Thriving with Virgin Pulse in New Orleans

Richard Branson taking a selfie with Dave Osborne and Mark Jeffries
Image from Virgin Pulse
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 22 May 2019

Take care of your employees and they will take care of business. It’s a message I’ve shared a lot over the years, but it bears repeating. The companies that are most successful and sustainable are the ones that realise putting their team first means the whole business will really sing. One area that is so crucial for achieving this is wellbeing - which is where Virgin Pulse comes in.

Virgin Pulse was borne out of an idea we had in South Africa many years ago to create a way for businesses to reward their employees for keeping active. It makes sense, as the healthier your team, the happier they will be, and the more effective they will be. Plus, it’s simply the right thing to do. Fast forward to 2019 and Virgin Pulse is the world’s largest digital employee wellbeing and engagement company. We have more than 3,300 customers across 190 countries, and are just getting started.

The flagship event for the Virgin Pulse community each year is Thrive Summit, which brings them together for a special few days of inspiration and information on a rapidly-changing sector. I was fortunate enough to join the team at this year’s Thrive Summit in New Orleans for a fireside chat with Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne and Thrive Emcee, Mark Jeffries. We discussed what wellbeing means to me and how I keep fit with such a hectic lifestyle.

The audience at Virgin Pulse Thrive
Image from Virgin Pulse

I also found out more about Virgin Pulse’s Employee Wellbeing Month, which is coming up in June. Though as I pointed out, every month should be employee wellbeing month. All you need to do is start small, reward your employees for their hard work, and lead by example. Walk the walk – literally! – don’t just talk the talk.

There was a simple example earlier in the morning. We had a particularly exciting day in New Orleans as we also broke ground on our new Virgin Hotel in the city. The hotel site was a short walk away, and the weather was sweltering, but rather than jump in a car we decided to walk. It’s simple changes like this that can get your steps up and improve your fitness on the go. It isn’t just big fitness challenges that make the difference; embracing small everyday changes goes a long way to becoming healthier and happier.

Richard Branson at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit in New Orleans with Deepak Chopra
Image from Virgin Pulse

One of the main reasons I have been able to avoid burn out over more than 50 years in business is by making my health and wellness a priority. However busy I am and wherever I am, I make sure to start every day with exercise, from tennis and kitesurfing to swimming and weight training. Having a busy career doesn't mean that you can't live your life to the fullest – quite the opposite. And by scheduling time to focus on your health, you will be more focused and effective in your work too.

The average person spends around 90,000 hours working – one third of their life. Surely we should all work to make that time as enjoyable and beneficial as possible. Well done to all the Virgin Pulse team for doing just that.

Dave Osborne, Richard Branson and Mark Jeffries on stage at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit in New Orleans
Image from Virgin Pulse