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Balancing the Grind with Linda Biggs, People Ops Manager at Float

Linda Biggs is the People Ops Manager at Float, a resource management platform that gives teams an accurate view of their capacity.

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

I started my career as a developer but quickly realised that I preferred the people aspect over the tech aspect and moved into roles that bridged tech, people and operational strategy.

I helped to set up the IT Governance policies and programs at WestJet and then spent time with KPMG basically reviewing the policies and programs that public organisations had in place to ensure regulatory compliance.

It was a really great way to learn about many different industries and how different departments are run. From there I moved into Project Management and then into leadership roles in the startup world. I think I’ve taken the scenic route throughout my career.

Today I balance being the People Ops Manager at Float where I focus on growing the team with being the co-founder of joni – a FemTech startup. I’m grateful to work with this incredible group of people doing amazing work at Float while also being able to build my own dream. 

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

We’re actively hiring at Float so today I spent some time working with our hiring managers to finalise job descriptions for two additional roles. I had two initial interviews with candidates for our open roles and wrapped those up with notes for the hiring team so we can decide collectively how to move forward.

This afternoon I had our Operations team regroup (my one and only meeting for the week). As I wrap up the day, I’m circling back to close conversations on Slack and ensuring that I’m up-to-date with my communication with all of our candidates at the various stages in our hiring pipeline. 

For joni, I wear many hats. From updating our social content, to building out our international website, to making Zoom calls with retailers or Slack conversations with our bookkeeper. Startup life means doing what the business needs to move forward.

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

100% at Float, flexible work is the standard. It’s deeply ingrained in our culture and is supported by the trust we place in each other. We work asynchronously remote so I’m online at different times than many folks on the team who are located all over the world.

We communicate asynchronously via Slack, Asana and email which allows for larger periods of deep work time. There is no expectation for me to reply to a message at 10pm from the CEO or 3am from the Product team. We all play like champions in the way that works best for us. 

I start my day early with my husband by getting our daughters ready for school and dropped off. I try to fit in a walk or some form of “health time” that I schedule into my mornings. I avoid scheduling meetings that start before 9:30am these days so that I get that important health time in. If I don’t schedule it, I don’t make time for it.

Then it’s deep work time. My husband also works from home so sometimes we go for lunch together but oftentimes it’s us meeting in our kitchen and chatting over a quick lunch and tea.

As I do a lot of interviews with my role at Float, I block out time for those in my calendar so I have set times when I know I’ll be in back to back on zoom calls. It helps me plan out my day and deep work time.

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

I love the idea of a values based life vs goals based life. I’m naturally a very ambitious person and I can (and have) driven myself to the edges in pursuit of a goal. I place a lot of value in the doing and I need to remind myself regularly that there is also deep value in being.

So now I continuously ask myself whether the way I’m showing up and working is serving me and aligned with my values. At 40, I have much more clarity around who and what I’m giving my energy to.

Time is a limited resource. We can lose money and get it back but once time is gone, we don’t get it back. The idea that time is valuable helps me to align my decisions to how I want to live my life. 

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

The pandemic has really brought to light how unsustainable “normal” was and has given me the opportunity to shed the “should’s” that I often felt obligated to do in my day-to-day life. When I hear myself say “should” I always pause and dig into what that really means. I’ve also recently paused drinking alcohol which, even just a few months ago, I would have scoffed at the idea. It felt like the right time.

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

Book: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, it changed the way I viewed the idea of reaching out to others.

Podcast: Smartless – Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett are just refreshing. Also How I Build This with Guy Raz of course. 

Newsletters: Two totally different ones but brilliant in their own ways Friday Things by Stacy Lee Kong and No Mercy / No Malice by Scott Galloway

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

I’m pretty attached to my iPhone but I like to think I can live without it. 

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

I want to hear from the underdogs. I recently read a popular book about being a ‘better CEO’ where the very successful male author talked about only needing 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Or the importance of inbox zero daily. Or how aiming for a $100 million net worth vs a $10 million net worth will make you happier long-term.

I’m tired of that narrative. To me, work-life balance is about enriching our lives and others. I want to hear how others do that in their own unique ways so I can learn from them and continue to enrich mine.

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

I spent the early years of my career chasing someone else’s dream. It wasn’t until I stepped off that hamster wheel and redefined success on my terms that I realised how colourful work and life can be when they work together. Find a balance that works for you.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.