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Best Practices: Staff Smartphone Use and New Club Location Advice

The following post was written by Claud McIver and John Atwood for our Best Practices series.

Question: How should we address smartphone overuse during work hours with staff and new hires?

Claud L. (Tex) McIver: This has become a rampant problem. Instituting—and deliberately and consistently enforcing—a legally sound company policy is key to addressing this issue. However, as an employer, understand that, while your workplace may not be “unionized,” the many rights, protections, and obligations covered under the National Labor Relations Act still apply. You must ensure that all policies are consistent with decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and should utilize recent advice memorandums drafted by the general counsel of the NLRB.

During hiring, first make sure you have a legally sound policy, and provide it to all new employees during the on-boarding process. See that they acknowledge, in writing, that they’ve received, read, understood it, and will comply with it. Enforce it appropriately, consistently, and equally (ACE). For existing employees, issue a policy, if none existed. Or, reissue a legally sound one, if needed. Reiterate that the policy will be enforced going forward, ensuring that all of your employees acknowledge, in writing, that they’ve received, read, understood it, and will comply with it, even if they’ve acknowledged a previous one. Your policy should also state the employee’s continued at-will status. Enforce it using ACE.

Claud L. (Tex) McIver
Senior Partner
Fisher & Phillips
Atlanta, Georgia



Question: What advice do you have for choosing the right location for the club I’m planning to open?

John Atwood: This is the most important decision you’ll make; get it wrong, and you can’t recover. In most cases, a formal feasibility study should be done. While an affluent area with a dense population with minimal competition is ideal, this perfect combination is rare, as most markets are close to saturation.

The key, of course, is having the right concept in the right market. Some chains like Life Time Fitness go into saturated markets and almost always thrive because they deliver quality. Planet Fitness succeeds as a discount model in otherwise overbuilt markets. Other considerations are the visibility of your location, signage opportunities, and the daily volume of people driving or walking past your facility. Also, will the building have the look and feel inside and outside that you require? Will the parking be adequate?

Research markets as far from your home as you’d be willing to commute to work at a good company. Study the region, not just your hometown. Create a map of all of the workout opportunities, their demographics, and their price points.

Do this before you invest your money, and that of your investors, and take on all of the effort and risks of a start-up business.

John Atwood
Managing Partner
Atwood Consulting Group
Boston, Massachusetts



Best Practices features answers from experts from both inside and outside the health club industry to thought-provoking questions on a wide range of topics. If you have a question you'd like answered, submit your question today

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