How Chalmers Ventures completed 504 healthy activities in 90 days with GuineaPig
"I think we have to take more responsibility of things that used to happen naturally in today's remote world. Helping our team stay active, engaged and connected is a priority now more than ever."
Louise Brudö, Investment Director at Chalmers Ventures
The pandemic changed the game
Since 1999, Chalmers Ventures has been in the business of solving big problems in new ways. Louise Brudö, Investment Director at Chalmers Ventures, knows their numbers by heart. "We've worked with over 600 startups, invested in more than 200 companies, and had 29 successful exists," she says. Their work has earned them recognition as the top university incubator in the Nordics – and top 10 globally. "Today, we're a team of 25 who are passionate about educating and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs to improve the world through technology," Louise continues.
When the first wave of the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, Chalmers Ventures had to face an existential challenge. Communication was at the heart of their business. Their business coaches could spend hours every day talking to entrepreneurs at startups and portfolio companies. Their events could draw hundreds of audience members from across the country to sit close together while listening to inspiring pitches, and of course to enjoy the mingle afterwards. Being in an industry that runs on relationships and networks, they had their work cut out for them when they made the decision to go remote.
To substitute in-person meetings and events, they started using Microsoft Teams video calls. Having to write hundreds of emails and texts per day might as well already have been part of their job description, even before the pandemic. To coordinate internally, the team had already been using Slack for the last few years. All in all, most of their work kept running smoothly.
But being in the business of investing, the team at Chalmers Ventures knew that success is all about team, team, team. Ideas can be changed. Technology can be built. But in the end, a company is just a group of people working to create a product or service, and it's only as good as its people and how excited they are to work on it. "A lot of the excitement in venture capital comes from the energy of working closely with other people," Louise says. While the team's productivity remained high, they'd lost many of the daily routines that kept team connected. Having lunch together on Zoom just wasn't the same thing. And to make staying engaged and energised even more difficult, most of the team saw a sharp downturn in their time spent outdoors and at the gym. "We realised that we had the opportunity solve two problems at once," Louise continues. "To stay active while working from home and to do something other than work together every day."
We realised that we had the opportunity solve two problems at once. To stay active while working from home and to do something other than work together every day.
Louise Brudö, Investment Director at Chalmers Ventures
It's a team sport
To launch their remote wellness efforts, Chalmers Ventures turned to GuineaPig. "I think it's fair to say that we're quite a competitive bunch," says Jonas Sandwall, Head of Communications & Marketing at Chalmers Ventures. "We were excited to use GuineaPig to track our team's engagement and make a competition out of it." The team decided to reward the top three most active members with a surprise gift after 90 days, and to set a collective goal of getting to 400 total check-ins together.
To get started, the team's admin created a new #wellness channel in Slack and invited everyone. From there, the admin used GuineaPig's Slack app to set up a combination of open challenges for those who already knew how they wanted to be physically active, and guided classes and breaks for those who preferred getting recommendations. The challenges, classes, and breaks were then sent by GuineaPig to the #wellness channel on a daily schedule.
The open challenges were to exercise for 30 minutes, take 10,000 steps, or meditate for 10 minutes every day. The daily fitness class was randomly selected and either contained a guided workout, yoga session, or mindfulness practice. Breaks were sent twice per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to encourage everyone to take just two minutes from work and follow along to some guided stretches.
After just 90 days, the team had completed a total of 504 healthy activities. Jenny Dahlberg, Business Controller at Chalmers Ventures, won the competition with a whopping 115 check-ins. "I'm happy and proud to have won the competition. Our wellness challenge kept me motivated to take those extra steps and short meditation breaks that I might otherwise have skipped after a long and busy day," says Jenny. "To see my colleagues do the same made me even more motivated to keep going."
I'm happy and proud to have won the competition. Our wellness challenge kept me motivated to take those extra steps and short meditation breaks that I might otherwise have skipped after a long and busy day. To see my colleagues do the same made me even more motivated to keep going.
Jenny Dahlberg, Business Controller at Chalmers Ventures
Accept the challenge
It's been a challenging year to say the least. Almost all companies have had to compress years of digitalisation into months or weeks. Even so, it's still unclear what work will look like after the pandemic. While most of us miss many aspects of working at the office, some tech giants like Spotify have placed big bets on remote and hybrid work by letting their employees choose where they work from now on.
"I think we have to take more responsibility of things that used to happen naturally in today's remote world," says Louise Brudö. "Helping our team stay active, engaged and connected is a priority now more than ever." While Chalmers Ventures leveraged their competitive sprit to drive engagement, others may see better results from only creating collective goals to rally around as a team.
Ana Maria Popescu joined the team at Chalmers Ventures early this year, in the middle of the wellness competition. "I can't wait to join our next competition with GuineaPig in our #wellness channel." she said. "It'll be a great way to connect with everyone, especially those in the team that I haven't met in person yet."
I can't wait to join our next competition with GuineaPig in our #wellness channel. It'll be a great way to connect with everyone, especially those in the team that I haven't met in person yet.
Ana Maria Popescu, Business Coach at Chalmers Ventures