At Everyday Juice Limited, we believe that everyone has the right to be healthy and happy at work, connected to a community of colleagues who want to make a positive impact on themselves and their workplace.
I started my career as a personal trainer in the fitness industry. I joined the industry straight out of university; I wanted to support people on their wellbeing journeys, in whatever way that meant to them. I saw the fitness industry as my opportunity to help 10-15 people at any given time to change their lives for the healthier.
I loved the work that I did and took great pleasure out of others achieving their goals, but I didn’t like the industry’s culture. The fitness industry, whilst seen as healthy and glamourous, is a hard industry to be in. It’s one that, within large chains at least, is incredibly sales driven where targets must be met at all costs, with member outcomes a secondary concern.
This wasn’t for me
After a number of years in the industry, I decided that I’d had enough and handed in my notice. I had nowhere to go but I just knew deep down it was the right move.
At the same time, a friend of mine, Andy Dodman, who was relatively new into the HR Director post, wanted to create a wellbeing proposition at the University of Sheffield for their c7,200 employees but wasn’t sure what that proposition would look or feel like. The higher education sector as a whole was going through a significant period of negative change at the time, which couldn’t be avoided, but it left employee engagement at a very low level nether less.
I saw this as an opportunity to not just support 10-15 people, but to potentially support thousands. I jumped at the chance to get involved.
We grabbed a beer in a North Leeds bar, where all the best ideas are made, and scoured the University’s webpages for wellbeing services, seminars, workshops, and activities; we expected it to be weak. To our surprise, there was already loads going on, the problem was the user journey, and our ability to manage and communicate it.
That was our Eureka moment.
We brought the entire wellbeing proposition together under one online roof so it was simple for employees to access and gave it an easily recognisable identity, “Juice”, both of which made it straightforward for us to communicate. To help us manage it, we automated the end-to-end booking process, meaning we could spend less time working in the project and more time working on the project.
We wanted Juice to bring people together through common interests and shared experiences. We wanted to show our people that the University is a community, one which everyone belongs to, and where we celebrate and champion our diversity. We wanted to enable people to share what they’re passionate about with others.
Social wellbeing was, and still is, at our core.
We launched Juice at the University of Sheffield in 2012 in line with the London Olympic Games, and our first activity coincided with the Olympic Torch relay going up Western Bank in Sheffield. We piloted Juice with c1,000 employees for six weeks over the summer with the intention of pausing before the start of the next academic year so we could evaluate, but engagement was so strong we more or less immediately had to open Juice to the whole University. Not a bad problem to have.
We won loads of awards for what we did, including the Sunday Times Top 100 Places to Work Wellbeing Special Award in 2016 against some very big players. We’re incredibly proud of the external recognition that Juice has garnered over the years, but it’s what our users at the University said to us that really got us up in the morning:
“I wanted to say that Juice is one of the best things I’ve ever done and am so grateful for the opportunity. At 50 years old I think this is without doubt one of the best opportunities ever given to me to re-gain lost fitness, develop a healthier lifestyle, and meet a new circle of friend without entering the pub! I want to thank you and everyone involved for making this happen.”
Many award wins and conference presentations later, it became apparent to Andy and I that the problems we faced at the University weren’t actually that unique. In fact, practically every large employer faced them.
In February 2015, Everyday Juice Limited was born.
We create remarkable places to work with healthy and happy people.
We created the company because there was clearly a need, and having walked in these organisation’s shoes, we thought that we could help. I saw this as an opportunity to not just support c8,000 employees at the University, which had grown since Juice’s launch, but to now potentially support hundreds of thousands. This was an opportunity not to be missed.
Through Juice, consultancy, and our wellbeing conversation tool, the Conversation Canvas, we work with employers to create healthy and happy workplaces, where people can share what makes them, them.
Making a difference
For us, it’s not about cash. It’s about doing something good in the world, and making a genuine, lasting impact on the employees and businesses that use our service.
I’ve had the benefit and privilege of being supported by some fantastic people over the years; Andy Dodman, Andrew Wood, Andy Barratt, Sue Grocutt, Dr Les Smith, Paul Webster, Ross McMaster, Rob Baker, Bob Rabone, Alexandra Byrne, and John Butterfield, to name but a few.
We have ambitious plans
I have big plans for the business over the coming years. Whilst we’re a small business I’ve purposely not gone down the venture capital or angel investor route. This enables us to invest our revenue back into the business and its services and not have to worry about shareholder returns. I’m also mindful that we’re in a climate crisis, and I want Everyday Juice Limited to do its bit. I’ve set the ambitious target of reaching net zero by the end of 2022, and to work with our clients, partners, and users, to go even further.
Every day is a new day when you run a business, and there’s always something to uncover and learn. It’s hard work, comes with a lot of stress and sleepless nights, but I genuinely couldn’t imagine doing anything else. With the benefit of hindsight there are naturally many things that I would have done differently, but ultimately I think that I’m where I’m meant to be.
To find out more about Gary and Everyday Juice Limited pop over to juicelimited.co.uk.
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