. I’ll pick up a book to relax and allow my mind to wander: Where the Crawdads Sing written by Delia Owens was a recent favourite, as was Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, set in my hometown of Brisbane.
Podcasts I can listen to on the go, so are great for the commute. Right now, I’m learning all about cryptocurrency so that I can keep up at the pub! I have recently listened to a couple of episodes on Get Started Investing by the Equity Mates team and regularly scroll through HBR for something timely on work life, too.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Slack: not only is it essential for quick communication, project updates or self-scheduling reminders, but great for team check-ins and social banter too!
I’m currently trialing a soon-to-launch app, WeWork On Demand, which allows users to book a workspace or a meeting room with no upfront fees or long-term commitment.
Tech has allowed the digitisation of real estate, bringing workplace solutions directly to the consumer and providing access to hundreds of safe and beautiful workspaces all around the world.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Michelle Obama. I continue to be inspired and in awe of how seamlessly she navigated her role as a mother and wife, with the intensity of being a First Lady. As one of the most admired women in the world, she seems to tackle life’s challenges with grit and grace – a good message for us all.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
The past year has been incredibly tough, but it has also created a unique opportunity to shift to a more agile and human-centric approach in the future of work.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental wellbeing, and working from home full time during lockdowns has left many employees feeling isolated and disengaged.
Flexibility – or the choice of when and where to work – is something that’s become an even more attractive incentive to businesses and employees alike and as employees embrace new levels of flexibility accelerated by the pandemic, adopting a user-centric approach to workspace is the key to keeping them energised, engaged and productive.
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.