Although the weather isn't currently perfect for enjoying the beach Lara loves so much - unless you feel like getting a breath of really fresh air - this Italian young lady is happy with her relocation to The Hague. She works for the British company The Oxford Health Company, and has been flexworking for 3 months at Tribes The Hague Central Station. When we arrive at Tribes after a few minutes walk from the station, we have a cup of coffee in the cosy House Of Tribes. A little later we meet Lara, and ask her about The Oxford Health Company, where she works as General manager.
The Oxford Health Company: Who, What, Where?
The Oxford Health Company produces nutritional supplements in the United Kingdom. Their products are produced in Oxfordshire and spread across the EU, using all major online markets such as E-bay, Amazon and their own Oxford Vitality website. Lara: "We choose to produce in the UK to ensure that our supplements are produced according to the strictest guidelines in the best possible facility. All our products are made in our own factory in the UK. That's a big plus; we can produce everything in-house so we can offer competitive prices. We also offer contract manufacturing services. Our product development team enables us to develop everything the customer wants, from the raw materials to the ready-made packaging. We can even offer the shipping service, as we currently do for one of our most loyal customers". And what kind of products exactly is involved, we wonder. Lara: "Our specialty is tablet making and we offer a wide selection of supplements from minerals and vitamins to herbal extracts to address all aspects of human health. Right now we are trying to launch our new capsule filler that will allow us to produce capsules, a big step for us!
Business Nomad Lara
Lara has been with this company since March 2016, where it all started in The United Kingdom, Oxfordshire. But given her charming accent, we guess she wasn't born in The UK. "That's right! I was born in Italy. There I took a master's degree in Biology. At the University I met my boyfriend, who after his studies went to Oxford to do a Phd. After 1 year, I moved to The UK and there I took a master's degree in Nutrition, after which I applied to The Oxford Health Company. And for just over 2.5 years I've been working for this company with great pleasure". We ask Lara what exactly she does at the supplements company. "I started as a nutritionist but because we are a very small company with 11 people, and everything is changing rapidly within this increasingly successful organisation, I started to do other things besides nutrition such as purchasing, customer service, FSSC 22000 internal audits, HR. That's why I now hold the position of General manager”. Since September this year, Lara works from The Hague. We are curious about the details. "My boyfriend, after his PhD has been offered a job here in the Netherlands. And fortunately it was still possible for me to continue working for The Oxford Health Company. So I'm all here, and my 10 colleagues are all on the other side of the North Sea! But every few months I go to Oxfordshire, for meetings and internal audits.
Certificate for safety
Internal audits - something that makes us curious. We ask Lara about that. "We are certified with FSSC 22000. This means that we must comply with strict rules to guarantee the safety and quality of our products. Every 6 months I check whether we meet the standard. I can do this thanks to my study and thanks to an intensive 5-day course that I followed in London in 2016. We have just successfully obtained ISO 9001 quality certification and are currently working hard to obtain a GMP license so that we can produce medicines. So that will be the next big step. Work in progress!”
The Oxford Health Company & Tribes
Lara has been working for 3 months at Tribes Central Station in The Hague. We ask how she likes it. "I really like the atmosphere here. It is quiet enough for me to concentrate, but there is still movement around me. The staff is very helpful. They know exactly when I feel like a cup of tea, which they even come to bring me! I haven't been here very long and I hope to get to know more and more people through, among others, other flex workers here". We refer Lara to last week's blog, where one of our other members of this location and also flex worker, Prashant, talks about an online platform, with which he wants to help business nomads abroad like Lara to make life abroad easier and meet other people. "But luckily I love The Hague, and my boyfriend and I are so happy with the beach so close! When we arrived here in September, we went straight to the beach. But if I look outside now, I think we won't go there for a while!” Luckily Lara has a great time at Tribes, and the hosts bring her enough cups of tea to keep her warm!