Balancing the Grind with James Harvey, Head Of Customer Experience at Zepto

James Harvey is the Head Of Customer Experience at Zepto, a company creating real-time, account-to-account merchant payment solutions for an on-demand economy.

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

I’ve come from a creative background with a love for problem solving, technology and innovation. I believe that businesses that value their customer experience will thrive.

I have spent the majority of my career passionately pursuing the best of the best in customer outcomes as a Creative Director, which sparked a deep interest in UX and understanding the problems that we’re solving and then as an innovation focused UX Practitioner in financial services and utilities.

I’ve been lucky enough to work at some fantastic businesses both large and small and absolutely love engaging with, and understanding customers from all walks of life to deeply understand problem spaces. 

It was while working on some world-first projects for the likes of Nike that I began to understand the role of technology and power of invisibility in order to create incredible customer experiences – it’s what customers don’t see that can bring an experience with a product or brand to life.

Using technology as an enabler to do the heavy lifting can make things feel so simple and trusted. And with payments this is crucial. 

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

My little family relocated to Northern NSW from Melbourne in the early days of COVID, so I typically start the day with a healthy dose of nature, going for a surf, running along track behind the sand dunes or a workout to clear out the cobwebs, depending on who’s turn it is to go surfing (surf time is hot property).

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Zepto is a remote first company, which works brilliantly. I love going into the office, but it allows us to visit family back in Melbourne (or even go camping) and continue to work as usual.

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

Life at Zepto is really fast. And really exciting. But this pace isn’t sustainable if it’s applied across all aspects of life.

Historically exercise and playing music with friends would be my brain’s re-calibration strategy but since moving up north I’ve replaced the ‘playing music’ part with more nature time as, for the first time in my life it’s on our front (and back) doorstep.

In my experience work-life balance ebbs and flows. When all the cogs of life are rotating in harmony, exercise and other outlets slot in seamlessly, but then all of a sudden everything can ramp up again and something as simple as taking the dog out for a slow stroll can make a world of difference to my headspace.

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

When we moved away from the city, I saw what I thought would be just another cheesy bumper sticker on the back of a car. It said: “Embrace Country Pace”. This message really got me thinking.

Then before I knew it, without a conscious decision to do so, I began embracing country pace. When I’m out and about, I drive slower, walk slower, think slower. I find that it makes a huge difference to being in the moment and aids my ability to be as present as I can – especially with my family.

Work related thoughts still process in the background, but by taking some of the pace out of those work thoughts, it helps me to form calmer, more balanced decisions and strategies.

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

Book: Digital Darwinism by Tom Goodwin.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Spotify to the power of my fancy headphones.

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

LeBron James. He seems to have a wonderful relationship with his family whilst having the expectation and pressure to consistently perform at such an elite level and manage his mental and physical health.

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

I’m looking forward to further Embracing Country Pace and accepting that the waves of work, life and balance don’t always flow in the same direction, but that’s ok – because that’s what keeps life so damn interesting!

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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.