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Podcast No. 83: Back to Work with WHOOP

July 22, 2020

WHOOP is ready to help you get back to work.

By Will Ahmed

Listen, review, subscribe.

Our Chief Business Officer, Deborah Poole, makes her WHOOP Podcast debut to talk about how we’re helping businesses, sports leagues, and organizations around the globe keep their employees as safe as possible by providing them with 24/7 health monitoring.

Deborah and I discuss our groundbreaking partnerships with the PGA and LPGA, how WHOOP is helping the University of Tennessee return to campus, smokejumpers fighting forest fires and using WHOOP, plus why the world’s largest construction site trusts WHOOP to monitor the health and well-being of more than 10,000 workers.

As always, stay healthy, stay in the green, and keep your respiratory rate flat!

Back to Work Podcast Show Notes:

4:14 – The Origins of WHOOP Back to Work. “When the COVID pandemic hit, WHOOP was really on the forefront of some of the most innovative research that was happening around what you could learn about the body and what you could learn from biometric data if you had a 24/7 continuous wearable on. We were in the process of publishing some really explicit and detailed research when a very public, real life example occurred, and that is the Nick Watney story. … That really changed something for us as an organization and we said, ‘WHOOP is not just a powerful tool in the workplace, it’s also going to help employers go back to work.’ This is a really crazy time in the world and employers have never spent more time thinking about this question: ‘How do I keep my employees safe and healthy and keep my business thriving?’”

7:08 – On the Cutting Edge. “It really is amazing to think about how primitive it seems like some of the solutions are that businesses are using right now to return to work safely. Is a temperature check before you walk in really all that effective? At that point, don’t you already know you have symptoms? I think we forget sometimes at WHOOP the workplace just how innovative we are. We started using red recoveries in early March to determine whether or not someone should come into the office. If you had a red recovery, you shouldn’t come into the office, the thinking being that either you’re getting sick or your body is rundown and is susceptible to getting sick, and of course that’s a policy that we’ve held onto during this pandemic.”

8:33 – Tracking Respiratory Rate. “The respiratory rate discovery for us with the research partners that we worked with and then seeing that play out on the PGA Tour as a case study, it really opened my eyes to how impactful WHOOP could be in this moment to help teams think about coming back together safely.”

11:50 – Rethinking Employee Benefits. “[Health monitoring] is viewed as probably the most powerful and relevant employee benefit you could offer to your employees at this time. We’ve had a lot of folks reach out and say, ‘There’s a lot of stuff we used to offer that’s really irrelevant right now. Some of the perks in our employee kitchens, some of our employee lounges, these are things that are unused or empty … [WHOOP] is what I want to offer my employees instead. Something that can help them monitor their own health, check their respiratory rate every morning, and take care of their families and professional lives in a better way.’”

13:26 – Back to School. Deborah details the groundbreaking partnership between WHOOP and the University of Tennessee that has outfitted every athlete at the school with a WHOOP strap to monitor their health, safety, and performance.

15:07 – Making Construction Safer. Deborah and Will talk about the partnership with the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, where over 10,000 construction workers have been wearing WHOOP while building a $15 billion city for the event formerly known as the World’s Fair. “We are on the wrist of thousands and thousands of construction workers every day and we are committed to helping them stay healthy, stay well, and identify risk as early as possible. These are people working in challenging conditions: It’s really hot, construction anywhere is dangerous, and they’ve got a big job to do. We are very proud to be a partner of theirs.”

17:47 – Smokejumpers with WHOOP. Deborah details a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Forest Service to monitor the health of firefighters as they travel the country battling dangerous forest fires. “This is not where you get to call out sick, this is not a job that can be done remotely, this is a job that is incredibly dangerous on a good day. These people are real American heroes. They are referred to as America’s first responders because they are literally protecting the country. It’s an incredible group of men and women and they are now using WHOOP for their personal tactical wellness and COVID protection.”

21:34 – Why 24/7 Health Monitoring is Critical. “It’s not just enough to make your place of work safe if you’re serious about keeping your employees ready to perform. You actually have to help them in their whole lives.”

24:19 – Privacy Settings. Your privacy is critical to WHOOP and no member’s data will ever be shared without their consent. WHOOP is offering two types of privacy protections for enterprise business partners:

  • Fully Private: An employee’s WHOOP data will never be shared with the employer.
  • Management Alerting: In certain industries with different regulatory requirements, WHOOP will trigger an alert to management if an employee sees a meaningful spike in their respiratory rate.

25:12 – Is WHOOP Right for Your Organization? “We’re really talking to the full spectrum of organizations. We’re talking about small and medium sized businesses that might be buying WHOOP licenses for 50 or 100 people and that’s the entire staff, all the way up to some of the largest global players, folks you’re going to read about or see on the New York Stock Exchange, companies with 50,000 or 100,000 employees.”

27:00 – The WHOOP Sleep Bonus. “We give people a $100 a month bonus if they get over 85% of their sleep performance, so we literally pay people to get more sleep.”

30:12 – Positive Benefits our Members Experience. “We have seen meaningful and sustained behavioral changes in every population that we’ve studied.”


  • 41 minutes more sleep per night
  • 10% increase in high-quality sleep


  • 87% of WHOOP members reported a positive impact on their professional life
  • 20% reduction in reports of feeling ill


  • 10% reduction in alcohol consumption before bed
  • 3 more workouts completed every month
  • 50% reduction in late night caffeine consumption

35:49 – Will’s Vision. “I get asked a lot, ‘Did you expect to be serving us?’ Fill in the blank, construction worker or healthcare worker or someone who is a little outside of that stereotypical WHOOP consumer. What I say is ‘Yes.’ Inevitably I’ve believed that everyone will move towards 24/7 health monitoring, I think what COVID-19 does is just move that timeline way up.”

Learn more about how WHOOP Unite can elevate well-being for all teams and people.

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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.