As the 19th of July – Freedom Day in the UK – signals a return to life as we once knew it, a lot of venues are remaining understandably cautious. Gyms and leisure centre owners are taking particular care to keep customers and staff safe – and to prevent closures due to employees having to self-isolate having been zapped by the app. Gyms face some unique challenges in this respect as, unlike other kinds of businesses, they contain a large amount of equipment that is touched by multiple people every day. Additionally, the fact that gym customers are perspiring and breathing heavily is a concern – the COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets emitted when breathing, speaking, sneezing and coughing and, by contact with skin.
Working the room
In the UK, 7% of the adult population holds a gym membership – that’s a staggering 4.5 million adults to be kept fit, healthy and safe.
Gym owners are battling to keep their venus safe by putting in place a number of procedures, including:
Cleaning – Increased and intensive cleaning and disinfecting of equipment has now become a daily standard for most gyms and leisure centres and, can help to significantly decrease the chance of transmission of COVID-19 through skin contact when using the equipment.
Testing – The regular testing of gym staff has become the norm since our fitness centres re-opened and, staff are encouraged to install the track and trace app as well as taking the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Windows – Keeping windows open not only helps to keep gym-goers cool but also introduces vital ventilation into the premises to improve airflow and help to keep the virus at bay.
Payment – Remember cash? Nope, neither do we. Like so many businesses, gyms have been reducing hand to hand contact by introducing electronic payment methods for customers.
One way – A huge number of gyms have chosen to keep their one-way systems in place in order to prevent unnecessary contact.
Going The Distance
One of the most important things for businesses – including gyms – is, of course, social distancing. Although government legislation has now been scrapped, recommended guidelines are still in place and, gyms are faced with trying to figure out how to keep staff and customers socially distanced while retaining enough customers to keep their business afloat.
Many gyms and leisure centres have been forced to remove some equipment in order to implement social distancing but are still having to deal with a large number of customers within their space at any given time.
“It’s important to stay positive and keep people’s spirits up and, we’ve implemented several ways to keep people positive, including free gym reboots and encouraging people to put their phones down at 8 pm and, instead, to engage with real live people”. Lee Butterworth, Owner, Xtreme Fitness, Lillyhall
The Numbers Game
Some proactive gym owners have been tackling this issue by getting on board with an effective scheduling tool like Booksy. While Booksy is primarily used by the hair and beauty industry, this can be incredibly useful for fitness businesses whose very survival relies on getting as many people into a space as possible.
This online tool and app work by using artificial intelligence (AI) in order to calculate the timings of appointments and the length of time that an appointment should take. While you may be thinking that this is something that you can do manually, you’re right – you can but, this will almost certainly not be as efficient and effective as the work done by an AI-powered tool. For gym owners, using a tool like Booksy can help in the following ways:
Timing – The app can perform intelligent scheduling for gyms and leisure centres. This tool makes light work of making sure that gym owners are able to manage the number of people on the premises at any time by working out how long each customer will need based on previous visits.
Lifting waits – One of the major problems for hair, beauty and fitness venus is the fact that customers will often congregate within a waiting area or reception which, of course, increases the risk of transmission. The Booksy app can help to eliminate this by alerting customers when it’s time for their appointment to begin. This means that customers are able to wait safely in the car while they wait for their appointment, rather than in a communal waiting area.
Self-service – With the Booksy app, customers are able to book their own appointments quickly and easily (and at any time of day or night). For gym owners, this means not just added convenience but also allows them to reduce staffing levels in order to improve social distancing.
Inventory – A bit of a bonus for gym managers is the fact that Booksy also has some great inventory features which can help to save a huge amount of time during the average week. As with the last point, this can also be useful in reducing staff numbers and improving distancing.
Tapping the tech for the fitness industry
The role of gym owner or manager has changed significantly since these venues were re-opened earlier this year and, these already complex roles now include responsibility for keeping premises as safe as possible. This means that managers need to pay close attention to staff and customers and to take the appropriate action if somebody is unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Because of this, developers are looking into introducing further integrations for the NHS Track & Trace app which may include integrations with scheduling software to make the role of gym manager a little easier. This will no doubt be welcome news for businesses who are keen to use modern technology to move their businesses forward safely while serving as many customers as possible.
For customers, being able to go to the gym can be incredibly important for their physical and mental wellbeing – something which suffered greatly during the lockdowns. For business owners, the priority is to keep their premises as safe as possible to avoid devastating closures should their employees test positive for COVID-19. While it’s important for everybody – staff and customers alike – to do their bit to eliminate the threat of the virus, gym owners are looking for anything which will help them to provide business as usual while keeping everybody safe. Booksy provides a safe and efficient solution for gym owners – and one which is much more affordable than closures due to localised outbreaks.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.