Balancing the Grind with Kath Harris, Global Human Resources Executive

An insightful, supportive and dynamic change agent, Kath’s trusted and tailored approach puts progressive solutions into place and practice.

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

I’ve worked closely with CEO’s, managers and teams for over 25 years in HR / People and Culture teams. I have really enjoyed the challenges and opportunities I’ve received and am very grateful to have learnt so much from the amazing people that I’ve had the privilege of working with

I help others to grow, by enabling and empowering people to realise their own potential and shine in their careers. I do this by developing relationships, sharing my skills, knowledge and experience to help make organisations a great place to jump out of bed in the morning and come to – in person or now virtually!

When I had my family I took a one year off work with each of my kids which I’m very grateful for and spent this time adjusting to this new phase of life. Returning to the workforce I wanted flexibility and decided to try HR consulting.

This was really different to the corporate world  and I found working closely with business owners and CEO’s really rewarding and due to the size of the businesses that I could make a real difference.

My current role is working in my own human resource consulting business where I partner with and help clients across different industries and company sizes. I love being able to use the knowledge, skills and experience that I’ve gained over my career to help businesses to grow and thrive by focusing on their people, their most important asset. 

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

Each day can look a little different and I love having variety and flexibility. One day can look like getting up early for the morning kids routine off to school, with a 7km walk and stop at my local coffee shop.

Another day I’m heading to get the train into the city to spend time with clients and coworking with startups and people in my network.  

My work day involves supporting and partnering with clients via telephone, virtually or face to face. I can be working through a complex people related issue or developing programs that can include employee engagement, leadership development, onboarding and offboarding, performance management and the list goes on. 

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

I think most of us would agree that work and life aren’t separate so it’s a balance across all areas of life and that can be very different for everyone. Work is an important part of my world, gives me purpose and I love helping to make a difference in other peoples lives.

Equally spending time with family, friends, and space for myself is important for the balance I need to keep healthy mentally and physically. I feel most balanced when I have structure and routine in my day. 

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

I’m a people person and feel energized and motivated when I’m around others. Being in lockdown and not being able to connect physically with others and my community was a huge challenge for me.

Spending most of my time behind a screen became exhausting and really highlighted that I needed not only more time outdoors out in nature but importantly that I’m back working face to face with a balance of remote working. 

I started making sure that while I loved time to myself and the balance of working in a hybrid situation that scheduling social catch ups and time with others was essential for my health. I really missed the office kitchen conversations and lockdown highlighted to me the value of these relationships as there seemed to be such an emphasis on working and being productive. There was little down time to just chat about your weekend or recent holiday. 

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

  • The Happiest Man Alive by Eddie Jaku (Book)
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear (Book)
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (Book)
  • Unlocking Us – Brene Brown (Podcast)
  • Conversations (ABC Radio) (Podcast)
  • We Can Do Hard Things – Glennon Doyle (Podcast)

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

I would love to read about how Maggie Beer has managed work and life balance over her career. She continues to have a very successful business with lots of fingers in different pies and has provided such joy for us with the food she has created in her restaurants, supermarkets and cook books.

I really admire what she has achieved in such a tough industry. I would love to read about how she has raised a family, given time to achieve her purpose and ambitions and allowed time for herself and important relationships. 

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

Being present is something I’m always working on. I think this really helps me to enjoy life today and not focus too much on what the future holds. Taking time out away from screens is also so important for our focus and mental health, for me it’s’ my phone.

Even short breaks throughout the day to go for a walk, enjoying nature, my favourite is walking on the beach and wearing no shoes so I can really ground myself. One tip I received once was to stop and look at my feet and to be grounded in the moment. 

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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.