Dave O’Connor spent two years enjoying the ultimate work/life balance, working remotely from places such as Tahiti and Hawaii. Picture: David Swift
Dave O’Connor spent two years enjoying the ultimate work/life balance, working remotely from places such as Tahiti and Hawaii. Picture: David Swift

WORK/LIFE BALANCE: How to travel without quitting your job

WORK/LIFE balance is at the top of many employees' wish lists - but one Aussie has taken it to the extreme.

Research from recruiter Robert Half reveals 47 per cent of workers would accept a lower salary in exchange for flexible working hours.

Another 40 per cent would do the same for the option to work remotely or from home and 37 per cent would for increased holiday allowance.

Dave O'Connor, Australia and New Zealand sales manager for marketing software company HubSpot, spent the past two years living the work/life balance dream.

In his previous role as a sales representative, he was able to work remotely from the Maldives, Tahiti, Hawaii and Bali, fitting in work around time surfing with his partner.

Dave O’Connor spent two years enjoying the ultimate work/life balance, working remotely from places such as Tahiti and Hawaii. Picture: David Swift
Dave O’Connor spent two years enjoying the ultimate work/life balance, working remotely from places such as Tahiti and Hawaii. Picture: David Swift

"At HubSpot, we are much more focused around results than the number of hours we work," he says.

"I was able to construct strategies around how I could have some cool trips and adventures while still working. I would allocate time to make sure I would still hit my quota."

O'Connor says the transition from the office to remote work doesn't happen over night.

"It took me about a year to master the role then about six months to start planting the seeds and starting to go on different trips, then I was basically operating full time remotely for the last 18 months."

He says the first step is to become a master in your role.

"You can't expect your manager to have trust in you if you aren't delivering," he says.

"I was working hard and making sure I was performing well and hitting my numbers and I got to a level where I was one of the top reps on the team so, because I figured out how to operate efficiently, it gave me autonomy."

The next step is to organise a trial.

For O'Connor, this meant combining work with on an overseas holiday, but for others, it might mean a trial of working from the home office.

HubSpot's Dave O'Connor fits in time for fun with partner Eve Rivière while working remotely from Tahiti. Picture: Supplied.
HubSpot's Dave O'Connor fits in time for fun with partner Eve Rivière while working remotely from Tahiti. Picture: Supplied.

"The biggest thing in that trial is to make sure you smash it to build trust so you don't have any questions asked," O'Connor says.

"As you start to map the plan out, make sure you are anticipating any concerns and that you have an answer and a plan around it.

"(If you are handling it) your manager will become more open because they can see what you are doing."

O'Connor says he saw HubSpot as his surfing sponsor of sorts, as the company was funding his lifestyle of travelling around the world catching waves.

He has a HubSpot sticker on his surfboard "in the same way Mick Fanning has Rip Curl on his".

Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris says while salary is a prime motivator for workers, flexibility is increasingly becoming one of the most in-demand workplace benefits.

"In a market characterised by slow wage growth, Australian companies might not be in a position to award pay rises or higher starting salaries," he says.

"In such cases, employees should consider negotiating for benefits other than more pay, such as training and professional development opportunities or more leave."

The latest Randstad Employer Brand Research finds Australians feel the greatest sense of inclusion at work when an employer offers flexible work options (61 per cent report this).

It also finds 27 per cent of workers are motivated to leave a role if there is a lack of flexibility.


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