Jouko Virtanen from Takeoff Partners has overseen several successful expansions to North America. He says that in 2021, the same laws apply to how to make it successful as before—but you need to also turn the accelerating digitalization to your advantage.
Often the ergonomics of the home office are not as good as at work, so taking breaks and moving regularly is even more important for the health when working remotely, says Veera Lehmonen, CEO of Cuckoo Workout. The break exercise app has responded to the skyrocketing demand by offering a free 30-day trial for all organizations.
When much of the world’s computer-using workforce was put into quarantine, Cuckoo Workout saw a sudden peak in new users with the number of daily users growing 70% and the total number of users growing 30% in March alone.
According to Cuckoo Workout’s CEO Veera Lehmonen, one factor to explain this rise is that the app benefits not just the employee who uses it but the entire family.
“We noticed that people have now started using Cuckoo Workout together with their children. This way, the break exercises give rhythm not only to the working day but also the daily routine of the household,” she says.
To address the sudden increase in demand, Cuckoo Workout started a campaign where any organization can try the app for 30 days for free. So far, over 300 organizations have joined in.
“We will keep the offer available for the duration of the quarantine.”
Cuckoo Workout is a portfolio company of Takeoff Partners with Kim Väisänen holding a position in the startup’s board.
Taking a break is easy to forget when you are working from home
Compared to working in an office, Veera Lehmonen sees two specific challenges in remote work. The first one is that the home setup is usually much less ideal from an ergonomic point of view.
“Even those that worked from home before this situation and had their working station carefully set up, may have now needed to make changes to where and how they work because the rest of the family is also at home.”
The second challenge, she sees, is how easily people end up spending long periods of time at their desk without moving.
“You will not be naturally interrupted like at work where you walk to face-to-face meetings, for instance, or walk to work. The saying goes that the best position is the next position, meaning that even if your ergonomics were fantastic, you will still need to keep moving. I think a lot of us are now realizing how easy this is to forget at home.”
Veera Lehmonen hopes that people would be able to quickly build new routines that work in this new, exceptional arrangement – especially if it continues to last.
“It would be important not just from the perspective of physical health but also for emotional well-being.”
On the topic of emotional well-being, Veera Lehmonen says that Cuckoo Workout’s customers have given positive feedback about the app’s gamification features and how they offer them a fun way to stay in touch with colleagues.
“Although people see each other in virtual meetings, they still long for informal socializing. Little things like these can matter a great deal.”
Expansion to Sweden is still in the cards
When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Europe, Cuckoo Workout was busy preparing for an expansion to Sweden. Although Finland and Sweden have undertaken different strategies in managing the pandemic and the situation has forced Cuckoo Workout employees temporarily from Sweden back to Finland, Veera Lehmonen believes the changes are short term.
“We are still going ahead with the plan. For now, we are just working on it from home.”
Until this year, Cuckoo Workout was growing at a steady 35% annual rate but now, Veera believes the working-from-home boom has set the company up for accelerated growth.
Interestingly, much of the recent growth is coming from new customer segments.
“We have done extensive market research and know that we have traditionally been popular among industries such as finance, IT and the service sector. Now we have seen new clients for industries such as the legal industry that have not used our services as widely in the past.”
It’s difficult to say for sure why. One answer could be that rigid social codes have kept these industries from engaging in break exercises at the office. Now that everyone is working from home, the focus is less on social codes and more on ensuring the well-being of employees while they work remotely.
You can get Cuckoo Workout’s free 30-day trial here.