Remote working in action
by Promote Shetland -
Businesses in Shetland are looking at ways they can keep their companies running whilst keeping their staff and customers socially distant to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For office-based businesses this means working from home and meeting up via online tools like Zoom and Skype. For other businesses, this means coming up with new and innovative ways to keep in contact with customers online.
Two businesses that have been quick to adapt are Gym Gair and Bambeenies Ltd.
Gym Gair is run by husband and wife team Russell and Linda Gair. They offer personal training, nutrition plans, circuit training and running sessions for people in Shetland. Ordinarily, they train all their clients in their custom-built garden gym and do circuit classes in the Gilbertson Games Hall in Lerwick during the winter, and in Scalloway Games Hall during the summer. Their running sessions take place at Lerwick's Clickimin track each week.
Unfortunately, as with most businesses across Shetland and the UK, they've had to limit all contact with their clients as the country tries to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Rather than shut down completely, the couple have jumped to action and moved their business and training plans online.
"It has thrown us a few challenges, but we think we have adapted quite well!" said Linda. "We have been able to transfer our clients to either training online and we provide them with home workouts to do, or by still doing their weekly sessions via Zoom conferences online."
The online training packages are already proving really popular, as people are keen to keep fit and healthy from the safety of their own homes. Clients can also get access to workouts, recipe packs and nutritional and exercise information via a closed Facebook group.
"The online classes have really been no bother to set up, our clients are just so delighted that their training can continue," she says. "We have been offering online training for a few months now, and our clients have really felt the benefit of this."
At the moment, Gym Gair have one free circuit class open to the public and scheduled online, but are looking at how they can do more in the next few weeks. Online clients get twice weekly Facebook Live sessions.
"We cannot stress enough how important it is to stay active and healthy during this unsettled time. Exercise has a positive effect on people's mental health as well, which is vital."
Another business that's adapted quickly – to the joy of parents of youngsters across Shetland – is Bambeenies Ltd, run by Jenny Teale.
Jenny and her team run a wide range of classes for parents, babies and children, including baby massage, yoga, sign language, messy play, sensory development and sling dance classes, to name just a few. Bambeenies Ltd also includes the Inferno Dance Group, which runs weekly dance and fitness sessions. The classes are usually run from community centres and halls across Shetland, but as these are now closed to the public, they've had to move their classes online.
"It has been a challenge to adapt the business to remote and online working," says Jenny. "As all our classes were face to face I had to think a little outside the box as to how I could continue to support my customers and dance students from home. It’s been frustrating at times, a lot of hard work, a few sleepless nights and a steep learning curve."
Jenny's solution has been to create Bambeenies Academy, a series of online mini courses for customers to use in their homes to keep their little ones busy, entertained and learning. She's also offering online one-to-one and group lessons, as well as weekly online lessons to Inferno dance students.
"Our mini courses allow parents to feel empowered and have the tools to keep their little ones busy and learning," says Jenny. "The online classes allows them to stay connected with other parents and children, and offers a small escape from what’s going on in the world around them. It gives them the sense of security and safety of our class but in their own homes."
For more information on Gym Gair, you can either contact them via Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gym Gair photo credit: Ben Mullay Photography