Let’s take a wander back to the year 2000. NSYNC was the biggest boy band in the world, Russel Crowe was hitting our screens in the movie Gladiator, and the Nokia 3310 was the coolest cellphone you could have.
For Amelia ‘Millie’ Elliston, who was just starting her career around this time, the new millennium was also notable for the old ways of big city, office-based corporate careers. Fortunately for Millie and her communications career, the possibilities of remote employment have evolved as much as the possibilities for handheld devices.
Now Nufarm’s Communications Manager for Australia, Millie has benefitted from the new era of flexibility and balance embraced by the company.
Making a remote lifestyle work
“I have always been driven and wanted to pursue my career in media and communications”, she tells us.
“However, I was torn for many years because when I started my career, I was always told I would need to move to the city to ‘climb the corporate ladder’. Higher level roles weren’t located in the country.
“In fact,” she adds, “I was still being told this in 2020!”
For Millie, this mindset wasn’t just narrow-minded, it was an active hindrance to her desire to balance a happy healthy family life with a solid corporate career.
A self-confessed farm girl, Millie wasn’t about to sacrifice her cherished lifestyle for inflexible employers.
“For me, the move to the city just wasn’t an option. I grew up on a farm and I am passionate about agriculture. I was fortunate to get several good jobs based rurally over that time.”
But, she says, the time came when she really felt she needed to step up as her skills and career aspirations grew.
“My partner and I had bought our own property where we run sheep and that wasn’t something I, my partner, or our children were willing to give up on.
“I wanted a role that allowed me to ‘come as you are’ and that would accept me wherever I was based.”
This is where Nufarm stepped in and provided just the kind of culture she was looking for.
“I saw the role at Nufarm and in my first interview was very open about my desire to work remotely but to travel as needed to have hands-on involvement.
“Never once did the company see that as an obstacle.”
As Nufarm themselves put it, they see their potential and existing staff in a way that allows them to ‘unearth the possibilities that each brings with them.
A company with aligning values
Millie believes that Nufarm’s willingness to adapt to the needs of staff committed to remote or rural lifestyles is anchored in the company’s own business environment.
“Nufarm works in the agricultural sector, so the company understands, appreciates, and embraces my passion for the industry,” she said.
“From my first interview I was told they wanted the right person for the role, not the person who is geographically closest – that was really refreshing.”
This clear-eyed attitude at Nufarm translates to ensuring a favorable space for each employee to find the kind of balance and flexibility that many professionals, even now, are still seeking.
“There is a real understanding and value of work-life balance at Nufarm, and there is no exclusion for remote workers.
“I am invited to events and training as much as anyone, and I’m made to feel as much part of the team as any other employee at Nufarm.”
This has been wonderful on both a professional and personal front, says Millie.
“I can be a present parent and a valued employee at the same time and live in a place that makes my entire family happy.”
A day in the life of a flexible working
So, how does Millie’s flexible and sustainable career-life balance look? Pretty idyllic it would seem.
“I live in North-East Victoria with my partner and our combined four kids on our small sheep property.
“When I’m not working, I can usually be found working sheep, with our kelpies, cooking, playing netball or painting.
“Oh, and fishing, I can catch Murray cod in the river ten minutes away! Can’t forget that!” she laughs.
“The rural landscapes of our district are stunning, and I love the patchwork of paddocks and the way they meet the bordering bush and scrub.
“I prefer to spend most of my time at home and with my family so working remotely really suits my personality type and is when I am most efficient.”
This serene rural experience is neatly interwoven with Millie’s busy, thriving corporate communications career. And, she says, it all knits together like a good ol’ country quilt.
“I genuinely don’t feel like I am just an employee. I am part of Nufarm and Nufarm is just as invested in my progression and growth as I am. It was evident as soon as I started when I was already being included in training and leadership programs.”
A balanced work-life future
Nufarm’s approach, says Millie, is dedicated to giving each employee a sense they can be who they are, live the lifestyle they choose, and be supported on their career path at the company.
“I believe my time at Nufarm will continue to grow organically as our business evolves into new areas and finds opportunities for growth.”
She also feels she doesn’t have to be someone else to fit into Nufarm.
“I feel like myself here. I don’t feel I need to apologize for being a parent, or for living rurally. Those are just parts of who I am and Nufarm sees the positives in them.”
“The company respects the value that diversity of thought brings to the business, and it is so refreshing to work in this environment. As I was told in my first interview at Nufarm, it’s all about cultivating the development of our employees, about ‘unearthing the possibilities’ in everyone, no matter where they are.”