Work-life balance while growing Glovo Internationally

By Rodrigo Alier, General Manager EEMEA at Glovo April 12, 2021 · 4 min read

It’s funny to think that I’m writing this post just 3 years later starting my journey in Glovo. Back in 2018, after working in Investment Banking in London and in Corporate Strategy in the Netherlands (based there, but traveling 90% of the time), I was looking for a career change, somewhere where I could really see the impact of the work I was doing and feel that I could contribute to something meaningful. So is this that, when the Glovo opportunity came in, I fell in love with the project (the interviews and people I met during the process were game-changing for me) and I joined the Expansion Team as one of the first Launchers. One week after my onboarding, I was taking a one-way flight to Cairo to lead the launch of Glovo there and after those intense first 5 months (felt like years!) I was given the opportunity to start leading EEMEA (which back then was Egypt, Romania, Turkey & Morocco).

I like to think that I have one of the coolest jobs in Glovo. Why? I have the chance of working hand to hand every day with very diverse and talented local teams, thinking and overcoming the different challenges we face, which tend to differ from country to country but at the same time, there are many learnings to be shared between them.

All of this, while seeing the impact I was referring to every day, despite the fact that we are just “starting” in all these countries (Romania, being the oldest in EEMEA turning 3 years in May it’s already a Top3 country globally). For this, I like to spend +50% of my time on the ground (and I encourage the regional team to do the same), close to the local Teams understanding the challenges that we can’t always spot from HQ, in order to find solutions that allow us to keep moving and evolving. Also, the fact of working on a daily basis with +12 nationalities is a gift and is something that I truly enjoy, as it gives you an opportunity to learn and understand how to work more efficiently with each other better.

COVID and how it changed everything: how it impacted your work, in your daily life, in your work-life balance… How are you dealing with your mental moments of ups and downs, and what he is doing to take care of himself… How you care about your wellbeing

Well, yes, COVID changed everything, professionally and personally, from traveling +180 days in 2019 to slightly above 50 days in 2020. This was a brutal change that impacted my “routine”: from taking a plane every 10 days to just leaving the block to do some groceries for 2 consecutive months.

As with every radical change, I tried to capitalize on all the good things that were coming with it (spending quality time with my wife with whom I got married in 2019, pacing myself from constant traveling, keeping a healthier diet and constant sleep) so we could build that resiliency to deal with what was coming (from adapting our lifestyle to changing radically the way we operate on the ground understanding clearly that change was the new normal). Taking a step back and reflecting helped me a lot in dealing with all these changes and ups and downs. Business-wise, staying positive and focused were key elements to overcome the challenges that were happening every day. All in all, I’m proud of how the Teams embraced the challenge, stayed positive, and focused along the way, being today in a position where we weren’t envisioning ourselves yet.

Sharing below some learnings/tips that I find useful:

  • Routine is key: putting the right habits in place (from working hacks to exercising or finding those off daily moments) enhances performance and pushes you to find balance in your day-to-day. When we all moved to work from home in March 2020 with all the uncertainty that was coming with it, I found this routine critical to keep high levels of energy throughout this journey
  • Own your agenda and find time to reflect: with COVID kicking in, our agendas got even busier and we were on constant firefighting mode, which was a business need, but still, when we are in a company where we are constantly making decisions so we can keep moving, it’s important to find those spaces to reflect and think. Otherwise, we end up making bad decisions. Find that “me/solo time”, you don’t have to be back to back every day. Also, we need to get rid of the FOMO feeling, and only attend/organize meetings that are useful and meaningful. Every Friday I audit my next week’s calendar and remove whatever is not necessary while pushing my teams to have meaningful meetings (or removing them if there’s nothing to be discussed).
  • Put your energy on the things you control: during 2020, there were so many uncertain things happening around us that was easy to get distracted and to drain our energy on things we couldn’t control. In these situations, I find it really useful, and I keep insisting on this to my teams, to worry about the things you can control and, if applicable, influence the ones you can’t or trust that someone else is taking care of them.
  • Learn how to disconnect: this is very personal, and we know that when working in Glovo it is hard to disconnect fully, but still is key to finding that time to put your mind OFF. Sometimes you will have to force yourself, and for me, it helps to do all those activities that require full attention, such as cooking a challenging recipe or reading books & articles about different topics (from business to essays), while supporting all this with a sports routine to help my brain breath!