21 May Virtual Wellbeing – Building Healthy Communities
The definition of wellbeing is; ‘The state of being comfortable, healthy and happy’, and the search to achieve such has grown increasingly valuable in both our personal and professional lives. Wellbeing gives us a wealth of positive benefits: the opportunity to relax, to reconnect with our bodies; to maintain a fit and healthy routine, preserving that good work-life balance; to support brands we know and trust, and spend time with colleagues and friends. As our existence acclimatises to the current pandemic, so too does our relationship with wellbeing.
Wellbeing before Covid-19
Healthy work environments and focused community engagement are integral to Solid Ground’s ethos as a company, and a key element of the services and events we deliver for our clients. In 2019 our team organised a Wellness Week with our client, Helical. Over five days we organised fitness classes, promoted offers from health-focused brands, and arranged pop-ups; all of which was to encourage wellbeing in the workplace and promote interaction with local companies like KOR and Foodwell. Supporting local businesses and initiatives is something we champion in our work, which is also evident in yoga events we’ve delivered.
For MeadowSide’s ‘Yoga in the Meadow’ series, we held early morning sessions in Angel Meadow Park. Similarly, to showcase Origin’s new fitness facility and office space to potential tenants, we collaborated with Lululemon Manchester to host an exclusive invite-only event with refreshments provided by local café, The Remedy Kitchen, who are advocates of clean, ‘free-from’ eating, and boosting self-wellness through diet.
The Coronavirus is provoking change in entire industries and sectors, so it has come as no surprise that we have had to adapt the way we engage with our audiences. Platforms such as Zoom, Instagram, Skype and Slack have enabled us to deliver health and wellbeing events via the power of technology, to ensure we continue to build communities while they stay safe at home.
Instagram is a powerful channel for our target audiences, so the platform has played a vital role in our virtual engagement strategy. Through Instagram Live we’ve facilitated free weekly exercise classes with local instructors and studios on various accounts we manage, including mixed-use, city-centre scheme, New Bailey and central London development, Courage Yard.
The 30-minute sessions are a chance for our communities to break away from their laptops while working from home, and restore a work/life balance that can be difficult to uphold during lockdown. MeadowSide’s ‘Yoga in the Meadow’ has moved online too, delivering the free class online and encouraging the community to stay strong together during this time.
Wellbeing isn’t just physical
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May) this week, and now more than ever it seems important to take time to think about both your own and each other’s mental wellbeing.
On behalf of our clients, we’ve worked with a number of mental healthy charities. Moodswings and MIND in Salford will focus on themes of kindness and ‘self-kindness’ on social media, offering supportive tips and wellbeing advice to keep our communities feeling positive while staying at home.
Simple activities such as going for a walk and getting some fresh air have been imperative to people’s wellbeing during the pandemic, so our schemes’ outdoor spaces are brilliant elements to shout about on our client’s social channels, such as the ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’ garden at MeadowSide.
Following Boris Johnson’s announcements on Sunday 10th May, it seems that the measures of social distancing are here to stay for a while, so wellbeing practices and activities need to adapt to these circumstances. With gyms unlikely to open anytime soon, virtual classes could be here to stay with support between organisations and their communities going from strength to strength.
As the ‘one form of exercise a day’ has been many people’s salvation during lockdown, we suggested how communal spaces and parks can be used safely while getting in your daily workout in a recent blog. Particularly for apartment and high-rise residents in the city centre, a lack of private green space means public parks are one of very few solutions to maintain personal health and wellbeing, so spaces like Angel Meadow Park are likely to become increasingly attractive to these communities looking to go for a walk, run or outdoor yoga class.
Manchester council is encouraging the public to consider alternative commutes to work and continue to avoid public transport; while this means social distancing can be adhered to, it also ensures the wellbeing of professional communities can benefit from these recommendations.
Arrangements are already being finalised for a closure of Deansgate between King Street West and Blackfriars Street as part of a new transport strategy for the city, which involves widening pavements and creating pop-up cycle lanes. As more people resort to cycling and jogging to work under new measures, it seems bike storage and showers and changing facilities in office buildings are going to be more popular than ever.
If you want to find out more about any of our online activations, drop us a line, or if you’re looking for support for your mixed-use scheme, building or property,
get in touch!
By Charlotte Pacey