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Flexible Working: My Erasmus with EMPAUA


Louis - August 20, 2018 - 0 comments

After grinding away in various recruitment and sales based roles for 6 years’, it’s safe to say that I began to feel demotivated, burnt out, and generally miserable. I had been spending 60 hours a week in the office and I genuinely felt I was close to having a premature mid-life crisis. Considering about 500,000 people in the UK suffer from work-related stress, I knew it was vital to overcome this exhaustion.

I joined EMPAUA.

EMPAUA had been one of my top clients during my 2 previous agency recruitment roles. I knew the founders, the vision, and above all, I knew that they valued their top priority was creating a culture where every single employee felt comfortable and empowered. By taking an employee-first approach, the team becomes better placed (productivity and creativity wise) to deliver better value to customers. It was a means I’d always been intrigued by ever since working with the company and decided to voice my interest. I applied to EMPAUA. Throughout the interview process, I had always expressed the interest in potentially relocating to Berlin long term. I’d never been travelling and I didn’t go to university, so the EMPAUA Erasmus was a perfect taster for the Berlin life.

Kreuzberg, Berlin Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash

The EMPAUA Erasmus program encourages employees to visit other offices on short-mid term visits and gives us an opportunity to get to know our colleagues on a deeper level. We’ve even developed our own internal Air BnB function which means we can stay in one of our colleague’s spare rooms or take over their entire apartment should that person be on holiday. You can read more about our Erasmus program in this blog post.

It’s been great to immerse myself in a new city, meeting new people and enjoying what Berlin has to offer, however, I’ve also grown a stronger appreciation for my own self-development. Here are some ways I’ve noticed some self-improvement since I’ve been here:

Character Building

To anyone who has the opportunity to live abroad at least once in their life, I’d certainly recommend it. My 2 months in Berlin gave me a chance to explore another culture and experience how businesses in Germany operate first hand. I came back to London with a new approach to some of my daily tasks, work and non-work related. I started to become a better manager in my self. Managing my own work load at EMPAUA as well as my personal tasks that go along with settling into a new city helped me prioritise more effectively and become better self managed. 

New Energy

Having lived in London since I was born, I was comfortable with my surroundings. Although daunting at first, being dropped in a new city I was forced to quickly immerse myself in Berlin life. From finding a flat to getting the standard bureaucratic tasks done to meeting new people as I explored the Berlin nightlife, immersing myself in a new city gave me a new energy. Switching up routine can cast a new light on the way we’ve been approaching work. I get along well with everyone at EMPAUA but spending time with my colleague’s in Berlin, some of whom I had never met or had very little interaction with, was energising and gave me another reason and gave me the opportunity to strengthen my internal relationships at EMPAUA.

Connection

Being based across 6 offices in Europe, there’s only so much space to connect with someone over Google Meet. As a member of the People Circle I’m in touch with most of the team on a regular basis. Temporarily relocating allowed me to get to know my peers on a much better level than I could do on Slack. Being placed in a new office in a new country I’ve been able to meet and speak with a load of new people, being a people-person I’ve enjoyed hearing people stories. You get a new perspective on life, hearing why they do things and how they do them has been great to learn from. 

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How and Why does EMPAUA offer the Erasmus program?

EMPAUA is a firm believer in creating a flexible working environment for its team members. Giving the the employee the say in how, where or when they work can improve work-life balance, as well as health and wellbeing.

“The benefits of flexible working are well established, from increased employee engagement to better performance” – Natalie Pancheri, HR Policy Adviser at London School of Economics (LSE) 

EMPAUA supported the move logistically. I stayed with colleagues for a few days at the start and end of my trip and they also supported in sourcing a longer term apartment for the larger part of my stay. On arrival, I was handed a travel card which was valid across the whole city and introduced to all of the people I hadn’t yet met. I felt immediately welcomed. During the first week everyone in the office made a point of coming over to me to have a chat which was incredibly warming.

A number of my colleagues had already taken part in the Erasmus program and all the feedback was incredibly positive. The idea of travelling to a new place and being able to discover and explore a new city is one that not too many people could turn down. People seemed energised after returning and some had even implemented new ways of working after seeing how some of their international colleagues were doing things. The only downside was that people couldn’t spend longer abroad.

I can honestly say that I feel grateful to work at EMPAUA. I can’t say that I’ve come across many other businesses who truly hold the well-being and happiness of their employees above anything else. Of course, our customers and relationships with Salesforce and 3rd party vendors are hugely important, but employees come first here.

Interested in joining the team? We are hiring!

Just want to learn more about the company? Drop me a line.

 

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