From the forced closures of fitness clubs to yoga studios, there’s no doubt the entire wellness sector is greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe.
In fact, the coronavirus has forced people in almost every industry to slow down, to be still, to stop running. For many of us, including MYSELF, we are remembering how to fully be present again and grateful for the small things. We are also reexamining our lives and refocusing our attention on what makes us well—particularly the way in which we live and work. It is my hope that the wellness economy will mirror these shifting societal priorities.
I recently read that with every pandemic, there seems to be some kind of silver lining, some kind of social reform, some kind of change for the better.
That’s when it dawned on me—let’s focus on the future opportunity here—for our businesses & for the global wellness economy.
THE GLOBAL WELLNESS INDUSTRY SHIFT
The global wellness industry is robust and growing steadily year after year. In 2017, the global wellness expenditures exceeded $4.2 trillion and are more than half as large as total global health expenditures (based on GWI data).
While sub-sectors like the wellness tourism industry have come to a standstill during the Covid-19 crisis, others like the mindbody/fitness and nutrition/healthy eating are perhaps benefiting from this new stay-at-home mentality.
A New Wave of Free Content
I’ve been delightfully overwhelmed at the outpouring of free content produced during this crisis. From free yoga to cooking classes at home with a vegan chef, options to stay connected to your health and wellness routines from home are easier than ever.
Some of Good Karma Work’s clients jumped on the opportunity to stay connected virtually to their loyal following. Kelly Haas, a New Orleans-based yoga therapy teacher, quickly prepared short and sweet prenatal yoga videos for her students at home. And Brock McCurdy, a Barcelona-based chiropractor, set up a mail campaign to promote his weekly videos on easy tips to keep your immune system boosted.
Online Classes are the New Norm
Wellness businesses around the globe are quickly adapting to the market to offer virtual classes. Therapist are now seeing patients online to deal with the anxiety of uncertainty. Fitness and pilates instructors are offering classes from their living rooms to encourage people to stay active at home.
Yoga studios have quickly adopted Zoom as a platform to offer remote classes. ClassPass, a membership-based app also shifted their business model to offer virtual classes as a way to keep studios and fitness centers afloat.
Local businesses: Show your Love
I think we can all agree that with the forced closures of restaurants, studios and businesses we are all feeling an affinity for the familiar. More than ever, communities are coming together to do what they can to keep the doors open for local wellness businesses. Individuals aren’t hesitating to give a shout-out to their favorite businesses on social media to ‘show the love’.
Local wellness businesses are also asking for help via crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe. Loyal customers can opt for buying a voucher now that can be applied toward a future purchase.
—Azrya Cohen Bequer, Author & Coach
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY
My hope is that the wellness industry will continue to transform and adapt. Free content should be readily available to marginalized populations so they too get a chance to take part in wellness activities. We must remember that taking time to consider one’s wellbeing on a mental, physical and emotional level is a luxury.
I am also excited to see if and how businesses maintain their virtual offerings post-lockdown. Hopefully, wellness studios will continue to offer online classes in additional to their regular in-person classes to reach a wider audience. People are using quarantine for self-improvement and by now are used to exercising from the comfort of their living rooms.
Wellness in the Workplace
Another subsector I think we will see a big shift in is the wellness in the workplace industry. Once employees return to their stressful office jobs, I think we will see a bigger demand from the employees for more wellness benefits during their office hours to step away from their desk and de-stress. Nunu Roney, founder of the Barcelona-based workplace wellness company called The Vital Touch says, “I feel positive this pandemic will affect wellness in the workplace in a good way! People will be more mind-body conscious. I am confident our very successful wellness workshops and much needed chair massages will also be on offer as soon as government directives advise”.
Financial support for wellness businesses:
If you are a wellness business owner or know someone who is, please check out a few of these financial support opportunities.
Unemployment Benefits – If you were laid off recently, please check with your local government to find out more information on temporary or permanent unemployment benefits.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – From April 3rd, the U.S. Small Business Administration will grant forgivable loans to small business and sole proprietors to keep their workers on payroll. The loans are forgiven if you can keep your workers on for at least eight weeks of payroll (only US-based).
GoFundMe: Reclamation Impact Grants – From now until April 30th, they’ll be giving grants on a rolling basis to reclaim one month of lost revenue for U.S. based instructors and small business owners up to $2,500 (only US-based organizations).
Facebook Small Business Grants – Facebook is offering $100M small business grants (cash and ad credits) for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.
Mindbody is offering reduced pricing and will waive their monthly subscription fees for studios most affected by forced government closure.
ClassPass – ClassPass is giving 100% of proceeds from livestream classes directly to studios through June 1st. It’s a great time to do a trial run with your studio or center.
As a wellness professional, I constantly strive to keep my vibrations high during these chaotic and uncertain times—to put my spiritual work into practice when literally everything else seems out of my control. I recognize the devastation of this pandemic and try to stay informed.
Let’s make it through this crisis together and come out on the other side as version 2.0 of ourselves—better and brighter than ever!