Get in the right headspace

Richard Branson sitting on a plane, with his eyes shut, meditating. There is a women next to him and in the seat behind, also meditating.
Image from Virgin Australia
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 5 August 2019

It can be tricky to wind down your brain after finishing a hectic day’s work, especially for our pilots and cabin crew who cross time zones for a living.

I was thrilled to see Virgin Atlantic announce their latest in-flight offering in partnership with Headspace. Since we first added Headspace’s meditation sessions to our onboard platform, they’ve been a popular way for passengers to relax on long journeys. It’s been so popular they have now introduced Sleep by Headspace – an application full of tools and techniques to help relax the body and mind, allowing a more restful sleep onboard.

Cabin crew standing in front of a Virgin Atlantic plane called Lady Freedom
Image from Virgin Atlantic

After trialling the app with team members, Virgin Atlantic found it made them more focused, productive and happier. That’s why they’ve made it available to everyone flying Virgin Atlantic.

I saw some of the benefits of meditation when I joined Virgin Australia for the world’s first dedicated meditation flight. In partnership with app-based mindfulness platform, Smiling Mind, we soared above the Sydney skyline meditating at 30,000 feet. I’m fairly new to meditation but my son Sam practices it regularly and I am a huge believer in the benefits of looking after your mind as well as your body. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to focus on being present can sometimes be just what you need.

Richard Branson wearing headsets and an eye mask on Virgin Australia's meditation flight in 2018
Image from Virgin Australia

At Virgin, we take the mental and physical wellbeing of our people and customers seriously. In the UK alone, work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.4 million working days lost in 2017/18. That’s up more than 20 per cent from 12.5 million the year before. For businesses large and small, that’s a real challenge, and it’s something we should all be making a high priority. 

I was saddened to read Business in the Community’s latest report, which revealed that while one in three people in the UK workforce have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, 30 per cent of managers report having no workplace facilities or services that could help the wellbeing and mental health of their employees. 

The good news is that the situation is slowly improving, with more people than ever getting the support they need. I’m proud to say that many of our Virgin companies are doing wonderful work to make sure their teams and customers are well and feel taken care of. Virgin Active’s work with Salary Finance and Virgin Media’s Thrive platform are two inspiring examples of how companies can do more to support the wellbeing of their team members, while Virgin Pulse provide smart ways for everyone to improve their wellbeing.

You can find out more about what the Virgin companies are doing here