Balancing the Grind with Jason Shugg, Chief Customer Officer at Luxury Escapes

Jason Shugg is the Chief Customer Officer at Luxury Escapes, one of the world’s fastest growing travel websites, with more than 3.2 million members.

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

I’ve always been in strategy, product, marketing and customer roles as it’s a key passion area. I’ve been lucky enough to work for some iconic brands over my career including News Corp, Lonely Planet, Bupa and now Luxury Escapes where I’m currently the Chief Customer Officer. 

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

Since COVID I’m not sure there is a normal work day! We’re a very metric driven business so the first part of the day is reviewing our KPI’s from yesterday and tweaking some activity where required.

It’s then spending time with the team on the bigger projects we have on as my experience is these are the first things to drop off in times such as we’re in. For us it’s a constant focus on how we can serve and connect better with the customer to really delight them and delight our bottom line.

Then it’s the daily lunchtime run, which I use to decompress and plan the afternoon. After that our international markets start to come online so most of my focus is how we are growing these businesses, as they are critical to the future of Luxury Escapes

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

Like most businesses now we are more flexible than pre-COVID, and I certainly see huge advantages in this. I tend to do four days in the office as I love the connection with people and find things like innovation easier face-face, and one day at home where I focus on the bigger projects, which often require a bit more self-focus (and no distractions!).

I’ve also loved being able to see the kids when they get home from school and cook the family meal. It’s a great reminder of how important the work-life balance is

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

It’s something I’ve tended to struggle with and find myself often getting in trouble from the kids as I sneak into our study at night to do a little more work! Most of my roles have required travel so I found myself away from the family a lot which also doesn’t help.

One of the positives of COVID has been the slight rebalance of this. I’m trying to spend more time with the family at key times (dinner) and then drifting into the study after kids have gone to bed. I also tend to turn off my emails on Saturday’s, which has made a huge difference

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

I’ve always exercised a lot so unlike a lot of people that stayed constant. The one thing I have done a lot more is cook the family meals. When we were home full time over the worst of COVID I cooked most nights, nowadays it’s more like twice a week. I like it, I’m not sure the kids and wife do as much.

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

Like most people through COVID I found podcasts a key way to survive. And keep me entertained on the endless dog walks I found myself doing. A few I really like are The Imperfects with Hugh van Cuylenburg and anything with Emma Murray.

Both these focus on performance mindfulness. I also love Seth Godin and Prof G by Scott Galloway, who focus more on business and innovation

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

My running apps Nike Plus and Strava keep me motivated. Netflix keeps me entertained and of course my Luxury Escapes app inspires me to dream and book amazing holidays

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

Good question I’m not really sure. I’m a little less interested in the case studies of this as it’s so relative to your situation and I tend not to try and compare against others, as I mentioned above, I really like Emma Murray’s take on mindfulness, which has direct applicability to work-life balance.

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

One thing I talk a bit about with my team is your A-game and B-game. Whilst people generally want to be constantly in their A-game, it’s hard we all tend to trick back to our B-game e.g. worrying about outcomes or things that might happen or we can’t control.

My advice is to really focus on when you’re at your best in whatever you do, that’s your a-game and deeply understand what it looks like and how to stay there for longer. I’ll bet for most people work-life balance will underpin it.

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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.