September 26, 2017

As a communications provider, Virgin Mobile is in the business of connecting people through the power of mobile. But we know that being constantly connected can lead to feelings of digital overload and even disconnection from our friends, family, experiences and the world around us. 

Here James Gully, CEO of Virgin Mobile share's his story of mindfulness at work within his company's culture. 

Mindfulness at work helping change business for good

As a Virgin business, I believe that we have a responsibility not just to sell products, but to also change business for good. That’s why we’ve joined forces with the team at Smiling Mind on their mission to deliver app-based mindfulness at work programs and modern meditation to everyday Aussies.

Smiling Mind equips our people with the tools they need to incorporate mindfulness at work and meditation into their day-to-day, consequently developing important skills such as resilience, empathy and compassion.

I’m really proud to be supporting a free app-based program that helps people proactively look after their minds and switch off from technology every now and then.

Here's what Richard Branson founder of Virgin Mobile had to say;

From what I hear, our people at Virgin Mobile Australia’s head office and within our retail sites around the country love participating in the mindfulness practices at work too. At Virgin, we place great focus and importance on employee wellbeing. It’s our people who drive our success, so we strive to maintain a healthy and happy culture, and create environments in which everyone can flourish.

I encourage every school kid, adult, parent or business leader to switch off from your emails and social media every now and again and give Smiling Mind a go.


Mindfulness at work in schools

To date, the Smiling Mind app has been downloaded more than 2 million times, and they’ve connected with over 25,000 educators and workplaces. So we’re also pleased to partner with an organisation that is investing in young people and ultimately helping to support generations of healthy people, by embedding the principles of meditation within the Australian education system. 

Recently I was fortunate to share in a Smiling Mind meditation at a Melbourne school. As a father of four, and having practiced the ‘Bubble Journey’ with my own son before bedtime, I was still blown away by how a classroom Smiling Mind activity run by their teacher after lunch could transform and re-centre the minds of a group of students.

Mindfulness at work in the workplace

The same can be said for the Virgin Mobile workplace. Since partnering with Smiling Mind, we’ve introduced the practise of mindfulness to our business within our head office and retail sites around the country. Our people have access to Smiling Mind’s dedicated Workplace program, with our people completing more than 1,500 meditation minutes in the first month.  

Our people have also embraced mindfulness training programmes that provide them with the tools to increase resilience and take time out both at work and home, as well as kicking off team meetings with a brain break to reset for the afternoon after lunch. 

But a mindful workplace doesn’t stop at workshops and regular brain breaks. Mindfulness at work helps to underpin other initiatives like Virgin Mobile’s Culture Club, which is made up of internal volunteers from all areas of our business. 

Our Culture Club meets once a month to plan low cost activities aimed at celebrating our people through surprise and delight moments that help them switch off from time to time away from their screens and devices. Think Friday afternoon drinks, 3pm pick-me-up trolleys filled with sweet and savoury treats, as well as personalised desk drops.

I’m looking forward to further embedding mindfulness into Virgin Mobile’s workplace culture as we continue to change the game for good.

We’re proud of our partnership with Smiling Mind to help restore the digital balance in our schools, workplaces and lives, and Richard and I encourage any adult, parent, business leader or colleague to switch off from your emails and social media to give Smiling Mind a go.



James Gully is CEO of Virgin grew up in Melbourne, where he attended Monash University and graduated with a Bachelor of Economics.

His 25-year career has spanned multiple industries, with a combined 17 years spent between Optus and Virgin Mobile. He absolutely loves the Virgin brand and embraces Richard Branson's people-first philosophy ... or as he puts it: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast".

Bring mindfulness to your workplace.

Mindfulness at work creates a solid foundation for all other Human Resources and Learning and Development initiatives, it can help with reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and overall staff stress reduction.

Are you serious about helping your staff and helping Smiling Mind support Australian students? Find out more on mindfulness at work here