My London: Entrepreneur Ted Mayborn about his business Hukso

Feb 11, 2021 by

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Hukso is a Swedish inspired company who focuses on the workplace of tomorrow for long-term success. The business was born in 2017 and target companies who value wellbeing and a healthy environment for their employees. Meet Ted Mayborn, the CEO of the company and learn more about the journey of Hukso, his best tips for young entrepreneurs and his life in London.

 

Hi Ted, tell us more about you, what’s your story?
Ted Mayborn is a 39-year-old from Stockholm who’s on a quest to improve quality of life for workers across the globe, starting in the UK. I have always swum upstream, trying to do things that can’t be done as life without challenges is like ice cream without sprinkles. I am definitely a jack of all trades who loves to connect with people, especially people who do not share my beliefs or opinions as this truly is a great way to expand your mind and increase compassion. I use to mainly enjoy holidays in the sun but after having lived in Australia I equally enjoy a winter break. 

 

 

 

Why did you end up in London?
I moved to London from Australia, in 2012, after studying Public Health at the University of Sunshine Coast. Living in Crystal Palace, with my now fiancé, I continued my studies, although I changed my focus to Nutrition and Exercise Science. It was also here in the UK, at Westminster University, that I met my business partner Tiago. 

 

Why did you choose to start a company in England instead of Sweden?
This is a multi-layered question; I wanted to learn ‘how to fly’ and to do so, you need air beneath your wings. What I mean is that in Sweden you are very much protected. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to go through the hardship of running a business without giving up, you can’t have a plethora of options to fall back on. 

 

Then you have the more obvious reason, the UK being a much bigger market. This is not a guarantee for success, but you’re more likely to have a sustainable business, even if you only tap into a niche market. 

 

Tell us about your company Hukso Ltd and the services you provide.
Hukso was born in 2017 to create the workplace of tomorrow. We aim to combat sedentary behaviour and overlong days, as this is not a recipe for long-term success.  

 

Our approach is two-fold: first, we provide an assessment service. This can be for office-based companies of any size, from start-up to large enterprise, and (soon) also to individuals who work in a remote setting. The assessment will establish the issues they are faced with and thus create a more targeted approach. The second aspect of our business is a retail platform where people can buy products and services to create a better work environment. These vary from employee coaching to exercise mats. While we don’t require people to buy our assessment service, to better understand your situation we do recommend it.  

 

Products from Hukso, massage roller and yoga mat. More at Huksowellbeing

 

Why does wellbeing and health in the workplace matter?
For some time, we’ve been moving in the wrong direction when it comes to workplace wellbeing. Many industries have almost eliminated manual labour which has increased sedentary behaviour. Furthermore, although the official working day has not been extended, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the only way forward is to put in the hours.

 

We’ve also been led to believe that the only way to succeed is to be thick-skinned, and that compassion and appreciation for the people around you are not traits that will get you very far. These values are cornerstones in many company cultures. Whilst there are some ethical companies, many develop poor workplace culture when ownership changes hands from founders to shareholders. This is when financial gain often becomes the sole purpose of a company’s operation. By prioritising workplace wellbeing, a company will not only gain the love and respect of their employees but also reap other rewards. Many studies have shown that the quality of work and longevity of the business is greatly improved by investing in the workplace.

 

…and what is your version of an ideal workplace?
In maths, there’s something called the ‘lowest common denominator’. This is something I’ve extrapolated and applied to life in general. When you do something in life, you need to have an interest, however small, in what it is you’re doing. If not, you’ll simply stop doing it. For instance, you might not enjoy your day-to-day work, but your relationships with your co-workers are good enough that it balances out. My ideal workplace is one where every single worker has a common denominator that is good enough for them to do their job with purpose and pride. I’d also like to see a reduction in working hours and sedentary behaviour, but this will happen through social awareness, promotion, education and technological advancements.

 

Hukso coffee 

 

What is the next step in the Hukso journey?
We’re about to launch an individual assessment for remote workers as working from home has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want people to have a setup that is up to standard, as working from home is likely to continue even after the pandemic is over. This approach is revolutionary as there is nothing quite like it out there. Our assessment encompasses all relevant parameters for individuals working from home.

 

What is the hardest part about starting a business from the bottom?
The hardest part is that no matter what happens, you have to keep believing in yourself and your project. You can’t give up because ‘progress comes from persistence, not perfection’. Also, a lot of your time and financial resources are given to the new business, leaving less to enjoy with friends and family.

 

Meeting with co-worker. Photo: SmartBreak

 

Give your best tips for start-up entrepreneurs:
Stick to your guns and make sure that you utilise your strengths. If you lack knowledge in some areas, I recommend partnering up with someone that complements your skillset. 

 

How has Brexit affected you and your business?
So far Brexit has not affected us. Even though we do import some goods from Europe, we don’t expect this to be a major setback to our business. We have had thoughts of expanding the business into Europe at some point, and perhaps this is the time to do so.

 

What are the biggest differences between life in Sweden and life in the UK?
First of all, I’m aware that London doesn’t really represent the rest of the UK, as culture and nature are very different. Having said that, I’d say the natural element is the most prominent difference to Sweden, as even for someone like me who grew up in Stockholm, nature is always on your doorstep. I do miss that. Secondly, the culture in London is much more diverse and immersive. People here are trying to stand out rather than fit in, which allows for people to be who they truly are.  

 

Ted visiting Burford, Cotswolds

 

When you’re not working, what do you like doing?
Anything to do with nature. What I miss the most from home is the forest. Being able to immerse yourself in woodland and not hear any man-made noise: that’s bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I love many things about London, but as with anything you need balance. I tend to do a fair bit of my workouts in the local park as I don’t care for being cooped up in a gym. 

 

Tell us about your all-time London-favourites.
I really enjoy the performing arts. One of the best experiences I’ve had was a few years ago when I saw the immersive theatre near Paddington. You could walk around the set while the actors were performing and watch them from any angle, and really lose yourself in the experience. 

 

Finally: What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?
On a personal level, I think my dreams are in line with everyone else’s, and that is for the pandemic to go away. Despite that, I’ve learnt a lot about myself during this time, especially to appreciate what I’ve got. On a professional level, I hope Hukso can reach more businesses and working professionals, so we can set a new standard for the modern workplace, one that is sustainable and creates a thriving population.

 

 

For more information about Hukso services and products, or to get in touch with Ted, visit Hukso.com