What is a workation you ask??
Well, we may be making up words here at SV, but how else would you label a coworking getaway in the ultimate vacay destination of Byron Bay? We recently had Tom Eadie from Sydney come and experience a Sustainable Valley ‘workation’ immersion program.
Tom came to us from the beautiful Northern Beaches to take some time out and reflect on his business – Berkelo, an artisan bakery based in Brookvale.
With incredible initial growth since Berkelo opened 14 months ago, Tom felt it was time to take some time out to develop a strategy for the future of his business and his own personal wellbeing.
We were really inspired by Tom’s business savvy and had a real appreciation for his sustainable methods in procuring the best organic ingredients for his baked goods. We sat down with Tom at the end of his visit to hear all about his ‘workation’ experience at SV.SV: Why did you choose to have a workation?
TE: Whilst my whole ethos very much involves organic and ethically sourced foods including fermentation, exercise, caring for others and the world, time to myself whilst still being contactable by my team is a healthy and necessary way to spend a few days. I was looking for something that felt like a vacation, yet still gave me the opportunity to reflect on what had happened so far. I was hoping to create a strategy for the future for my business and for myself. I chose Sustainable Valley’s one-week immersion program because I felt five days access to the coworking space alongside four hours of business strategy and personal coaching would be the perfect taster to the ‘workation’ process.
SV: What was your initial impression when walking into the SV space?
TE: The first thing I saw was the plants at SV, they are everywhere and it feels light and modern but warm and welcoming. There is also an outdoor area where you can either sit on lounges or at a group desk; this was the best spot to enjoy some of those Byron rays whilst I worked. The space also has private call booths and meeting rooms perfect for the coaching, workshops and any scenarios that needed some privacy. From SV headquarters, it’s a walk to the beach and it is also just around the corner from some of the best cafes, food spots, and yoga studios in Byron Bay.
SV: How was your experience in terms of connectivity to the staff and fellow coworkers in our space – were there any standout pros or cons?
TE: It felt like a vacation with purpose. I have come back a better person with a sustainable strategy for my business and myself. The staff at SV are highly skilled and trained, the level of professionalism was incredible. I’m pleasantly surprised by how they created a unique experience that met my needs and allowed for flexibility. The hardest thing was leaving, I really connected with the place and people in Byron and love the holistic approach they have towards entrepreneurship. I would recommend the opportunity to anyone looking to step away from their daily routine, enjoy time in a new environment, and learn some practical strategies to support the desire for that “balanced” lifestyle.
SV: What was a typical day like over the course of your workation?
TE: Early morning yoga followed by breakfast full of local produce, I rode my bike into SV, had a mid-morning business strategy session with Chris the mentor, then a follow up meeting with the graphic designer, community lunch, personal coaching and mindfulness session in the afternoon, and topped it all off with a sunset surf at the pass with a few folks I met in the space. I was pulled into the local community, social events, workshops, and different perspectives from each corner of the globe. I tried the mid-week mindfulness session, which was new for me, and actually, a great way to de-stress. The best thing about coworking in a space like this is the flexibility, and spontaneity – there has definitely been some sneaky surfs, a couple of cheeky meals and yoga … not to mention Friday night music with local beers.
SV: Did you feel a tug between work mode and being in holiday mode, or do you feel you were more efficient than at home?
TE: There is always a tug between work and holiday mode but that’s part of being in business. It comes with great responsibility so when space is created outside of work, it is very much appreciated. Dedicated time away and the chance to focus on myself helped to clarify what’s important. The change in routine and exposure to a new network allowed me to question the “way I’m doing things” in business and my personal life. I’m leaving inspired to make a few lifestyle changes to align more with my values around sustainability. I’ll also take a few pages out of Byron culture’s book and get myself a keep cup, shop local often, and ‘go naked’ – skip plastic wrap.
SV: In terms of interaction with people working in the space – did you feel a collaborative vibe, were there any instances of skill swapping?
TE: It was an opportunity to network with high-achieving people including small business owners, creative thinkers, professional freelancers, remote workers and other entrepreneurs. Everyday there is networking opportunities both within SV and extending out along with information and updates across different industries. The variety of interactions and new perspectives definitely supported my desire to access a new outlook. I’m really inspired by the abundance of passionate people I met that are finding meaning in their work.