Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Max Encke, Talent Operations Manager at Infogrid

Max Encke is the Talent Operations Manager at Infogrid, a company that is helping buildings achieve efficient, healthy, and sustainable spaces by making them the buildings smarter.

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

I studied psychology at university, and HR was always something on my radar. But the job market was hyper competitive without any experience or further education, so ended up falling into recruitment (like many do).

Not long after falling into recruitment, I went travelling for a bit (like many young people) through South East Asian to Australia, where I ended up staying for 6 years and grew my career within Recruitment.

My current role is with a company called Infogrid (reducing the carbon footprint of buildings by making them smarter) as a Talent Operations Manager. I am still working in the Recruitment field, but now focused on the operational/back office side, my team and I work to increase efficiencies and empower the wider recruitment function to do more with less.

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

I’m currently working roughly 4 days per week at home, although this does vary depending on what I have going on.

An “average” day general consists of meeting with our People / Talent team to ensure we’re all staying on the right track. Meeting existing or potential external partners/providers who may help increase our capability/capacity and actually doing work.

What does actually doing work mean for me? It can be a very wide range of things, from ensuring our systems are functioning correctly, monitoring progress of the team, creating training and documentation, running workshops and helping to create content.

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

We are very flexible, even before the pandemic. So I currently work mostly from home, although I do very much enjoy the interaction of being in the office. I have the flexibility of choosing when I go into the office, and as I tend to cycle in (50 minute cycle) I generally only go in when it is nice weather.

Working from home has given me back a significant amount of time, which initially just went into working longer hours. But with time and a conscious effort, I have managed to go back to working normal hours.

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

Work-life balance for me is being able to switch off and enjoy life without being pulled back into work thoughts constantly.

It has definitely been a journey over the past 18 months, working for a startup often means going above and beyond “normal” to progress. But with a conscious effort to get a better work life balance, turning off notifications on mobile devices and having a separate home working space has definitely allowed some more separation.

Being clear with colleagues about when they can expect a response and when they can’t also helps!

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

I have started and stopped many routines over the past 12 months, including trying to meditate regularly (didn’t last long), going for daily walks (only happened during summer).

Having more time at home (by not commuting) has meant I am reading more again and have more time to cook proper meals.

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

I am very much a novel reader, at the moment I am working my way through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (40+ books).

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

I recently bought a smart thermostat (smart heating) and absolutely love it. Being able to only heat rooms that need it and manage the heating from anywhere, and importantly seeing the reduction in our heat waste is great.

Other than that, a note taking app. I currently use Evernote but have used Google Keep before.

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

There is a lot of focus on the big names in tech, but they are fairly unrelatable. I’d be most interested in peers, people doing similar things to myself or in similar places in their life. Trying to actually find things which could work for me or fit into my life – rather than “if I was a millionaire then I would do this”.

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

Without conscious effort in a direction, nothing really happens. Be that creating a work life balance, or progressing in your career. You don’t need to aim to change the/your world quickly, but a conscious effort is a great place to start.

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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.