Spending Some Time Away from Regular Work Gives Me Clarity

For WeWork India director Karan Virwani, wellness is about exercising every day and watching what he eats.

Photograph by Nishant Ratnakar
Photograph by Nishant Ratnakar

Karan Virwani, Director of WeWork India, is extremely passionate about bringing a fun and homely approach at work spaces. For this University of Kent graduate with a keen interest in hospitality, the industry comes with many challenges and staying focused with a calm aura is just one of them. Thrive Global India speaks to him about his daily routine and what makes him Thrive.

Thrive Global India: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Karan Virwani: I try to hit the gym every morning right after waking up. The routine is quite simple—have half a bottle of water, pack for gym and head out. I practise either a run, Crossfit, or a workout on my own at the gym.

TGI: How do you unplug and recharge?

KV: I unplug and recharge by spending my time outdoors as much as possible. Be it trekking, playing sports, swimming or riding. Eating, travelling and going out with friends is always a great way to escape. Simple pleasures with people I love.

I try and get my weekends to myself away from work as much as possible, which doesn’t always happen that easily, but I ensure I spend some time away from regular work. This helps me give clarity and better approach towards the goals afterwards.

TGI: What’s your favourite well-being tip?

KV: Our body is 70 per cent water and I want to maintain that number (laughs). I drink plenty of water. You’ll see me carrying a bottle or glass of water with me in every meeting, car, flight, on stage during any of the events.

TGI: Tell us about your relationship with your phone.

KV: My phone is an enabler that gives me superpowers of some sort, it allows me to manage so many different aspects of business and social life no matter where in the world I am or which time zone I am in. With my routine and travel schedule, I am constantly on the move. Conference calls in transit and during peak traffic hours are normal.

I use my phone for my fitness, for music because I am addicted and to keep in constant check with social media. I have been told that my relationship with my phone is unhealthy and I am consciously trying to stay away from it. While not in work settings, I prefer switching it off so I can give my attention to what’s Important at the time whether its family, friends or loved ones. As a tool for my work, I would never be able to be as productive as I am now without it.

TGI: How do you deal with negativity on social media?

KV: It doesn’t really bother me what social media talks about and hence I don’t have to deal with it. As much as it has the power to change, it equally gives the power to spread negativity—everyone becomes powerful when discreet. We are doing amazing things, and making a positive impact that no one can debate.

TGI: What would you do on an ideal day?

KV: Aah! An ideal day would be waking up in a beautiful setting, preferably by a pristine beach, followed by a great workout or run and spend as much time as possible in the water, and eating amazing food. I guess besides that, I’d be spending a lot of time laughing and deep conversations with friends and loved ones.

TGI: When was the last time you felt burned out?

KV: My work requires me to travel every once in a while. With this back-to-back travelling and work, I start to feel not as productive as opposed to my high octane self. I now have a deep understanding of where my limits lie. I am someone who will push myself to that limit and beyond, especially when I know my responsibility to the business demands it. It’s a constant balancing act of being able to enjoy work and pleasure. Work always comes first though.

TGI: How do you incorporate well-being into your daily life?

KV: I try and work out six days a week no matter where I am. My travel bag is pre-packed with gym attire. I try to watch what I eat no matter how hectic my schedule is. Spending as much time outdoors over the weekend helps bring balance to the mental strain of the week.

TGI: What benefit do these habits have on your ability to perform?

KV: Working out every morning gets me pumped for the day. Without it, I’m not the same and I know for a fact that I’m not as effective. If I have had a long stretch of travel and a fluctuating diet from my usual routine I start feeling less productive. I am always watching these things and very strict with myself to constantly have a balance.

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