Bringing Twill to Australia

This week at Twill, we announced our launch into a host of new countries, from Germany and the UAE; to Vietnam and New Zealand. It represents our continued ambition to grow and our mission to remove the consuming logistical barriers to international trade for our customers. One of our latest additions is Australia, where I’m based.

I joined Twill in September because I saw what a great opportunity it provided. I am a millennial and we have grown up with technology all around us, constantly evolving and expanding. Getting the chance to join a team that is looking to bring that same technological, digital revolution to the shipping world was too enticing to turn down.

What also caught my attention about Twill was the ‘agile approach’ which allows us to be open to change and reflect the market. This is important not just for our internal work, but also for our customers; we can take on their feedback and take it forward into real change for our platform or our service. It means Twill is always evolving!

Making a difference in the Australian market

In our team here in Australia we have experience as well as ambition. One of my colleagues Jose, for example, started his career in the Philippines in both Sales and Operations and has a number of years’ experience in the logistics sector – and has been working in the Australian market for two and half years.

Most of the SMEs in Australia, like the rest of the world, are not actually experts in the logistics field – for the main reason that logistics is not their business. At Twill we look to bridge this gap, making shipping and logistics as simple as possible – and we can show our customers through the steps we take so they feel informed and understand each process.

I believe that Twill is really coming to the forefront of freight forwarding, and that it can have a positive impact on the Australian market for our customers. Twill allows the customer to see what is needed and where their shipment is heading – as well as allowing for customisations for their individual needs.

Overcoming barriers

Since Australia is an island, there are tighter controls in place than in some other countries. We have two government departments – Customs and Quarantine – in which rules can differ. Customs focuses on revenue collection (duty/tax etc.) whereas Quarantine focuses on the environment, protecting native flora and fauna and biosecurity.

The tighter controls are particularly true in the case of documentation, where Australia has some documentation and regulations that aren’t present elsewhere in the world. A packing declaration is one example of this – not having it can mean involuntary inspections of your cargo and it possibly being denied entry to the country entirely.

Twill is able to tackle these complexities comfortably through our documentation processes; as the supplier is able to upload their documents directly to the platform for all necessary parties to view and sign-off. This prevents the kinds of delays mentioned above, and with this feature brokers can then decide what documentation is needed when each invoice is uploaded.

Since the Twill platform is always getting better, the kinds of specific documentation needed for certain countries could be added to the mandatory required documents whenever the country in question is the destination.

At Twill we’re always growing and learning and it’s exciting to see the company continue to expand into new regions like ours, here in Australia and New Zealand, as we will also be able to serve our neighbours from our office in Melbourne.

How Twill embraced agile

Since our launch in 2017, the team at Twill have embraced an agile methodology – which is a process of working that encourages collaboration, adaptation, and efficiency. It is formed around key roles and events within teams and the company as a whole. These include daily Huddles, Sprints, Scrum Masters and more. If you’re not familiar, take a look at this handy guide on the terminology.

This year we wanted to see how we could improve our agile mindset, so we introduced Minke de Haan, an Agile Coach, to the team. In this week’s blog we spoke to her about how she’s been working with Twill, her experiences and why an agile culture could be beneficial for other businesses:

What have you been working on with the team at Twill in your time here?

“I began my work at Twill with a vision workshop – this was to help me understand what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go with Twill and why. In my opinion, having this understanding of the wider vision and strategy is crucial to ensuring everyone is aligned from the beginning.

“After this, I spent a few weeks observing and understanding the Product team and Tech team – where I spent my time discovering ways they could improve their agile processes. In this time I started to see how they could work better together and better utilise agile processes to get over obstacles and achieve their goals.

“I believe that it’s important not to just optimise little things here and there – but to really prepare, understand and then implement. So all of this preparation culminated in two workshops that laid out what agile could do for these teams alongside the vision of leadership over the next 6, 9, 12 months. Then it was about finding out what the teams needed from each other if they were to further implement an agile methodology – and what did they need from agile.”

Why is an agile culture important to a company like Twill?

“For a start-up like Twill you need to deliver fast, while maintaining great quality, and as a start-up, you feel a desire to prove yourself to the world and prove that you’re here to stay. You want to get to a point where you not only have a strong platform, as Twill does, but you are an established company that delivers new products or features at the right time and in the right way.

“On top of this, Twill thrives on delivering added value for their customers, that’s the end goal for them and many companies. You might have a great idea, with great market research, but if you as a company aren’t able to deliver it to the market and get real feedback from customers – then it stays an idea.

You say you’ve been working with the leadership team at Twill – how important is leadership to an agile company?

“Leadership is very important. When you look at a traditional company, the leadership tends to demand results and then micro-manage. In an agile company, leadership understands that they can coach people and support them by helping move barriers or obstacles that might be stopping growth or progress.

“What’s good about the leadership team at Twill is that they are passionate and ambitious, which is rare in many companies. For example, in a roadmap session where in most companies you will get 15 – 20 ideas out of a workshop, at Twill you get 150 – 170! So then it becomes a case of structuring this ambition. We developed a roadmap for the next 12 months – with a focus on the first three months and then the next 6 months. The later 9 – 12 month periods were more vague because there a lot of potential things that can change in that time – so you want to be able to adapt to those changes.

“At Twill the leadership team is also working in two-week sprints. So when every sprint finishes they look back and review – then plan ahead for the next sprint. This allows the leadership team to, alongside their normal job roles, achieve some goals that are really important for Twill++ (Agile as the heartbeat of the organisation).

What are the tangible benefits of an agile culture?

“I think there are two strong tangible benefits of an agile culture. Firstly, it allows everyone to do what they do best. When everyone is aligned, working together and helping each other achieve their goals and remove obstacles, nobody is having to work out problems on their own – which can not only be difficult but also time-consuming.

“Secondly, I’d say a great benefit is transparency. A strong roadmap shows where we are and when we need to deliver things. This means, for example, that we now have more conversations with stakeholders and teams about what and how we need to deliver value to our customers.”

Finally, what would be your reflections on working with Twill so far – and what advice would you give to other companies thinking of embracing agile?
“From the moment I arrived at Twill it’s been a great journey – the teams here are really willing to change, learn and grow. For me that made the transitions we needed to make, so much easier – because everyone was open to change, even when there were obstacles.

“For me, it is important with embracing Agile that we are all in this together or we don’t do it at all. I really feel and see at Twill that we are all in this together – there is no hierarchy.

“To other companies looking at going agile, I’d reiterate some of the things I’ve said here – prepare, understand and then implement. There’s no one-day, one-job fix – it is a process and everyone has to be involved and aligned in that process for it to really work and be sustainable.”

Business Development & Twill: A Thriving Partnership

Start-ups (like Twill) face many challenges as they establish themselves in the world. One of the biggest is having to build a reputation from the ground-up, as well as growing and expanding as you go. There are a lot of challenges this can present, especially in terms of maintaining quality and sustainability for customers.

This makes the role of business development at Twill really important. In this week’s blog, Paul Iles, Business Development Manager at Twill, spoke about the relationship between Business Development and our digital platform:

“My job is very much customer-facing. It’s my job to promote our platform and the service we provide – this involves researching and developing new business, as well as cultivating existing business. It’s important, as a member of the business development team, that I’m aware of the market we work in and know how we can be more competitive each day, month and year.

“An innovative digital platform like Twill presents its challenges – it is disruptive after all! When I first started working at Twill I felt like I knew the structure of a sales call/meeting inside and out – I have been working in the freight forwarding and logistics industry for 30 years. But Twill really pushed me onto a new level – there was now a platform to demonstrate to clients and get immediate feedback on; it has changed the whole dynamic of sales meetings for the better.

“One of the ways it’s done this is that when I’m in a sales meeting and talking with a potential customer, I can actually take a step back and let the platform do the talking through a demonstration. With the spotlight off me, I can gauge how the customer is reacting to Twill and that lets me know how the meeting is going. It can also help in gaining information more naturally from the customer – rather than feeling like I’m conducting an interview.

“Overall it has generally breathed new life into sales meetings and existing relationships with customers that may have been approached via our relationship with Damco. We build relationships with customers in order to get business; but when you meet with the same people each time it can become a stalemate and everyone gets comfortable. Twill has disrupted that and in that way it is moving us ahead of the competition from a business development perspective – as well as its digital innovation.

“I think there is a strong relationship between what Twill has brought to our business development and what our business development is bringing to Twill. There will always be a need for some human element in our industry and in the business development team we can help make the transition to a digital future smooth for our customers. On the other side, Twill is breaking new ground – it has made freight forwarding exciting again.

“I’ve been involved in freight forwarding for many years, in almost every aspect of the industry, and I can see that Twill is legitimising freight forwarding and making it more sophisticated. People are realising now that it is not just a non-essential part of their business – but a key fixture. Twill has been crucial in that realisation and I’m proud to be a part of the team!”

The Life of Twill’s Head of People

At Twill we want to give our customers and the general public a glimpse into how our company runs on a day to day basis – as well as the people who make it tick. Our ‘Day in the Life’ blog series continues this week as we spoke to Ramona Sandu, Head of People at Twill, on what her job entails, what it means for our customers and what an average day looks like for her:

What is involved in your role as Head of People at Twill?
“As Head of People, my role involves building the internal structure of Twill – defining who and what makes a Twiller. That covers a lot of things, from recruitment to strategy.

“My role within Twill is aligned with my purpose – I aim to lead from the heart to help build the team and company I want to work for. For this reason, employee culture is important to me – building a culture that functions on open and honest relationships is one of my priorities for ensuring the success of Twill’s people.

“At Twill we believe in ‘disrupting logistics’, and my role takes this in a different direction by also disrupting ourselves; asking how we can get better and improve as a company. When we do a great thing – whether it’s for a customer or introducing a new product – that’s brilliant and we should celebrate it. So we’re walking the fine line of “this is how we do things around here (i.e. our culture) and “how could we do that even better next time?”

So what does an average work day look like for you?
“Well, there’s rarely an average day at Twill! But typically a big chunk of my day is dedicated to getting the right Twillers into the company. This can be on a strategic level or literally interviewing people for roles within the business. The role employees play in Twill is vital, so it is essential that I choose the right fit to fulfil Twill’s visions and values.

“I am also responsible for advising Twill’s leadership team on the people strategy and as a member of the Leadership team, I am actively involved in the overall company strategy. Some of my peers call me a “special HR”, namely a very business minded one. I take that as a compliment as that’s the only way to effect strategy as a Head of People.

“Beyond my work in this advisory role and recruiting staff, I also support Twill’s roll-out to new countries. I’ll be involved with this from an early stage, mainly liaising with the human resources in either a specific area or country so that Twill is able to recruit the right people for the job and challenges that might face that specific region.”

How would you describe your role from a customer perspective?
“I certainly feel as though my role as Head of People delivers value to our customers. Our focus on delivering simplicity and results for our customers is a result of the careful selection of people me and my team recruit, and the culture within Twill that we help to foster. It is always a pleasure to hear about Twill delivering the right customer experience, as it evidences the fact that we have the right people working in Twill and are building the right culture.”

What’s your favourite thing about working at Twill?
“I am lucky to get to live my purpose: build the company I want to work for and lead colleagues around me from the heart. I am grateful and humbled to have this opportunity at work because I know it can be rare!”

The Life of an Infrastructure Developer

At Twill we want to give our customers and the general public a glimpse into how our company runs on a day to day basis – as well as the people who make it tick. Our ‘Day in the Life’ blog series continues this week as we spoke to Jeroen Zeegers, an Infrastructure Developer in the Twill Tech team, on what his job entails and what an average day looks like for him:

What does your job as an Infrastructure Developer entail?

“As an Infrastructure Developer at Twill I, along with my colleagues, am in charge of building and maintaining the infrastructure that the Twill platform runs on – that could mean managing services from third parties or ensuring we have enough resource to maintain a reliable and smooth service.

“It also means the security of our platform. Our customers trust us with information regarding the supply chain of their products, to protect this we make sure that we work according to industry best practices regarding security. This is an important part of my day-to-day working.”

Could you describe what your average day looks like?

“Well, as many people at Twill will testify, no day is quite the same – there are always exciting developments and new challenges to face. However, usually I will come into the office and the first thing I do is review the Twill platform’s performance overnight. This is crucial because I am based in the Netherlands – which means when I’m asleep, some of our biggest customer bases in Asia are just opening for business.

“If there have been any errors or issues then I will look to fix these. There have been times when I’ve had to solve an issue in the night! But those are rare now because our platform continues to get better and stronger with each development.

“Outside of these things I’m usually looking into ways to make Twill even more reliable for customers all around the world. One way that I check this is by seeing how fast our loading times are, and I check this in 30 different locations – from the U.S. to Vietnam and Netherlands to China – because, while everyone is accessing the same platform, the speed at which they can access it might differ from country to country.”

Are you involved heavily in new Twill features?

“Yes, absolutely, I will often be there from the start of a new feature being created – because our team is part of designing the functionality of that feature. I need to ensure that we have efficient resource to sustain a new feature without losing loading times, for example.

“It can be a bit of a balancing act – because in an ideal world you can have a platform that has a lot of features and is also super-fast and super-secure. But the reality is that each of these things impacts the others, so you have to tweak and work each day to get the balance right.”

What’s your favourite thing about working at Twill?

“More than anything I am really proud of the work we’re doing at Twill. We have grown to a point where almost anywhere in the world you have a Twill location near you – which means you have people who understand the specific needs and demands of your country and your market.

“As well as this, we’re working with some of the most recent innovations in cloud technology. As the shipping industry continues to modernise, it really feels like we’re on the forefront of that and that’s really exciting!”

Behind the scenes: Designing ‘the Twill experience’

How is service design different from product design?
Twill is in the business of freight-forwarding, which is, in essence, a service. Although we spend much of our energy on our digital platform, at the same time we are aware that this is only part of the experience we provide.

We want to offer our customers ‘the Twill experience’, which is influenced by many touchpoints — both digital and analogue.

A customer might come across our website, be in touch with our sales team, use the platform, receive emails and get support from our customer care team. Service design is in its core holistic and considers the entire customer journey, from beginning to end.

Product design typically solves problems that are confined to an individual product. Although designers at Twill are in fact part of the ‘product team’, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can serve every part of the journey. We want to empower our customer care team to reach out to customers proactively — and they need a platform for that. Our pricing managers need to be able to handle the complexity of quotation, in order for customers to see quotes instantly. The right emails need to go out to our customers at the right times. And all of these systems need to tie together.

This, essentially, is service design.

‘The Twill experience’ is a daily topic of discussion around the office. We know that we still need to put in a lot of hard work to reach our ideal customer journey— but the service design approach is helping us to focus our efforts in the right places.

Where does ‘design thinking’ come into place?
The term ‘design thinking’ was coined a few years ago and helped get rid of a persistent idea: that design is about color or decoration. Instead, adding the word thinking to the word design has put attention on the process designers use to get to a more intentional outcome. That’s when other business areas began seeing the value of design and applying it in their jobs, too.

At Twill, we like to learn from each other across our different disciplines. It is understood that design thinking is a way of approaching problems. It is not design itself, no more than agile is engineering (as a matter of fact — our leadership team works agile, too).

And most teams have already adopted some form of design thinking into their daily work. A good example of this is our operations team. They have set up a structured process to come up with ideas to improve their way of working (most of the time informed by user feedback).

Every week members of the customer care team dial in, discuss their pain points and come up with solutions together. They will then run experiments in one or two offices and if successful, the solution is then implemented on a larger scale. This is design thinking in a nutshell – and it will be revolutionary in the logistics industry.

How would you define your contribution to Twill?
I recently read an article that said that ‘companies used to compete on business models, then technology, and now design’. This especially true in tech — and with the logistics industry moving into the digital sphere, it will inevitably be true for Twill.

Our goal is to create a platform that can be used by anyone who needs their cargo shipped, with or without prior knowledge of logistics. This is really a design question: how can we direct users’ attention to the right places and make sure they get the right information at the right time?

It also needs to be comprehensive for users from different age groups and self-explanatory rather than using complicated, technical jargon. Everything needs to be intentional and I think that’s where good design can really make the difference.

What makes the Twill design team different from others?
We are currently still a pretty small team, each with their unique skills and capabilities. The one most important thing that sets us up for success is collaboration: knowing each other’s strengths, continually asking for critique, openness, and trust. This is key to delivering quality and at the same time helps us to grow as designers. Plus, it makes Twill a really fun place to work!

The Life of a Twill Marketer

At Twill we believe in giving customers a look behind the curtains of what makes a start-up tick – in past blogs we’ve looked at a day in the life of our customer care team and our sales representatives. Now it’s time to talk to Twill’s marketing team, specifically Kasia Kuchnowska, our Marketing Coordinator, about her role at Twill:

What does a normal day look like for you?
“Normally, I come to the office and scan my emails to see what will be on my to-do list for the day. Then I join our ‘huddle’ – this is like a team meeting where we update each other on our priorities and I outline all the marketing activities happening on a daily basis. After this I check on all the social media activities, social channels, number of updates, followers, publications etc. From there I jump to localised marketing and catch up with a few countries about events, press releases, email marketing and other campaigns around new launches or expansions.

“Then after a delicious lunch at Twill, I will jump to different meetings with designers and the product or growth teams on everything from when we plan to go to a new country, to the wider growth of the company. At the end of the day, we will work on optimisation of certain things within our marketing activities based on the data that we gather. This could be tweaking our website to showcase Twill more from a customer perspective, and we also have a calendar of blog content (like this one!) which we feed all of this work into. There’s a lot of coffee and tea in between all of this of course!”

What is your favorite part of the day?
“Aside of having our office dog Roxy around and playing with her, it’s when I get to talk to new countries as we continue to expand. On those calls and in those meetings I see the spark of opportunities when we talk about Twill and the opportunities that the new offices have to transform their country in terms of freight forwarding and transforming logistics.”

How is your day different from other Twillers?
“I think in a lot of ways my day is very similar to other Twillers – because we are all ultimately working to make the experience of our customers better; we just have different ways of doing it. In my case, our marketing work is often the first thing our customers see of Twill. We present the external face of the company – the brand language and communications.”

Who do you interact with most within Twill on a daily basis?
“I collaborate a lot with our product team, including the designers, as we want to provide an end-to-end journey for our customers – from the moment they see our campaigns until they see the invoice in our platform. Having synergy with the various tech Twillers really helps me figure out the best solution in updating and aspect of our platform or process. I work closely with our Customer Care team too because they talk to our customers every day and can provide really valuable input into our marketing. Of course working in the role that I do, I will usually talk to people from across the business at some point.”

How is Twill different from other places that you have worked at?
“Twill is really great at utilising the data we have available to help understand customer behavior and then use it to improve our platform. This process is continuous whereas in other places this might be a ‘once a month’ activity.

“I also believe that Troels, our CEO, brings very high standards. He always questions you every week: what is happening, what results have we gotten, which pushes us to innovate a lot. The openness for innovation is always there, you can come up with the craziest ideas and there will be two follow up questions to check if your logic works, and if it does work you have an opportunity in front of you – and it’s safe to say that you very rarely hear no as an answer.”

How do you interact with customers in your role?
“I am lucky enough to be able to meet our customers regularly through customer interviews that we often carry out in order to get feedback and create new content. I also sit in and observe sales meetings sometimes. It’s always a good way to see the reactions of customers, their stories and how our Twill platform has really impacted and improved their way of working.”

What do you think makes a Twiller?
“I think Twillers have a willingness to innovate and push the boundaries. Life is about taking opportunities when they arise and making something out of them – Twill is a place where opportunities are presented every day. The most important thing is that Twillers think simple and search for the simplest, most straight-forward solutions to any problem. Our motto, after all, is ‘shipping made simple’.”

‘Paws for thought’ – Introducing Roxy, Twill’s Chief Entertainer!

Meet Roxy, possibly the friendliest member of the Twill team…a four-year-old American Staffordshire:


Very much one of us Twillers, here’s her perspective on what it’s like to work at Twill!

So my friends at Twill asked me to get my thinking cap on for once and give you some behind the scenes info on the Twillers.

I generally come into the office four days a week with my owner, Barbara – she’s the Head of Operations (I’m very proud!). Initially, I wasn’t sure when she mentioned coming into work with her at Twill.

“It’s all about logistics,” she said. For a dog like me, isn’t that really complicated?

“You’ll spend lots of time with other humans,” she said. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but humans at work – they’re just all stressed out and ‘I don’t have time for that’; aren’t they? What chance do I have with corporate folk? They’ll all be stiff suits, anagrams and ‘meetings about meetings’ – no thank you!

Well, on my first day in the office I realized just how wrong I was. The Twillers weren’t any of those things. Not a stiff suit, bored face or frown in sight!

These people laugh at my tricks. They don’t take themselves too seriously or make things complicated; and they can’t pass me without giving me a stroke.

If I’m not with my coworkers, then I can be found lounging in my bed, playing with toys or with a fellow Twiller – everyone has their strengths, right? I get stopped around the office for a hug and people just can’t pass me by without pulling a funny face or cracking out a big smile!

I chill in the meeting rooms on the puff chairs (so comfy) to keep the mood light. If somebody ever starts to look puzzled or stressed out then I’ve got the distraction technique down. There was one meeting where I caught up on some much-needed sleep, and when I started to snore really loudly everybody cracked up. That was a win-win situation where the humans remembered to not be so serious – success!

I’ve now been here for over a year and I’ve done such a good job that I’ve been given a very important role at Twill. I’m Roxy – Chief Entertainer. I’m four years old, so I have A LOT of energy, and I’m not your typical colleague…

The humans say I’m an extrovert. All I know is I love playing and being around people – and I love it when the whole Twill team is together!

Barbara also tells me that the Twillers are much calmer and happier when I’m around. Regardless if you’re a ‘dog person’ or not, I get on with the people in my office in different ways. I think I remind them that it’s good to take a break to laugh with each other, catch up and remember to have fun. It’s certainly a super fun place to spend my days!

One thing that is serious at Twill though is simplicity. This logistics business that Barbara talks about might be complicated for a dog like me to understand, but hey, we’re all working to make shipping simple, right?

How Twill made shipping simple for Nova Leathers

The shipping industry is complex and at any one time there are hundreds of carriers traversing the seas and in ports, susceptible to a multitude of factors that might cause delays; whether that’s weather or last-minute cargo changes or port issues.

These delays can be particularly difficult for those companies who deal with independent retailers. This was the case earlier this year when UK company, Nova Leathers, experienced delays with their cargo.

Dealing with delays

Rob Pearn at Nova Leathers spoke about issues they faced: “We often deal with independent retailers, as well as chains and department stores, and for them their cargo is crucial and a delay can be costly. It is of course out of many people’s control – especially if its weather related – but there are costs for us too as distributors, as we face late charges which can be a percentage of the order we were delivering or up to £500. Around peak seasons like Christmas and New Year this is costly to businesses.”

Natasha Varley, Senior Customer Care Ninja at Twill, spoke about how Twill handles delayed cargo: “At Twill we understand how difficult delays can be to deal with and plan for. As a protocol we check the ETAs of our customers’ cargo on a daily basis, ensuring that if we find there is going to be a delay we work through our processes to ensure the customer is notified. This is done within two hours and often even quicker. If a delay is urgent we will pick up the phone and give the customer a call.

“Once we’ve worked to notify the customer we’ll start looking at how we can ensure that their cargo still reaches them on the agreed delivery date. This could mean getting the cargo on an earlier route, or on a different route entirely – which may go to a different port. If this is the case, we will then arrange for the cargo to be transported to the customer. We do our upmost to keep additional costs to a minimum during these changes.” concluded Natasha.

Five clicks and I’m done!

Rob Pearn spoke about Nova Leathers’ experience since working with Twill: “Working with Twill has been really beneficial for us. Where I used to have to call somebody to make a booking, I can now do it all myself – and my supplier is notified at the same time.

“All in all booking with Twill can save me up to a week – because if I get a request for a delivery on a Friday evening, I can simply log into the platform and book it there and then. It’s five clicks of a button and I’m done – there’s no need to wait until Monday.

“Along with the ease of using the platform, I’ve been checking it outside of just booking – as the updates in real time have kept me in the loop and allowed me to make sure everything is on schedule. I can see that new features are being added and the platform is changing and growing, which is great for me and my business.” concluded Rob Pearn.

Who are Nova Leathers?

Based in the United Kingdom, Nova Leathers supply quality leather handbags, and different leather goods in the retail industry.

Twill Tips: Part 2 – Overcoming workload challenges

At Twill we understand that our industry is fast-moving and on any given day we are working with a number of customers to move their cargo all around the world. This means we have to manage our workload and time smartly.

In the first of our two-part blog series we asked a group of our Twillers, from various parts of the business around the world, for their experiences, top tips, methods and general advice in managing their workload and time.

This week we asked them about the biggest challenges for their time management and how they overcome them:

Prepare for uncontrollable forces

Barbara Peric, Head of Operations: “My team is based across the world which means, in my case, that I only have a short amount of time with my team in Asia or America each day. Giving them the same time as my colleagues in Europe can be difficult. Forces like these are out of my control but there are little things I can do – we have a team messaging app called Slack that allows me to set up notifications from certain people or on certain topics. This means if something comes through from our other offices outside of work then I’ll only be notified if it’s urgent – so I can be on top of things; but not picking up emails I don’t need to.”

Guadalupe Fernandez, Customer Care: “I’d agree completely that there are things we can’t control. I find it helps to ensure that, when I’m emailing those colleagues in other countries, I’m being robust in including all the information they might need. Even though I might be tempted to quickly fire off an email, in the long-run this will save us both from sending emails back and forth.”

Trust your team

Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: “From a design perspective, working at Twill is distinctly fast paced. It’s hard to describe the speed at which we develop our product unless you experience it for yourself! This presents challenges in terms of making sure no one is overwhelmed. There comes a point when there just aren’t enough hours in a day! So we need to enable others to make design choices independently. As we grow, we constantly try to find ways to make our work more accessible, so that everyone is aligned and can make use of different components, styles, etc.

“It’s important to give your team the tools to make decisions independently and then trust them to do that – it means products and projects can progress if someone is really busy, or is off work.”

Take your time and know your limits

Raju Kariya, Pricing Manager: “In the midst of life and work things can sometimes get lost in translation – sometimes literally! – or they can be unclear. This means you might assume things or rush tasks. I can speak from experience that it’s important to take your time when dealing with each task you have and ensure that if you’re unclear on anything then don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Jesper Frandsen, Implementation Specialist: “I would add to that by saying that when you ask those questions, be sure to know what your limits are in your role, or with your knowledge of a task. We all want to move our work forward and support our colleagues, but it’s important to know when you need to say no, or when to ask for help as Raju suggests. It’s about quality as well as quantity.”

Remember to recharge

Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: “One of the lessons I have learnt is knowing what not to spend my time on, and reminding myself to unwind. I try to be mindful about how I spend my time when I’m not working, making sure I do something that helps to recharge. There used to be a time where my mind was never switched off; now I’m learning that having that time to relax is essential in order to be fully focused throughout the working day.”