Behind the Scenes at 3-1-5 – The story behind a lockdown
Each time there has been a lockdown, we receive lots of messages and emails asking questions about what’s happening with the club/memberships and why. And so this week I thought I would try to answer these for you, with a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes at 3-1-5 when we get the news of a new lockdown.
Wednesday the 30th December – Prime Minister‘s announcement, tells us that we need to close
Our team digests the news alongside the nation, and begin to put things into place, we contact our membership system providers to see how quickly we can begin the freeze process for memberships. With the bank holiday, and then the weekend, plus the compulsory lead time required by the banking system; we are told the earliest opportunity for this to be put into place will be the 6th of January. With that confirmed, our Admin Manager begins the necessary process of making changes required at our end facilitate this.
Extra team members are called in to help clean the club ready for the closure, phone messages are changed, email auto responses are added, and classes are cancelled for the following day. All team members are then contacted to advise not to come in for their shifts tomorrow.
Thursday 31st of December – Not the New Years Eve any of us had planned!
A management meeting is called for first thing in the morning, and we begin to put a plan together. How will we be communicating to members? Which staff will be furloughed? What bills can be put on hold or cancelled? We FaceTime our Buildings Manager (who happens to be on holiday in the Maldives!) and he talks us through shutting down the building, to save as much water, electricity, gas etc and prevent any issues with our complicated pool plant system.
A basic communication is put together to send to all our members, to let them know we are thinking of them and will be in touch with more details very soon – we have to request special permission to send this to all members in order to override GDPR preferences. A full performance team meeting is called for Monday morning.
The remainder of all classes, inductions, and personal training appointments are individually cancelled for the next two months. This manual process takes us around 12 hours to complete.
Monday, the 5th of January – Time to get planning!
The full performance team gather on zoom to discuss what we can offer? What has worked well in the past 2 lockdowns? What hasn’t? Who is able to volunteer some time to help? Who is most confident or comfortable with teaching live online? And who would people prefer to be in the background helping with technology or perhaps even pre-record something? All ideas are put together and an action plan is decided upon. Now it’s time to put it into practice.
Our membership system and Direct Debit providers confirm that everything is in place at their side, so we can confirm to our members what will be happening with their memberships. The amending of memberships can only be done in bulk across the board, and so there are around 600 changes that now need to be manually and individually processed. It’s all hands on deck, but with now very reduced workforce we know that, although we will do everything we can to prevent it, some people are going to have payments taken before we can get to them.
Meanwhile over 400 emails and Facebook messages have been received in the last couple of days, and we start to go through these, the vast majority almost move us to tears with the comments of support and understanding (it’s just what we need right now). Lots of other people have important questions, and so we write our communication to confirm what’s happening with memberships etc. and hope this helps alleviate the majority of peoples questions or any uncertainty.
Tuesday, the 6th of January – Working through the plan!
Marian and myself catch up to plan our virtual timetable, what videos do we already have? How much more can we offer? We plan it out and send it over to be designed so it looks pretty enough, to allow us to send it out to all our members.
We now get started on loading all these to the system and scheduling them, this is a big job the videos are generally between 30 minutes and 45 minutes and take a long time to upload. Some classes for example Body Pump are more simple as you tend to follow the same course for 12 weeks no matter what day of the week you attend – so one video can be added to all classes. However other classes like Zumba or circuits / strength and conditioning etc tend to be different each week and so these classes involve a lot of planning to make sure that they revolve over the coming few weeks to ensure variety. We want to offer as much to all our members as we possibly can during this time.
The virtual timetable takes a couple of days to complete, in the meantime we are also working through the ever growing number of emails & Facebook queries coming in, and we begin to advertise our Saturday Survival class.
The team are meeting up on Zoom to plan, rehearse & test out the technology to ensure everything runs smoothly and we begin writing our weekly newsletter & creating the FitSense workout.
The next few days
These pass in a blur of planning and scheduling classes, answering queries, continuing to amend membership packages where needed and taking part in Saturdays fantastic class, hosted by Ben, Sandie and Johnny!
The coming weeks will continue to follow a similar pattern, working hard to keep costs as far down as possible, whilst still making sure we offer you all the service, motivation and help you deserve. The club doors may be closed but we certainly aren’t sat around relaxing and waiting until we can reopen again, there is planning and preparation going into everything we do, from looking at the future to see what more we can offer once we reopen, to going over risk assessments again and again to make sure when we do open we will be compliant, trying to guess what restrictions may or may not be put in place so we are fully prepared to reopen soon as we possibly can. But one thing is for sure though, we certainly wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the amazing dedication of our team who have been volunteering to help out, and of course YOU our loyal and supportive members. Who between donations to the club, messages of understanding, and continuing to pay a small percentage of your direct debit is what will keep us here for the future! We really do appreciate every single bit of support that we get, in any and every form.
As a small family business in a large building we have unfortunately been ineligible for the majority of grants available to our sector, and as many of you will understand there are a lot more running costs associated with a club our size that still need paying even when the door are closed. From insurances and affiliation/subscription fees, to utility bills, phone/broadband/music licences etc. The list is almost endless.
The number of fitness facilities that have closed in this area over the last 2 years is testament to how much your clubs need you! So again thank you from the bottom our hearts for all of your support. #WeAreAllInThisTogether #315Family!
Stay Safe & Stay Active Deena & The Team!