Inside Prince Harry's new company BetterUp where staff 'surf their soul', enjoy fancy dress, yoga and 'self-actualise'

HAVING grown-up in the Royal world of the stiff upper lip and hunting to let off steam, Prince Harry might find his new workplace to be a bit of a culture shock.

The Duke of Sussex’s first full time job since leaving Britain for a new life in California is ‘chief impact officer’ at the life coaching app BetterUp.

His employers are an uber woke tech startup based in San Francisco which is not like any company most Brits are used to.

BetterUp gives its staff five days off a year for "inner work days" so they can self-reflect and the office has a dog to help relieve stress.

Harry might need a crash course in corporate jargon just so he can understand their website, which is packed with terms such as “self-actualisation” and “actionable insights”.

The environmental campaigning Prince will also have to get used to working for BetterUp’s very ungreen clients such as oil giant Chevron.

Here we look at what Harry can expect from his new employer:

Surf your soul

The perks include unlimited holidays and five days off a year to work on your inner self.

One employee spent those days sitting on a beach “surfing in his soul".

The office is just as touchy-feely, with an office dog called Gordo that staff can pet if they need to calm down.

Employees are allowed to bring pets to work, so Harry could take along his dogs Guy and Pula.

There are also weekly yoga sessions and if that doesn’t help Harry unwind, there is a punch bag and boxing gloves in the communal area.

Boxing trainers come in every Monday and Wednesday so that staff can take out any aggression in a healthy way.

He never went surfing in the water. He went surfing in his soul

Colleagues of the former party Prince will be relieved to know that there is no pool table for him to get naked around. 

Dressing up is more in tune with thinking at BetterUp – photos show staff wearing rainbow unicorn outfits at a ‘winter retreat’ and sporting monkey fancy dress for Halloween. 

It's no wonder that some employees talk about the company as being more of a "family".

But while the satisfaction rating workers give to the company is high, manycomplain in anonymous posts of “burn-out” and accuse BetterUp not practicing the “wellness” it preaches.

Meet the guru boss

BetterUp was co-founded by Alexi Robichaux who wore a spacesuit when giving a lecture to scientists.

The devout Christian claims he formed BetterUp after enjoying an "epiphany" while walking for ten hours a day along a pilgrim's path in northern Spain known as the Camino de Santiago.

He asked himself: “Why was I helping people after work, but building software at work? Why not just do the two together?”

Alexi became fascinated by 'positive psychology' which was focused on how someone "high-functioning” becomes “a superstar.”

Born in Dallas, Texas, his parents moved to California when he was young and he became a software geek, learning how to program by the age of 15.

We have to work on ourselves

Having been promoted to an executive role in software firm VMWare his “blood pressure spiked and I wasn’t sleeping right.”

Alexi quit in order to find himself and formed BetterUp with his friend Eduardo Medina eight years ago.

Tinder for mental health

The company uses an algorithm to hook customers up with the right lifestyle coach.

But if you don’t like the look of who’s on offer, you can just swipe and find another just like the dating app Tinder.

Prince Harry, a long time campaigner for better mental health, has already been receiving advice from a BetterUp coach.

Those coaches claim to"equip you to better navigate critical moments in your career.”

Certainly, Harry is at a critical moment, having had the umbilical cord of financial support cut from him.

BetterUp says their coaches help customers build “resilience or self-compassion” or their “prioritisation skills.”

Big corporations, such as chocolate company Mars, provide the BetterUp apps to their more senior staff.

The workers log in for weekly 30 minute video or phone coaching sessions and also have access to emergency support.

These firms hope that the lifestyle advice will help them retain employees and reduce the number of sick days taken.

 

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