SoulCycle is cutting employee pay by 25 percent in response to studio closures across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. In an internal memo to full- and part-time staffers this week, SoulCycle said it will also furlough select employees without pay to allow them to seek potential unemployment benefits, with adjustments expected to take place over the next 30 days.
“In an effort to protect our teams in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic yet remain in the strongest position to reopen our studios globally, SoulCycle has had to make a number of difficult decisions that impact individual roles and payroll at all levels of the organization, including implementing pay reductions and furloughs for employees unable to work due to studio closures,” a SoulCycle spokesperson told The Verge.
“Our people, who bring this brand to life every day for our riders and our communities, are at the core of everything we do. Through these actions, we are able to continue to compensate the majority of our workforce with as minimal a reduction in pay as possible, while continuing to provide health benefits and access to mental health services to all employees enrolled.”
SoulCycle did not specify how many furloughed employees would be impacted; this group includes some of the company’s lowest paid staff such as front desk receptionists, key holders, and cleaning crews. The company has had a tough few years even before the pandemic; in 2018, it scrapped years-long plans to launch an IPO citing unfavorable market conditions while competing with the highly popular Peloton bike. Still, this week’s furloughs are a stark contrast to other companies that have decided to layoff mass amounts of their workforce in response to the pandemic, including Rent the Runway, ZipRecruiter, and Bird.
The move comes just weeks after SoulCycle launched its at-home bike that was part of Variis, a new streaming fitness app from its parent company, Equinox Media. SoulCycle began taking preorders for the bike on March 13th and was expected to ship in select cities later in the spring. The Variis app that powers the bike also offers other Equinox classes subscribers can stream on their mobile devices, though the library is likely to be limited as no new content is being filmed at this time. Equinox Media told The Verge that some classes were recorded before studio closures and are currently in post-production, though it is unclear how often they will be released or how many classes are currently in reserve. In the meantime, SoulCycle instructors are hosting their own live classes on their Instagram pages for off-bike workouts, while Equinox has been releasing free weekly content on its IGTV channel.