Peloton Member Kate F.’s demanding job as a TV producer in Toronto, Canada, means working against tight deadlines to put out a daily news show. The stress of such whirlwind, ever-changing days usually makes it tough to bond with her colleagues about anything outside of work. But thanks to one important thing many on her team have in common, they’ve come together and gotten to know each other like never before. That commonality? Regularly meeting up on their Peloton Bikes. “A high five on the Leaderboard from a colleague is another way to say, ‘I see you. I’ve got you,’” says Kate. “There’s something really powerful about that—it makes you want to work harder—on and off the Bike.” And, riding with colleagues has taught Kate a very important lesson: accountability. “Once you commit to a class, you must show up and give your best,” she says. “I even send my colleagues weekly calendar invites for ‘Sundays With Love.’ Once you accept that request, it must happen.”
Getting to know colleagues outside of stuffy conference rooms with happy hours or offsite retreats has always been integral to team building. As you get to know your colleagues, you discover shared interests. As you pursue them together outside of the office, better office dynamics naturally form. And whether you're working remotely or in the office right now, the pandemic has made it more difficult to find that bonding time. Yet bonding and staying connected has never been more crucial.
Monster career expert Vicki Salemi explains this “new normal” of working remotely has the lines between work and home life feeling blurred. “Pursuing activities outside the proverbial office right now, such as a Peloton class, can boost morale and bolster relationships among colleagues,” she explains. It helps when facilitating a tough project or brainstorming a new idea because you’ve remained connected while at home—and it also helps when you eventually return to the office. “Even picking up the phone to talk through a project or concern feels more natural when you have a rapport with a colleague based on a shared group activity like Peloton.”
Olivia N., a United States Army Officer in Washington, D.C., has been riding with several of her colleagues every day since April 2020. They made the commitment to go all in and meet each other on the Bike every morning at 7:30 AM for a 45-minute ride. “We've done Power Zone, Heart Rate Zone rides, we've done Alex Toussaint’s Club Bangers or Ally Love's Get Lifted rides,” she explains. “We've done the broad spectrum of rides, and we bond over them every single day.” To ensure they’re in sync and together on their rides, Olivia gives a countdown over text. Then they all hit start at the same time so they ride together, end together and high five in real time. They have just one rule: to have fun. “When we've done ‘80s rides and country rides and gotten into the full spirit,” says Olivia. “We show up in ‘80s gear or in cowboy hats and take pictures. We do birthday theme rides and go all out.”
Salemi concurs that letting loose and having fun, while supporting and encouraging your colleagues parlays into how you function as a team when back in the workplace. Playing a song from a memorable theme ride to kick off a conference call—especially in these days of working remotely—can pump those same “let’s do this” endorphins from the Bike into the office. “Your team becomes stronger, more resilient, more creative, more accountable and more efficient,” explains Salemi. “It brings fun to your team. Work shouldn't feel like drudgery.”
Olivia admits that sometimes her colleagues don’t even realize when the Bike and work naturally crosses over. “We're texting on the Bike because Cody said something funny, or we saw a really funny Leaderboard name,” she says. “ And while we're texting, we talk about what happened at work. Like, ‘Did you see that email?’ or ‘What did you think about that meeting?’ We've definitely gotten a lot closer, both from a work and a personal perspective, on the Bike.”
Photo via Member @rebelvilla
For Sara L., a creative director for a healthcare advertising agency in New York City, it all started when a colleague needed accountability. She asked if they could start riding together every morning at 6 AM. “I told her, ‘Nah, I don't do ANYTHING at 6 AM,’ She said, ‘Really? What else are you doing?' She got me!” Sara recalls. “The next morning at 5:45 AM, I was filling my water bottle and crawling into spandex. After that first ride, the lightbulb went off: hitting the snooze button and skipping my routine was easy. But I’d cut off my pinky finger, Yakuza style, before letting down a friend who asked for help.” The following week, two more colleagues joined their ride and they became a “pack.”
Having a standing date with colleagues motivates Sara more than if she were to ride with anyone else from other parts of her life. “We know exactly what each other's days are like and how we're all under so much pressure that needs to be released!” She also appreciates the “little bit of professionalism” of their rides. “I think the way we conduct ourselves as a group on the Peloton Bike is reflective of how we are as a company,” Sara explains. “We support each other's wins and push with supportive competition. The group goes nuts when someone gets a PR—it's adorable.”
Not every job will foster a culture where dressing up for rides is encouraged or going crazy for colleagues hitting a hard earned PR comes naturally. But that’s how you know if you’re in the right environment. “The right fit isn't just your salary and job title—the right fit is ultimately about your employer's culture, perks and camaraderie with colleagues,” explains Salemi.
With the pandemic keeping colleagues apart for longer periods of time than planned, keeping that supportive culture alive takes more work. Kate and her colleagues actually started riding together a year ago—but ride together more during the pandemic than they did before. “We take turns choosing rides and send each other a short list of classes and then pick one in a group chat,” Kate says. “We’ve done Robin’s ‘The Greatest Showman’ ride and Tunde’s ‘Burna Boy’ ride. As soon as we saw the announcement about the Lil Wayne ride, our texts lit up! The special rides are really fun to look forward to as a group.”
And, during these uncertain times, Kate says the Bike has become their “anchor.” “Since we’re all physically isolated, the classes bring us together,” she says. “They give us fun things to talk about, to look forward to and they’re a great reward after a hard day.” The only downside is they keep recruiting new riders at work and the “FOMO is real” while they wait for their Bike to be delivered.
Sara knows that in these challenging times, everyone is asked to do so much every single day, and it’s really overwhelming. “When Robin looks into the center camera and says, ‘How are you really?’ Cue the ugly crying! I love that right after an emotional ride, phones start lighting up from coworkers with, ‘Who's crying?’ Cause I'm not crying!’… Okay, spoiler alert—we're ALL crying!”