As many of the Belgravia Leisure facilities across Australia begin to reopen, we had a chat with the team at Annette Kellerman Aquatic Leisure Centre about their plans for reopening and how they stayed in touch with one another during the long lockdown period.
Staying in touch with one another and with members
“AKAC has always been an extremely social place to work,” said Rosie Keogh, Centre Manager. “We’re not just workmates but also friends outside of work with our colleagues and members.” The temporary closures were enforced just as the team at AKAC were nearing the end of their members’ 6-week challenge. To keep members on track and to ensure they could complete the challenge, the AKAC team filmed some workouts and shared them on the 6-week Challenge Facebook Group.
The team also started a staff profile section on Facebook, sharing information about team members and what they had been getting up to during shutdown. They engaged members by asking them to also share what they been doing to stay active during this time, creating great dialogue between members and staff and ensuring they stayed connected even if they couldn’t attend the facility.
Plans for reopening
Rosie shared how the team has been busy preparing the centre for reopening and ensuring that it would comply with social distancing and hygiene regulations. “So far, we’ve rearranged all the gym equipment to ensure 1.5m between machines, maximised space in the gym to allow for a new class waiting area with 1.5m markers, measured and marked out all floor space for social distancing, displayed new COVID-19 signage and floor decals and ensured hand sanitisers have been ordered to be placed at stations around the centre.”
“We have already restarted our outdoor group fitness classes due to the lifting of restrictions. It has been great to see some activity back around the centre and seeing some of our regular members again. So far, we have 40 members reactivated and engaging in classes again on a regular basis. We are looking forward to building on this and continuing to reactivate more members in the coming weeks.
“As a member of the “Green Team” within Belgravia, I was excited to use this time to review our current processes and identify areas we could improve,” said Rosie. With this in mind, the team have implemented new recycling bins across the centre as well as in the office space. They have also used this time to reflect on their current processes and procedures and have streamlined processes to continue to improve the experience of our guests in centre.
Many of the staff chose the shutdown time to upskill themselves, particularly in the areas of group fitness and teaching. They have also been working closely with council to organise key maintenance work in the centre such as new flooring due to be installed on the second floor in early June.
The team at AKAC have had an overwhelming response to their potential reopening since the NSW government announced that restrictions on gyms would be eased on June 13th. “Our centre is a community hub for our members and most of the staff have become accustomed to seeing these members every day. Our members, like ourselves, are missing the daily interactions and the community feel that the centre provides,” said Rosie.
Thoughts and learnings during COVID-19
Rosie has felt that their team has grown closer during this period. “I’ve gotten to know our team members a little more and have had more in-depth conversations with many team members that I may not have seen regularly due to different work shifts. It’s been great to get to know a little more about many members of the team and find out what they like to do outside of work and how they are staying busy during the shutdown period.”
“We are well aware that the centre we reopen will not be the same as the one we closed back in March. Our team know there will be challenges while we deal with the restrictions and as everyone gets accustomed to the “new normal” within the leisure industry however they are up for the challenge and we are all excited to reopen our doors and connect our community to leisure once more,” Rosie concluded.
It sounds like the AKAC team is prepped and ready for reopening in the near future, with a team that is excited to be reengaging with the local community after a very long shutdown.