Adapting to survive the Covid-19 crisis has won plaudits for an Aberdeen health and fitness business.
When lockdown hit Steve McIntosh, owner of corporate health company Healthoutfit, knew he had to act fast for his business to survive.
The firm, which has been running for more than 20 years, helps companies improve employee physical and mental wellbeing using a variety of programmes – all of which had been done traditionally onsite.
Rapid transition to online environment
However, as businesses were forced to close offices to staff, Healthoutfit had to rapidly transition its services to a virtual environment.
As a small company we face some uncertainty”
Steve McIntosh, Healthoutfit managing director
This support included recorded classes suitable for smaller spaces at home that required little or no equipment, live classes via Zoom, an app for individually tailored workouts, training programmes and a regular live webinars on a variety of health topics.
They also created Heathoutfit for Kids to support busy parents keeping children active and entertained.
Healthoutfit ‘one-stop shop’ for health and wellbeing
Mr McIntosh said: “We are a one-stop shop for companies that can get everything they need related to health and wellbeing in the workplace.
“Before Covid we had an excess of 20 odd clients but we lost half of those purely because of buildings shutdown.
“But with the workforce still operating from home we’ve had to be quite innovative in what we do so we switched everything online.
“We looked like a swan. Quite smooth to the client but we were going crazy under the water to try and get everything we could developed. It was a big learning curve for us.”
We looked like a swan. Quite smooth to the client but we were going crazy under the water to try and get everything we could developed.”
Mr McIntosh and his team, which includes three wellness coaches, managed to pull everything together in the space of two weeks using a company in South Africa to develop its website and app.
He said: “Finding an app and a web developer that could turn around what we required in a short amount of time was the challenge. There was a lot of people out there but they were going to take months and months.
“There’s so many other websites and apps out there and we knew if we delayed on it we could really lose out.
“Being able to make the quick switch from face-to-face to virtual was all new to us because we’ve never done that before.
“At each lockdown we just got smarter on the way we were doing things.”
Hard work paying off
The success of the new format, which includes a library of more than 150 classes, has also seen some clients use it on their North Sea-based oil rigs and boats.
The hard work has paid off for Mr McIntosh and his team with Healthoutfit recently being awarded the People’s Vote Award at the annual Total E&P UK HSE award ceremony.
“Steve and his team at Healthoutfit have done a great job, particularly over the last year as we’ve all navigated the pandemic.”
Steve Rose, HSE director Total E&P UK
The oil & gas company has been a client of Healthoutfit for four years and Mr McIntosh was delighted with the win as it was entirely selected by employees.
He said: “It’s the first time they’ve done this award. All the other awards are discussed and agreed upon by a committee but the people’s choice award is selected by staff.
“It justifies what you do because people put a value on it.”
‘Richly deserved’ award
Steve Rose, HSE director Total E&P UK, said: “Steve and his team at Healthoutfit have done a great job, particularly over the last year as we’ve all navigated the pandemic.
“With their creativity and adaptability they’ve kept us and our families – including the kids – fit and active.
“This award demonstrates just how much their efforts have meant to us and it’s richly deserved.”
Looking to the future Mr McIntosh believes there’s still some uncertainty ahead for businesses.
He said: “We used to have a team of 24 but that was before the oil price crash in 2008. Since then it has been tough.
“The furlough scheme has contributed to us keeping our head above water. It would’ve been a lot tougher without that as we are only a small company. It gave us some continuity.
“But we are not out of the woods yet. When people get their second vaccination or an opportunity to have some kind of route to go back into the workplace and companies feel it’s safe to take employees back that is when I’ll probably have more confidence in the industry.
“There’s so many variants and hurdles where they are making an excuse to look for savings and not take people back.
“But it’ll be interesting to see what happens when the furlough scheme ends.
“Once we get through September we’ll have a better understanding of where we are at because again we don’t know where our clients are going to be financially.”