Indoor cycling brand Wattbike is based in Nottingham and employs 75 people, 25 of whom were taken on during the first lockdown.
Since that time the business has focused on making teams feel connected, looking after their health and welfare and making it as easy as possible for staff to adapt to working from home.
Tom Crampton, Wattbike’s head of commercial, said: “Very early on we initiated the home working environment assessments because we wanted to make sure everyone had the best set up possible. The aim of this was to ensure that people weren’t just making do. We didn’t want people huddled over a laptop, sitting cross-legged on a sofa if we could provide a desk, ergonomic chair or raised laptop screen.”
A Wattbike – a smart indoor exercise bike – has also been given to any employee who desires one.
“We have been running organised group rides through an online virtual cycling platform, while everyone is also logged into Google Hangouts so we can all see each other and chat,” Crampton continues. “We organise these as ‘group rides’ where the aim is to ride together, to stick together as a team, to push and encourage each other. It’s not about the fastest sprinter or the best hill climber, it’s about the best that we can achieve as one unit.”
Senior leaders have also championed regular break-taking and everyone has been awarded a ‘coffee budget’ with the aim of encouraging staff to leave their desks and walk in the fresh air on their way to picking up a takeaway drink. Walking meetings, in line with Covid rules, have also been introduced. “Two members of staff can meet for a walk to discuss work topics,” says Crampton. “We don’t want them stuck at their desk all day. We want the team to stay active, motivated and engaged.”
Meanwhile, flexible working hours enable people to work around childcare, exercise or any shopping they want to do during the day. Alongside regular virtual pub quizzes and game night, employees also receive care packages every month. Past gifts have included a bottle of fizz, a plant and chocolates and tea.
“It’s been a top priority for us to come up with fun, engaging ways to make sure the team feels connected and appreciated,” adds Crampton. “Throughout this unprecedented time, Wattbike has made no redundancies and furloughed no staff. Instead, for the commercial team, where work has been lighter due to the forced closures of the fitness and hospitality industries, each person has been given a temporary new focus, something else they can get stuck into in order to support another department that could do with an extra hand. We’ve evolved [and] not stuck to strict roles and responsibilities. We are all chipping in where we can to make sure we thrive during challenging times.”