Balancing the Grind with Marta Kütt, Chief of Staff at Qatalog

Marta Kütt is the Chief of Staff at Qatalog, a digital work hub for your people, projects, and tools.

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

After finishing university, I was lucky to get an internship at TransferWise (now Wise). This turned into a full time role a few months later. I ended up working at Wise for almost six years in various operational roles which gave me a good stepping stone to Qatalog.

At Qatalog I’ve had various roles, starting from user research to covering different aspects of company operations, which led to my role today as Chief of Staff.

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

My days are very varied. I might be onboarding a new joiner, organising the next team offsite, preparing slides for a team call, strategising as to how operations can support this year’s objectives, or figuring out a new way how I can use Qatalog workflows to make my job easier.

The last one is my favourite –  it gives me so much joy when I figure out a way of working in a better way, and it means I no longer have to manage my to-do-list in various places.

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

At Qatalog we are remote and async first. We trust people to get their work done, rather than clock watching. Before COVID, I didn’t like the idea of working from home, but now I am a convert. I can start work whenever I am ready and finish whenever I want.

I particularly enjoy working from home when I have badminton after work, and I can walk there in 15 minutes, instead of a 60 minute commute. I will often go to a nearby cafe for a coffee or take a quick break to stretch my legs or run errands at lunch time while listening to a podcast.

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

For me, having work-life balance means that I have a good routine. I accomplish my work goals and, outside of work, I have time for friends, family and hobbies. Having been very close to burnout at my previous company, I know how to recognise the signs. I make sure to close my laptop and avoid working late in the evenings or weekends.

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

I was recently able to create an office in a separate room at home, which has been a good change. Before that, I felt I worked and lived in my living room, so there was no division between work and post-work time. Now it feels like I am more productive, and feel like I am able to properly ‘leave work’.

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

My favourite podcasts are by Esther Perel and Brene Brown. They cover both work and personal life relationships and always make me reflect and want to be a better person.

I also enjoy listening to Pod Save the World and The World Wide tribe podcast – both about international relations and about refugees which are two topics that are close to my heart, especially in the current world climate.

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

I know I am biassed, but I cannot imagine working without Qatalog. I keep comparing how I worked three years ago to now, and it’s like two different worlds. In operations and Chief-of-Staff roles, it’s all about processes.

Qatalog Workflows make my repetitive processes, such as onboarding new joiners, so much more efficient, as I no longer have to rely on my memory or a clunky Google Doc. The Search feature also means that I can always find the information I need without asking anyone. Without it, I would still be reliant on colleagues a lot of the time and in distributed teams that just wouldn’t work, as everyone works different schedules. 

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

There are so many wonderful women in the world of operations. I would love to hear their tricks for getting work-life balance right in the post-covid work era.

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

I am excited for what the future holds. We are approaching a new frontier of asynchronous work, where work will be built around our lives, rather than our lives built around our work. It’s one of the reasons I do my job everyday, to try and build the technology and infrastructure that will enable this new reality. 

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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.