When media pundits discuss industries hit hard by the pandemic, they often focus on restaurants and travel. Few people talk about fitness facilities. However, the nature of their industry relies on in-person contact, and they’ve endured multiple changes.
Two years in, understandably, even some of your most dedicated staff might be low on morale. What can you do? Here are seven ways yoga retreat owners can keep employees motivated during COVID-19.
1. Give Employees a Voice in Changes
Uncertainty. That word has hung in the air for way too long, causing a widespread sense of helplessness and despair. One of the best things you can do as a retreat owner is restoring your staff’s sense of agency, the idea that their actions can make a difference in their daily existence.
You hired your employees because you trust them to do the best job possible, so you should regularly ask them for their input and ideas. They already have a stake in the game — their livelihood depends on your business success — so call team meetings. Ask and implement staff suggestions.
2. Provide PPE
Yoga focuses on deep breathing. Is it compatible with mask use? In many cases, yes — although requiring everyone to wear one might prove problematic for participants who wear glasses.
Whether or not you require masks inside your facility is a matter you should decide collectively with your team. You might also ask attendees how they feel by designing an anonymous questionnaire to gather their input.
However, you should keep supplies such as hand sanitizer and disposable masks on the premises. It’s smart to keep sanitizing stations near all entrances — including those to individual rooms. Many people will take the hint to clean their paws if they see a dispenser. Masks offer some protection to the wearer, so including a box is a courtesy for those who forget.
3. Provide Rapid Tests
It’s a severe pandemic problem. You’re supposed to quarantine when you have COVID-19 symptoms. However, individual tests are hard to come by. Some pharmacies have wait times of a week or more, at which point your employees would be back on the clock, anyway, in most cases.
However, some businesses have begun offering testing as a benefit. If you have the means to do so, offering this amenity can reduce absenteeism significantly. Your staff can request a test and know within 24 hours whether it’s safe for them to return to work.
You can also employ this strategy with your customers. You may request that incoming attendees get tested before participating in group events, keeping everyone safer, from your staff to your other clients.
4. Upgrade Your Cleaning Practices
If you formerly relied on participants to wipe down borrowed mats after each use, you might want to step up your cleaning game. Scientists believe it may be possible to catch COVID-19 from touching contaminated surfaces. Even if you can’t, cold and flu germs can linger on mats for a day or more.
Hire a professional crew or take over stricter sanitation measures. You don’t have to do it alone — train your team in proper disinfection measures to take after each session.
5. Consider Outdoor Sessions
There’s a far lower chance that you’ll catch COVID-19 outdoors. The virus primarily spreads through airborne droplets, and having them naturally dissipate makes it less likely you’ll inhale someone else’s germs.
Consider moving some or all of your yoga sessions and any other activities outdoors. Doing so might even turn into an unintended advertising opportunity, depending on your location. If onlookers see how much relaxation and fun participants have, they might feel inspired to visit your retreat.
Another option for retreats is to consider giving every guest their own room, unless sharing with a family member or friend. Get creative so you can allow them to enjoy the atmosphere and many of the benefits of the retreat while participating in activities virtually from their room if they so choose.
6. Contemplate Expanding to the Virtual World
Another option you have is to expand some of the offerings of your retreat to the virtual world. Doing so could help you retain some of your most valuable instructors. For example, someone might have a heart condition that makes teaching in-person classes risky.
Could you grow your business through exposure on YouTube? Some groups set up a portal where individual participants can pay to take part in yoga experiences live, online, instead of following a prerecorded video. Either method benefits participants and instructors with health concerns. Transferring some aspects of your business online,even just temporarily, might help you retain members who would otherwise leave to save money on a service they couldn’t use in person.
Keeping Your Employees Motivated During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on many industries, and fitness-based, in-person studios and retreats were among some of the hardest hit. Your staff is the lifeblood of your business. Follow the seven tips above to keep your employees motivated during this trying time.