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Nespresso’s U.K. CEO doesn’t believe work-life balance is possible at the top



Life has gotten busy for Anna Lundstrom since her promotion to lead Nespresso’s U.K. and Ireland business last Autumn. She relocated from Switzerland to London, now manages 650 team members, and has formed impressive partnerships, including one with Starbucks.

So how does the coffee company chief manage it all, maintain a strict work-life balance, and switch off after a long day’s work? She doesn’t—and that’s exactly how she likes it.

“I think when you have this kind of responsibility, of course, you have to always be on. But I quite enjoy that,” Lundstrom told Fortune. “And I think you almost have to enjoy that kind of activity to do this job.”

Striving for work-life fluidity

Running a company—or in Lundstrom’s case, the British arm of a coffee conglomerate that manufactures coffee machines, sells some 14bn capsules every year, and has a retail presence in 81 countries—means being accountable for hundreds of workers who have needs around the clock.

It’s why Lundstrom doesn’t think it’s necessarily possible to “switch off” from the top job.

Indeed, she notes you can delegate and surround yourself with the right team to tackle tasks while you’re unavailable, yet she finds joy in being on the pulse of her workforce.

Instead of trying to cut work and life into a rigid 50/50 split, she favors fluidity and allows work to weave its way in and out of her day.

“I think fluid is a great word,” she says while adding that she reaches for her phone as soon as she wakes up and from there on, it’s always at arm’s reach. 

“I think I’d always rather know something than not,” she justifies always being available.

Lundstrom can be reached on various platforms at any given moment, from Teams and email to WhatsApp and LinkedIn. But rather than being overwhelmed by being always on, she sees it as an opportunity to stay on top of trends, her team, and the competition.

“My biggest fear is externally that the brand isn’t relevant. So that’s why I’m always trying to make sure that we’re continuously moving forward,” she says.

“And internally I would hate to miss something, to not be aware of something or to be tone deaf, you know? So that’s why I’m somebody who likes to be active and actively communicate because I feel like that that feeds me with information.”

For her, having that steady stream of real-time knowledge at her fingertips gives her “more energy than it’s draining.”

A day in the life of a CEO

6 am – “I’m definitely a morning person,” Lundstrom says. The first thing she does is reaches for her phone, quickly followed by a cup of coffee (Nespresso’s Aveda capsule, of course). 

7:30 am – Lundstrom typically takes an hour and a half to get ready and dressed for work. She usually skips breakfast and quickly downs a second cup of coffee before heading out the door for the office.

8 am to 6 pm – “I’m definitely an office person,” Lundstrom weighs in on the remote work/office debate. “I like being around people, so most of the time I go to the office,” she adds with the caveat that she’s rarely there for the entirety of the day. “My days are so varied because it can be in the office for a bit and then I’ll have a lunch or an external meeting… or an agency meeting… or a warehouse meeting!”  

7 pm onwards – If Lundstrom isn’t at the office, chances are she’s at the pilates chain, 1Rebel – the classes look more like a night out than a workout, complete with dark interiors, bright lights and big tunes. “I’m obsessed.”

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