Want a More Mindful Culture at Work? For Vinomofo, It Starts At The Top

Walking through the doors of Vinomofo’s inner city Melbourne office, there's an unexpected and addictive wave of calm that washes over you.

For those who have a regular practise with our app, it’s that exact same feeling you get when you open your next meditation and hear the words again,  “Welcome back to Smiling Mind”

As a visitor entering any new office space, you’re expecting to be quickly ushered into a side room where your scheduled meeting would normally take place. 

Instead, at Vinomofo, with no receptionist to greet you, you’re instinctively drawn on a solo mission into their wine bar by an unnerving gravitational pull. You have no idea why you’re going there, but it feels like the right place to be because everyone else is there taking some time out.

While not built specifically as a formal mindfulness space, it’s a space inside this office that acts as a pseudo community Town Hall for its staff. A place to retreat. A place to celebrate wins. A place to welcome and farewell and a place to blur the line between work and play.

This is what Vinomofo is best known for.

Named in the top 25 places in Australia to work in 2016, Vinomofo has gone from an organisation that first and foremost sells wine online, to a place that grows and cares about people.

At the forefront of workplace culture and wellness at Vinomofo are its founders Justin Dry and Andre Eikmeier who started the business back in 2011. However, their Serjeant-at-Arms is Head of Culture, Mikey Ellis who actually started his career as a teacher.

Ellis now presides over a mindful company culture which places emotional wellbeing of its staff at the forefront of business achievement.

Vinomofo staff started their formal introduction to mindfulness through Smiling Mind’s workplace app, but like many businesses who start the process, developing an ongoing informal practise and embedding it into the culture takes time.

And as Ellis rightly points out, everyone is different, “Each company has a very different and unique culture… what works at Vinomofo won’t necessarily work at another company in the same way”

Here are his top tips on how any workplace can break down the initial barriers of embedding a mindfulness culture:


“There’s a perception of crossing work, life and home boundaries for some people that might be an issue. Whereby they come to work to do their work and they might wait until they’re home to do their self-awareness or meditation practise. That’s something we’re working on breaking down here, we don't want people to check themselves at the door, we want this to be a place where you can be your authentic self.”


“All businesses operate to make money, so a lot of companies will ask you what is the ROI [on mindfulness]? [Even though it's not the goal] it is getting easier to prove and demonstrate there’s an engagement, productivity and financial outcome - there's a shift taking place whereby people are seeing the benefits of mindfulness personally then translating that experience to work.” 

Check out the impact of mindfulness on the brain in this video from our YouTube page.


“There’s got to be a values alignment. You might be able to pitch an ongoing mindfulness practice to a C-Suite or leader of your company that sees ROI value. The data is there, you can demonstrate the benefits objectively, but then you’ve got to have the support of key people to make it ongoing. Mindfulness also has to align with the values of the business. Ideally, leaders will lead by example and participate in and support mindfulness at work, the benefits on both a personal and workplace level are obvious."  


"Our values here at Vinomofo are to step up, care more, to keep it real, to have fun and to do some good, so mindfulness at work really aligns for us. In another company it might be more difficult to get a practice up and running but all it takes is one passionate advocate to get the ball rolling."


If you're interested in learning more about how to bring mindfulness into your workplace, find out more about our workplace workshops and wellbeing programs here.


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