5 Ways to Stay Connected and Keep Staff Engaged While Your Studio is Closed

The ability to provide an incredible employee experience (and in turn, have a business full of highly engaged employees) is a challenge in its own right. 

Now add to that challenge the fact that your studio doors are closed, you can’t go within six feet of your staff members, and your industry’s landscape has (overnight) been completely transformed. Yikes! 

The good news is that despite these difficulties, there are ways to stay connected and keep your staff engaged. There’s a good chance that you’ll strengthen your business relationship and forge a more meaningful bond, which often happens when people endure hardship together

1. Give Your Staff Opportunities to Shine

Your staff loves to teach people. It’s probably something they’re missing deeply right now. Have them lead a mini-challenge, do a demo video, host a live class, write a guest-email, host a virtual happy hour, share a workout, or post a recipe. Give your team space and permission to get in front of your clients and connect. 

Not only will it be a joyful experience for them (and your clients), but it’ll also help your clients stay connected to your brand—there should be some kind of contact between your brand and your clients at least once a day during this time. 

And it’s a win-win, right? Your staff gets to do what they love (teach and connect), and you get some much-needed content to keep client engagement high. 

To see this in action, check out Deuce Gym on Instagram (@deuce_gym) based out of Venice, CA. They give their coaches, via Instagram Stories, opportunities to get in front of the clients. 

2. Send Treats!

Let your staff know that you’re thinking about them and that you care. In addition to cards, texts, and emails, send them things that (1) show your appreciation for them, and (2) help them stay connected to your brand. 

An Awesome T-shirt

An easy and relatively inexpensive gift you can send to your staff members is a new branded t-shirt. While a t-shirt seems like a pretty small gesture, it can be a cool way to show your staff that you care. A branded t-shirt also helps your team feel more connected and engaged with your brand and your business. Another win-win! (Reach out to Real Thread for amazingly soft shirts and very low minimum orders.) 


Send a book you love (with a handwritten note in the cover) to your staff members. Of course, it can be any kind of book; but a book that is meaningful to your organization/culture would be ideal


Everyone has to eat, right?! Send your staff members a gift card to a local restaurant. And use this as an opportunity to build (or enhance) a relationship with another local business. 

3. Host Weekly Coffee Meetings

Use the video conference software of your choice (Zoom and Google Hangouts both offer free services) and set up a weekly coffee date with your staff. Use these meetings to ensure that the lines of communication between your business and your staff members are alive and well. This is also a great time to brainstorm about the future of your business. Ask your staff about their ideas. Find out what changes they think should be made. Get their input on some of the problems you’re trying to solve. 

4. Serve the Local Community Together

There’s a lot of difficulty and suffering going on amidst Covid-19. Use your team to do something special for the people in your community who need help. 

It will help you and your staff feel great, but it also helps your team feel like they’re doing something good in the world—an essential component of employee engagement. 

5. Host Frequent One-on-Ones

In addition to your group coffee meetings, have one-on-ones with your staff to check in on an individual level. Right now, many people are experiencing loneliness and solitude, so at a minimum, you’re helping your team members feel connected to the outside world. From a business perspective, this is a perfect time to bounce around ideas, get feedback, and to create momentum leading into your reopening. 

Nothing spells engagement like authentic collaboration.

Many small business owners are afraid right now. We get it. The uncertainty at this moment in history is unnerving. That’s why now more than ever, we need to become problem solvers. We need to think about the challenges we’re facing and come up with solutions. And while it might be more challenging to keep your employees engaged while your doors are closed, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, with the right attitude and the right effort, we believe your staff engagement could be higher than ever! 

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson is a freelance fitness writer. She's been in the fitness industry since 2004 and uses her knowledge and experience to help coaches and gym owners go from good to great.

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