Founder of Beverly Hills, Calif,-based FastPay, a finance platform that provides lines of credit to growing digital businesses. To date, the company has secured $25 million in venture funding.
Lunch break: Most days, the FastPay team orders food in and uses the time for internal meetings or weekly Lunch ‘n Learns presentations by outside experts. If prospective clients or investors are in town, Simon takes them to the Thompson Beverly Hills hotel rooftop for lunch. “They have great food, a decent view of the Hollywood sign and great energy with a positive vibe,” he says.
Once a week, Simon swims laps for 45 minutes during his lunch break at the Culver City Municipal Plunge. “It’s a terrific outdoor Olympic pool, and there’s an herb garden alongside it, so there’s aromatherapy in the mix as well,” he says.
Why it’s important: Long lunch breaks diminish productivity, Simon says. In addition to simply being away from the office, he feels that lunch can disrupt the continuity of thought and focus. That’s why he buys his team lunch most days in the office. “An additional benefit is that while eating, we have the chance to share interesting insights from customer trends we see in the market,” he says.
Simon considers his swimming break the perfect combination of exercise and meditation. “It calms my mind and gives me space to think,” he says. “I often find answers to problems and come up with new ideas for FastPay and our customers. When I get back to the office, I’m always much more productive the rest of the day.”
Challenge of sticking to it: There’s almost always a looming deadline, and it’s fairly easy to blow off team lunches or his weekly swim, Simon says. But he thinks spending time with his team is critical and the mental and physical benefits of swimming are irrefutable. “I believe that maintaining a balanced schedule, with time set aside for lunch, is an important aspect of leadership,” he says.