Fitness is a journey—you can’t think short-term. It’s all about building habits, committing to the long term, establishing goals, and executing. While this is probably something you tell your clients when they’re hesitant to sign a 12-month contract or when they try to cancel their membership, it’s also something you need to think about as we start getting back to normal after the coronavirus lockdowns.
You’re probably looking at the last few months as some of the most trying times in your existence. You may have faced cash flow and revenue challenges, had to make tough decisions so that you could make it to this point, and you may be worried whether you can survive at reduced capacity.
Getting from New Normal to True Normal: Better Operations for Long-Term Fitness Industry Sustainability
With nearly every state allowing gyms to reopen—albeit with stipulations—you’ve made the preparations and implemented new business practices for the ‘new normal’. But it pays to ask yourself if and when we’re going to move from new normal to true normal—and decide what that means for your facility.
Start with the Now
You’re ready to get back to normal. It’s safe to assume that most Americans are as well.
But the government lockdowns were no different to your business than an injury is to a client. Recovery needs to start slow—it’s easy to re-injure yourself if you move too fast.
That said, as you plan for the ramp-up and continued operation of your fitness facilities, Phase 3 and Phase 4 are only part of your recovery journey. This is all about pace and pragmatism. Follow the requirements, keep in communication with your members, staff, and public, and focus on shaking off the atrophy.
Turn New Normal into Better Operations Post-COVID
During this initial recovery phase, however, you need to start looking at the long-term health and safety of your business. You wouldn’t recommend a client jumps into a marathon a month off the couch.
As you begin to increase capacity at your facilities, it’s important to remember that you’re just monitoring many of the required safety procedures a bit more tightly. However, these aren’t just short-term fixes; small improvements today can help your business stay cleaner, safer, and better-protected in the future post-pandemic:
- Focus on cleaner facilities, more courteous members. Equipment cleaning was always required. Now you have easy-to-find sanitization stations, increasingly aware patrons, and a reason to enforce this rule.
- Set clearer rules for straightforward enforcement. Clear communication and active enforcement of safety protocols is a must. How do you expect to deal with people who violate the rules? You need to implement this into your policies and communicate them to your staff.
- Updated contracts, better waivers. Look over your contracts and waivers. Protecting your members and staff is priority number one—and it pays to look at the recent events as a learning experience. When is the last time you had an attorney look over your waivers and membership agreements? Make sure you’re protected from a variety of legal dangers—not just ones that might pop-up in 2020.
- Facilitate check-ins. One of the many actions you can take during the crisis that will improve safety now, contactless check-in is also something that can reinforce your commitment to convenience long after we go back to normal. In turn, this can give your staff more flexibility to help people on the floor, clean, and ultimately create a better experience for members.
- Reiterate the value of wellness in your external communications. One of the biggest realizations of the pandemic is the ill-effects of poor health. Being able to communicate the value of health to potential members in mitigating the impact of common diseases (without sounding profiteering) is going to go a long way in improving the way that you operate. Wellness facilitates everything from shorter colds to improved mental health.
- Reimagine Your Facilities. While you were likely required to make modifications for social distancing, why not use this as a way to improve your facilities. Track usage of machines, the flow of members through your facilities, and think about how to use this information to better draw out your facilities when attendance doubles in size.
- Train your staff. In the same way that someone who gets in shape for a wedding falls back into bad habits after the pictures are taken and the vows are said, the return to more normalcy is going to result in a lot of backsliding both for members and staff. Understanding how to prevent this requires a commitment to training and a focus on long-term facility safety.
Think about Many Different Scenarios
While the temporary landscape is well-defined, the long-term landscape is not. While the tips above are designed to help you turn short-term changes into long-term habits, decide how you will react when the world starts to experience real normalcy.
Start thinking about how the regulatory and legal environment is going to be in September. Plan for the influx of business set to hit you in January. Plan for the safe operating of your business then.
But also think about the potential for re-lockdown. Should you start looking at options to run virtual classes? Should you think about getting ahead of the safety mandates?
There with You: Acadia Insurance
No matter how you look at it, the one question you need to ask is, “How can you take steps to long-term business health?” From health clubs to tennis clubs, you have unique challenges regardless of how the next year shakes out. That’s why we, at Acadia Insurance, have unique services and packages that can help you protect your fitness facilities.
With AcadiaFit, a targeted coverage option for gym and fitness studios’ unique exposures, you get tailored service that could include:
- Professional Liability
- Legal Liability Coverage
- Coverage for Property of Others
- Abuse or Molestation Coverage
- Property Coverage for Refreshment Stand Operations
- Workers Compensation Coverage
Get to know more about us and how we help you protect the health and wellness of your fitness industry business. Find an agent and request a quote today.
Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers. Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.
Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued