Ray Oldenburg, urban sociologist and author, is famous for his work on what he calls “third places”—public places like cafes, coffee shops, book stores, bars (and arguably gyms) where people can gather and interact.
Oldenburg says this on the subject:
"The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people's more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends.”
Your gym, therefore, is quite possibly the “third place” for many of your members. What an honor!
But with honor comes great responsibility. You are now tasked with the objective of making your gym space warm (figuratively), happy, clean, organized, welcoming, empathic, fun, inclusive, and positive.
There are, of course, several steps to take in order to successfully hit all of the above criteria; but here’s one that’s easy and costs nothing to do:
Do a run-through at your box and see if there’s anything outdated, unused, forgotten.
This often comes in the form of a month-old competition flyer that’s still hanging on the board. Or a “Goals Board” that hasn’t been updated in months (or longer). Or even gym leaderboards that are so outdated that they’ve just blended into the wall like a sort of cruddy wallpaper.
These relics tell your members that you aren’t on top of things, that you aren’t organized. Rid your gym of these harmful (albeit innocent-looking) ghosts of gym past. They don’t belong in your members’ “third place.”
This is something worth doing every couple of weeks—a sort of biweekly scan that keeps the gym in the present tense. Just pop it in your phone as a reminder. It’ll message to your community that you care to keep their space beautiful, that you want them to feel nothing but good vibes when they’re there.