I believe a lot of people have the wrong perspective of what work-life balance means.
Jamie Waring started his career in London’s financial district, where he was a broker trading currencies on the international markets before he realised that his passion and purpose were in human transformation and wellbeing. Jamie has held positions in management for various well-known brands such as Six Senses Resorts & Spas and OCTAVE Institute, and now has almost 30 years of experience within the fitness, hospitality, and wellness industries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.
Today, Jamie applies the acquired wisdom from the many lessons of those formative years in his new role as Guardian of the Experience at Soneva Kiri, on the island of Koh Kood in the Gulf of Thailand.
What made you become so passionate about human transformation and wellbeing?
Some years back I went through a major shift in my own personal life, which motivated me to discover a better way to live, and as a result I became inspired to help people along the way. I was driven by wanting to help reduce suffering but also to help people optimize and get the most from their own lives. This concept has many layers but there are a few things people can do to make a big difference, and fundamental to this is being well and enjoying good health. Regardless of all that is to be enjoyed in life, without good health one is completely limited and restricted. It would therefore logically seem that wellbeing should be everyone’s top priority, particularly in a post-pandemic environment. Over the past 20 months or so I think people have taken a step back and realized what is truly important in their lives, and that is to spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones.
What have you learned about the work-life balance working in the industry? How do you manage that for yourself?
I believe a lot of people have the wrong perspective of what work-life balance means. It is important to say that there is no set formula and we all should define it for ourselves. People should ask themselves what it means to them to be balanced and to be healthy and how to incorporate what they need into their daily life. For me, work-life balance is not a static or consistent thing in which I do the same thing at the same time each day, working a set number of hours each day, being home at the same time. It is more dynamic, and it does differ each day based on what’s in front of me. Some days you may need to work longer hours and other days less hours, but either way there are some things that are non-negotiable for me, that I just have to make happen. For example I try to incorporate daily exercise, at least seven hours of sleep and quality time with family into my everyday routine. The time spent with family is usually the part that can be most difficult to achieve, especially with the long hours that we do work in hospitality, and one has to ensure that quality time with loved ones is prioritized and worked into your daily schedule.
How do you teach your team about work-life balance? Can hospitality professionals have a work-life balance lifestyle?
Yes, I believe they can as long as they see that balance is dynamic and absolutely not nine to five. We work evenings and weekends, and holiday seasons are our busiest times so naturally it won’t be good for you if you are looking for a nine to five routine. The payback is amazing career opportunities and typically when we do work extra hours or days there is an opportunity to redeem it at a later time, and then we have breaks that are typically longer and more meaningful.
What's your plan for Soneva Kiri? How do you want to see it grow?
During the pandemic we have had to shift our marketing efforts to focus primarily on domestic travelers, especially from Bangkok. This was initially by necessity, but it has helped us establish quite a following and we have become the “go to” luxury destination in Thailand. Once the international markets do finally return, we are very well positioned to cater to this market. At Soneva we continue to evolve and are forever developing new concepts in food and beverage, creating rare and memorable experiences for our guests to enjoy, and deepening our approach to wellbeing across all of our resorts both in the Maldives and here in Thailand.
Visit Soneva Kiri an unspoiled island with some of the best beaches in Thailand.