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Understanding HR Technology series – Cuckoo Workout

In the course of what I do, I get the chance to come into contact with an impressive array of HR Technology products that form a part of how enlightened people professionals are taking to reimagining the workplace. Given the avalanche of technology choices faced by our profession I want to give byte size reviews of some of those I’d recommend as we all seek to make our organisations relevant places to attract and retain today’s talent. This week I’d like to focus on the Health and Wellbeing market and a cool new app-based product called cuckoo-workout.

Health & Wellbeing - A major push in the last few years to improve the world of work has seen the rise of the Health and Wellbeing agenda. Personally this used to mean dropping in a box of bananas once a week to a room full of knowledge workers but the debate has become more sophisticated and the solutions more relevant.

"As we hollow out the workforce, the UK’s service sector, predominantly staffed by knowledge workers, now represents over 77% of the overall GDP and is the fastest growing industry sector."

( Quora Consulting, 2016).

Sedantary (or sitting on your ass too long) problems - Up and down the country the issue of tackling the attraction and retention of knowledge workers must therefore embrace the indirect health-related consequence of sitting at our desks all day. Long hours, especially with the typically British habit of ‘eating at the desk’ for lunch has been a ritual pursued by the cult of busy fools and baked on the false premise of presenteeism and supposed productivity. It does nothing of the sort but the mindset is pretty fixed in our unconscious minds.

Cuckoo-Workout - With enlightened organisations looking for ways of introducing positive action I give you Cuckoo Workout, a gamified personal and enterprise app, that encourages employees during the day to take breaks together. A great backstory, reminiscent of the infamous dancing man leadership video, it started in Finland in 2013 with Ida and Veera leaving their cubicles to take scheduled breaks of jumping jacks that after a short while inspired others to join them. This led to Cuckoo-workout, an online app that schedules activity breaks and allows employers to activate their people in a fun and modern way providing enormous business benefit in the shape of productivity, wellbeing, culture and even community building.

Gamification - Like those who enjoy games such as Candy Crush you’ll be familiar with the concept. In this instance, individuals collect coconut points on the app for every successful exercise break and this can be translated into personal, team and even company level achievements. Individuals also progress in the levels by taking exercise breaks. Colleagues can see their progress and challenge each other.

The British stiff upper lip - For those who suffer from this trait, you’ll be pleased to know that the associated video catalogue has a range of posture, brain and mindfulness exercises to add to the cardio ones if that’s more your thing.

The generational myth - What I love is that through its success in Finland with some great household names (e.g Accenture) the demographic using the app is not what you’d first imagine and in fact the current typical persona is the 45-60 year old female.

What I like about this ?

  • The demonstrable commitment to the health and wellbeing agenda in an economy dominated by the kind of employees it targets. A great inclusion to the Employer brand and EVP activities in general.

  • Its simple setup and the ability to scale beyond the initial pilot period that companies naturally wish with such a thing.

  • Its flexibility in terms of offering a variety of activities for everyone that doesn’t involve the age old sedantary overload of diet coke or endless coffee or the siloed office mentalities we have inadvertently built.

Very early days for Cuckoo Workout in the UK but there are already some enlightened organisations interested in piloting it within their new or existing Health and Wellbeing programmes. If you’re promoting health and wellbeing initiatives then request a product demo here. If you want to experience it personally then it's also available as a free app from the itunes store here.

Until next time. Let smart technology help build great companies.

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