Many dream of it; work from paradise and live like a Digital Nomad. Julia from HR started the adventure with her family a year ago.
When the computers are started at Tricycle-Europe, Julia is cooking. Her day starts after dinner.
It sounds like a dream
“As with almost everything, once you have realized your dream, a dream becomes reality.”
What is the reality?
“Working remote can be a challenge because you cannot always look the other person in the eye. Therefore, you have to make clear agreements and be very sharp, miscommunications can happen sooner when you work remote than when you see someone face-to-face.”
What was the biggest challenge at the start of working remotely?
“Before we settled down in Melbourne, we traveled around with our bus for a couple of months. In the meantime, work just went on. During trips to remote places it was a struggle to find a signal. Sometimes I was waving my phone in the air to reach for a signal.”
A big decision that you don’t immediately make
“No, that is true. A couple of years ago we were planning to go to Australia for a shorter period. One of the reasons was that my partner’s father is originally from Sydney. At that time, I was studying at the University of Amsterdam (master’s labor law and private law) but had not yet completed my studies. I thought, I can try to get accepted at a University in Australia so I can do part of my masters there. It worked. So, we’ve lived in Australia previously before making this decision.”
Why back to the Netherlands?
“We went back to finish our studies in Amsterdam and to concentrate on our career. We bought a house and we were both working. However, in the meantime, we still missed living in Australia.”
You bought a house, got a child, both of you had good jobs
“One evening at home, my partner and I were contemplating what we really wanted from life. It turned out that we both wanted the same thing: an adventure. It was a good time in the market to sell our house -so we did!
“There are challenges related to work, but these can be overcome quite easily; However, this is not the same with family and friends. We are on the other side of the world, which can be tough because you don’t have a safety net. Although we are meeting new friends, it just takes time.”
How would you like to be described by staff?
“As a committed and impartial person who everyone from our organization can rely on.”
What is the market currently asking for?
“Flexible working conditions and responsibility. Employees want to have responsibilities, because they want to have the feeling that what they do makes a difference. On the other hand, they can be too eager. Not everyone is suited to take on a lot of responsibility at once. Also, there is a constant need for development. Everyone is thinking about the next step ahead and they want to prevent their career from stagnating.”
Suppose you suddenly need more people because of a certain development: what type of people are you looking for?
“Employees who take responsibility and employees who do not expect that we’ve paved the way for them. They can expect that their work is cut out for them. In addition, everyone must be able to constantly adapt to the market.”
Where do Tricycle-Europe employees get the time to stay up to date?
“It is part of the position. For example, in the social team coaches continue to self-educate and develop their skills in marketing and sales, or in another relevant subject such as, learning & growth. Therefore, there is room within their position to develop themselves.”
What did you encounter when you first started in HR?
“Before I started at Tricycle-Europe, I only had working experience in large organizations. Within Tricycle-Europe the lines are short and the accessibility is good, which results in quick solutions. However, it also meant that there was no one who explained the details of my role to me. This resulted in a lot of responsibility but also in a lot of freedom. They trust me to use my own vision within this role.”
What is the difference between a Holding and an SME?
“In large organizations you must follow processes whether that suits your way of working, or not. With an organization such as Tricycle it is easier to pursue your own philosophy. Working at a Holding was also very cool because I was able to make a big impact, and we were regularly in the news.”
How do you deal with freedom within your position?
“I have set up a full HR System which I’m proud of. Within setting up a HR system I have to take into account the balance between regulation and flexibility. One team might need more structure than another other team.”
What would you tell / give to your 18-year-old self.
“That you should not rely too heavy on the choices you make before you are 30. Just make various choice, and afterwards, you can decide what suits you best.”
What do you want to achieve on a personal level?
“I used to think that I had to be perfect and that I had to be able to adapt to anything whether that suited my own visions or not. Now I realize that it is more important to be unique and to be able to create your own vision. It is not the aim to be vanilla; I want to add something unique and tangible to the world.”
What is your most important lesson so far?
“Emphasizing with someone while remaining true to my own vision. I don’t say things I, or the company, cannot live up to. Furthermore, I have learned to negotiate well and I’m honest: I don’t tell people just what they want to hear.”
Where do you see yourself and your family in five years?
“I am very happy with the road I am on at the moment. I’m beginning to feel more and more at home in Melbourne. I have learned not to focus too much on a 5-year plan, but to be open to what is coming my way. Even though I think it is important to have core values, I believe that when you keep developing yourself your beliefs and objectives can change.”