As part of our series of interviews with those carrying out sterling work in the employee wellbeing space, we were pleased to talk to Charlie Lucas and Simon Cook, co-founders of the health and fitness company Apex Rides.
SWW: Can you describe any initiatives Apex Rides is running to boost employee wellbeing internally?
Charlie Lucas: We believe that everything in business comes down to people. Whatever a business does or doesn’t do is a direct result of someone in that work community doing or not doing part of their job – so if you look after your employees, they will look after your business. For that reason, we have a number of wellbeing initiatives in place for our team of 20 – which has now grown from just the two co-founders in the space of two years!
Firstly, and naturally, all of our full-time members of staff are given an Apex Bike with a free app subscription. Our class roster includes all sorts of workout types and several are geared towards mental wellbeing – for instance our Ride Remedy meditation sessions in partnership with the charity Calm. All of our staff are on-boarded to our HR platform, Charlie HR, which offers employee perks for things such as healthy eating, mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing – plus you can get great discounts on brands like HelloFresh, Fitbit and Headspace.
Simon Cook: Like a lot of employers today, we offer flexible working to encourage a work-life balance – people have been able to come in as much or as little as they feel is necessary.
We offer quarterly town halls which include a social event to bond with colleagues, the ability to shout-out employees with high fives through 15Five platform, cycle to work scheme, new starter buddy system, regular check-ins with managers to track employee mood, weekly one hour Coffee Roulette with the founders, and a new wellbeing toolkit.
What are your personal favourites?
SC: Aside from the Christmas and summer parties of course?! I am really enjoying the new 15five platform as it allows me to frequently communicate with our team and obtain feedback. If a team member isn’t doing or feeling their best, we can very quickly find out why – and do what we can to help.
Are there any new wellbeing initiatives your team are looking to implement this year?
CL: Plenty! Wellbeing days, four paid days off per year which are not deducted from annual leave. We’re also making an office move to improve commutes for our team and improve the overall office environment by having things like healthy snacks, free tea/coffee and improved office equipment.
SC: We are offering health insurance which includes counselling services and an employee assistance programme from April. We’re just about to implement the “Apex Library”, a scheme where the company will purchase books for professional development which will then be added to a library for other employees to access. We’ve also just extended our maternity and paternity pay policies to help give new parents more time with their babies without worrying about money. Maternity leave is now 12 weeks full pay, while paternity has gone from two to four weeks.
Looking externally, how can Apex be part of an employee wellbeing scheme?
SC: We see the Apex at-home fitness bike being the perfect physical and mental wellbeing solution for businesses and their employees in this new hybrid/remote working era. Our bikes allow people to save time by working out in their home and money, but it also allows people to become part of a growing community, to share their fitness journey and fall in love with a new kind of exercise. Our corporate discounts offer great value which is made affordable with our financial partners offering interest free payment options. Apex’s corporate discount is free for companies to promote to their staff and it offers a fantastic alternative to gym/studio discounts.
We like the look of your Ride Remedies with Calm. Tell us more…
SC: Thanks :). We conducted a survey amongst 500 25-45 year olds asking them why they exercise. The results showed that four in five people now exercise to boost their mood and lift their emotions, choosing their workout based on the desired psychological outcome, with 56% exercising to support their mental health more today than they did before the pandemic.
These 15 minute sessions have been co-designed by Apex Rides’ content team and Psychology Coach Ricky Gill. Each session features a guided meditation led by Ricky, with rhythmic cycling led by Apex instructor, Carol-Ann – delivering you meditation on a bike.
Set to a captivating, uptime trance beat, each ride offers a different ‘remedy’ for a specific, emotional state of mind, symptomatic of modern living and designed for everyone. These rides provide the different ‘emotional gains’ people now want from their workouts. Whether you want to overcome anxiety, apathy and stress, or stimulate energy, calm or a positive mentality, there’s a Ride Remedy for you.
For every ride taken, Apex Rides is donating £1 to CALM. CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a charity dedicated to supporting those struggling with their mental health, and uniting against suicide.
When it comes to your own wellbeing, what are your non-negotiables / must do activities that you turn to to maintain your wellbeing?
CL: I have to exercise first thing in the morning. I normally start with some basic stretching before jumping on the Apex bike for a 30 or 45 minute class with weights. Focusing on your stats and climbing the live leaderboard really spurs me on, and the weights sections gives me the full body workout that sets me up for my day. If I have the energy after that, I will follow this up with one of our 15-20 minute strength or mobility workouts.
SC: I prefer an evening class, I find that exercise is a great way of clearing my mind at the end of a busy day. My favourite classes are Duncan’s After Dark series. They’re super intense and filmed in candlelight with hypnotic electronic music blaring in the background – so the experience is almost meditative!
How do these activities make you feel?
CL: Energised and clear-headed, ready to take on whatever the day throws at me.
SC: Ready for a bath and bed!