The Downtime Agenda

0 $0 credit
  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Marnie Hawson

Pana Barbounis, founder of Pana Chocolate takes a moment away from his delicious creations to share some insights on switching off, managing stress and avoiding employee burnout.

Pana Barbounis, the sweet life.

What do you do to unwind?
Most days, it’s the ride home. I cycle or ride my Vespa – my only two means of transport, and I feel like it clears my mind. If that hasn’t cleared the mind by the time I get home, a walk along the beach always works for me.

How important is downtime to you and what happens when you don’t get enough of it?
It’s very important- I have learnt to switch off as soon as I arrive home. This enables me to restart the next day fresh, rather than life feeling like one continuous work day.

What strategies do you have in place to manage stress?
Meditation and  exercise, though to be honest it’s not very often I feel stressed about work – I love what I do. Everything is solvable.

How do you avoid employee burnout within your business?
It’s a cliché, but you have to have a work life balance. When you make work a fun environment, with a great culture, and support from a whole team, work becomes a nicer place to be. At Pana Chocolate the team know that results are needed, but not at the expense of ourselves.

Do you have any daily rituals?
Walk or run with the dog – then Smoothie breakfast and espresso by mid-morning…no OCD habits.

What are you reading right now?
Osho – Living Dangerously: Ordinary Enlightenment for Extraordinary Times

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Wow…not sure about this one. I have enjoyed many sitcoms over the years like Seinfeld but as far as a movie goes – would have to say the Goonies…adventure and discovery.

Where is your ultimate travel destination for downtime?
I can’t go past the Greek Islands, and a reconnection with where my parents were born. Perhaps it’s the Vegan dishes I enjoy so much or perhaps the crystal clear waters or perhaps the weather…

Describe your ideal Sunday.
Morning run and then the day with my 3 gorgeous kids, ideally a day trip or board games or catching up with family/ friends.

Who is your downtime partner in crime and why?
High school mates and friends that I have known forever – they are just hilarious.