Balancing the Grind with Rich Wright, Head of Customer & Employee Experience at Datarati

Rich Wright is the Head of Customer & Employee Experience at Datarati, a specialist Salesforce partner which helps organisations digitally transform their customer experiences.

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

After completing a degree in Marketing back in the UK, it became evident to me very early on that while I loved the Branding and Advertising area of Marketing, data was really the place that felt like home.

Since then I have spent over a decade carving a career here in Australia in the CRM, Customer Lifecycle and Customer Experience space, learning and implementing industry best practice, and multiple systems including the Salesforce ecosystem.

In my current role at Datarati, I have a team of Customer Experience consultants and Project Managers across Australia, working on some global brands like Jaguar Land Rover, Sony, Kathmandu and many more.

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

My day normally starts around 6:30 with a gym session or a run. I live in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and I’ve found the best way to start the day is with a run along the coast to clear out the cobwebs.

Like most of us I’m working from home at the moment and find it’s so easy to barely move for a whole day.

I’m then at my desk by 8:30, and my diary presents a mix of what I imagine is most people’s norm – some internal meetings or 1:1s with my team, client meetings and finally some much needed time blocked out for me to get work done.

Typically, this would be about a 20:50:30 split. I make sure I have my time blocked out in my diary to complete the critical tasks, otherwise it is so easy to lose my entire day to meetings and not actually put pen to paper.

This includes things like presentation decks, webinars or just simply replying to the many emails I get each day – these tasks can really build up if I don’t prioritise them.

I’m normally not a huge breakfast person – sometimes only managing a smoothie after a gym session – so lunch is important for me. Although sometimes I find trying to fit it in can be challenging on some days.

However, I’ve learnt that it is very important to change up my environment for at least 30 minutes to stretch my legs, get away from my desk and refuel.

My day will normally wrap up around 5:30-6. I am lucky that I rarely have international calls or meetings with other markets on different time zones that cannot be done during the day. Regardless of workload, for me it’s important to get up and move at this point, and then if I need to, come back later and finish something off.

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

Datarati is an extremely flexible company, whether that’s facilitating working from home, which we have just confirmed will be the case until 2021, or prioritising taking a longer break during the day to exercise or for important appointments.

All we ask is that our clients are always considered to ensure we are making meetings. But with working from home permanently the flexibility for me and our staff has greatly improved.

Team members are saving hours per week in commute time which they can put back into physical or mental health, their families or simply getting a little extra rest – whatever it is each individual wants to prioritize.

We ran an employee satisfaction survey recently to check in on all employee engagement and mental wellbeing, and discovered huge positive sentiment from everyone around feeling safer working from home, as well as improved work life balance.

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

To me work-life balance means focusing on what is a priority at the current time, around and with your work. I do not necessarily think this needs to revolve specifically around one thing and think this should be constantly reviewed and changing as per your priorities.

For me right now a good work -life balance is heavily focused on staying fit and healthy, both in terms of physical activity and nutrition, which is what I personally need to stay mentally healthy in these strange times.

A few months ago, as we entered this phase of lockdown and unknown, that was more focused around managing stress levels, ensuring I was financially stable to be able to handle anything the world may have thrown at me.

I also had to quickly adjust to a life centred around living in my apartment, instead of being on a plane 1-2 times a week as I had been for the previous 12 months travelling for work.

A good work-life balance to me is the ability to be able to ensure you are constantly re-prioritising what is currently important and focusing on that to achieve a seamless work-life balance.

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

About 12 months ago at Datarati we organised some amazing sessions with Scott Doughty for everyone in the company.

Scott took us through some simple meditations, discussing mental fatigue and professional burnout. Since then I try to meditate at a very minimum once a week, but always pushing for once per day.

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

A book that I found really helped me adjust my mindset on things and gave me some stronger clarity on what is important in life would be Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.

But for me part of my work-life balance is to remove myself and read fiction, clear my mind so to speak, so anything with a great storyline that really encapsulates is great. Two books I have really enjoyed recently are Boy Swallows Universe and The Night Tiger.

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

I have to say I am a pretty big user of Siri, hands free to add a reminder, write a note, or simply change music as I work away, it’s a great help sometimes.

I also love Todoist – it’s a really simple but effective app that syncs between my mobile app, Google calendar and desktop to help organise my day and ensure I don’t forget key tasks each day.

Insight Timer is the app I use for my meditations, which is also amazingly simple to click into and use, and really helps me stay focused for those 15-20 minute meditations.

I also use a shakti mat when meditating to help loosen any stress in my back and increase blood flow, if you get a sore back from spending long periods of time in front of a computer these things are great!

Other than that, when I was travelling I wouldn’t go anywhere without my Kindle, and a great eye mask and ear plugs, hotel rooms can sometimes be very unkind, so trying to ensure the best night’s sleep possible keeps me going the next day.

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

I think most of the people I’m really interested in from a corporate perspective have spent a lot of time talking about this topic over the last few years; Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Mary Barra to name a few.

Their work life balances seem to be hugely varied, with Elon being a complete self-confessed workaholic, barely sleeping and working 120 hour weeks, to this amazing quote I read when I was working for GM a few years ago from Mary Barra:

In the role I have now — even for the last few jobs — I’ll say, ‘You know what, guys? This meeting needs to end on time because I’m going to my daughter’s soccer game. So we’re going to be done at 5:30 because I’ve got to go then.’

Why GM CEO Mary Barra will end an important meeting to go to her daughter’s soccer game | BUsiness Insider

So I would say rather than an interview with one, it would be a group interview with these people that run some of the world’s biggest companies, discussing what work-life balance means to them and how they achieve it, as well as the huge successes they have in life.

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

The old cliché of “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” comes to mind.

But if you can find a job you are passionate about (which I really am with mine) and then a company that is as focused on its employees, their health, wellbeing and flexibility for work-life balance (like Datarati is) then don’t get me wrong, I most certainly feel like I am still working, but it does make things a lot easier.

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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.