Richard Branson has spent 40-odd years turning Virgin from a record store into a billion-dollar conglomerate. One can imagine it was a time-consuming process that would have left little time to be a present parent.
But in an interview on CNN’s “Boss Files” podcast hosted by Poppy Harlow, Branson says he believes he’s seen more of his kids and family “than almost any father.”
How? By working from home.
“I lived in a houseboat when my kids were young,” he told Harlow. “I was building Virgin. They were fooling around. I changed a nappy and I’d be on the phone.”
Branson also encourages Virgin employees to work from home if they feel comfortable and actually want that as an option. “I’m a great believer in people working from home. I encourage our staff if they want to work from home,” he said.
Branson’s two children, Holly and Sam, are now both married, with four children between them. Sam is a filmmaker, and Holly helps run Virgin’s nonprofit wing. Branson and his wife Joan have been married for more than 40 years.
Branson recounts taking a phone call from Holly while she was in college with test score results while giving a presentation for thousands in California.
“I knew how excited she would be with her results, and so I was definitely going to take the phone call. But she also managed to have 10,000 people clap for her as well,” Branson said.
Branson says he still works from home roughly half the year. “It’s critical to get the balance between work and play right,” he explained earlier this year in a video posted at his company’s website. “Find time for yourself; work hard but also play hard.”
Branson’s current net worth is estimated at more than $5 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Listen to the full CNN podcast interview here.