Cuckoo Workout: Wellbeing game encourages office workers to become active

Sitting is killing you. Long periods spent sitting are considered one of the key reasons behind the obesity epidemic. Research suggests that even short sessions of physical exercise significantly reduce the harm caused by sitting. Tekes's Skene – Games Refueled programme supported the creation of a wellbeing game that will get office workers out of their chairs.

In 2013, Veera Lehmonen and her colleague Ida Mänty, who were aware of the dangers of excessive sitting, began doing jumping jacks in their workplace during short breaks.

"Our exercise sessions attracted more people – soon, as many as eight people had gathered together for jumping sessions. We must have looked a little cuckoo. We quickly took our idea to a business incubator and in January 2014 launched our business and became full-time entrepreneurs," Ida Mänty says, describing the birth of Cuckoo Workout. According to Veera Lehmonen, the time was ripe to set up a company.

"Passivity during the workday is a major problem that has not been addressed until very recently. Activity levels fall, the metabolism slows and people develop neck and shoulder problems," she says.

Aiming towards healthier, more energetic employees

Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Cuckoo Workout is an online wellbeing game for working communities. It reminds workers to take regular breaks throughout the day. The programme alerts them at least three times a day, encouraging them to exercise for three minutes at a time – although nothing prevents them for training longer.

"Various activity, posture and brain exercise videos guide the user on taking breaks. As they complete the exercises, workers earn points for themselves and their working community. These points unlock new levels in the game. The exercises must be performed during working hours, because we want to motivate those who do not exercise in their free time," Lehmonen says.

Tekes's support was invaluable

The Cuckoo Workout game currently runs on the most popular web browsers and will be available for mobile devices in early autumn 2015. So far, the service has only been available for b2b users, but the company plans to develop a free version for private consumers.

"What tells us apart from traditional gaming business is the way our product combines everyday life, entertainment and benefits. We are our own target audience and do things with the end user's perspective in mind," the ladies say.

Tekes's Skene – Games Refueled programme played a key role in the company's development. Funding helped them to automate the product and make it feel more like a game, by introducing traditional gaming elements such as activity stars and a map view. Cooperation with Tekes also enabled the company to hire a developer and to chart the US market.

"Our team would not function without its strengthened resources. We also had the opportunity to travel to the United States in order to become more familiar with our target market. We hope to enter the US market within five years," Mänty says.

For further information, please contact

Veera Lehmonen
tel. +358 44 9923 744
veera (at)

Ida Mänty
tel. +358 40 7474 540
ida (at)

Text: SST Viestintä
Images: Cuckoo Workout

Kaj Nordgren