With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 causing huge uncertainty in the business world, particularly locally in West Dorset, we have been working flat out with our clients to make preparations for their own business continuity. Before we present some case studies of what we have been up to, we’d like to briefly address the measures we have put in place for Watershed.
We are continuing to work from our office in Bridport. We are adhering to advice already set out by Public Health England. In addition to this, we are encouraging our clients to conduct any necessary meetings through online platforms, such as Skype or FaceTime, reducing the requirement for face-to-face meetings.
We continue to maintain high standards of hygiene, regularly washing our hands throughout the day, when handling food, or when we arrive at the office after being outside.
Should the situation develop into one where we are advised not to travel into work, we will swiftly put into action a robust plan for working from home. Our cloud-based telephone system can be diverted to our mobile or home landlines. Required client information, photographs, videos, etc., will be taken home on an external hard disk. The high quality service we offer our clients will not be affected, and we welcome the opportunity to help existing and new clients with their own contributions to fighting Coronavirus.
Anyway, on to what we’ve been doing for our clients…
Julie Montagu live yoga classes
Until very recently, Julie ran regular yoga classes in London with up to 100 attendees. Obviously, in light of recent developments, these have had to stop. Julie has returned to the family home near Beaminster and will be self-isolating from this weekend onwards.
Watershed has been instrumental in ensure business continuity for Julie and her Whole Self Yoga brand. Through the use of YouTube Live broadcasting and the e-commerce website we built, we are able to now offer these classes from home. On Tuesday (17th March), the first class was broadcast, with over 40 participants from around the world joining in live! Daily classes are planned for next week, and these will probably continue for as long as Julie is not able to offer physical classes.
We have also been developing a new membership platform, Whole Self Members, which posts monthly content on yoga, recipes, mindfulness and meditation. We’ve brought the launch date of this website forward to help people find supportive content in these difficult times.
MyBallet online classes
In similar circumstances to Julie, these Bridport- and Winsham- based ballet classes have had to be cancelled for the foreseeable future. MyBallet classes offer a vital, uplifting community to dozens of women in the local area. The next logical step is to make these classes available from the comfort of their own home.
MyBallet class leader Carla Steenkamp-Sheills is working tirelessly to produce videos so that her ladies can keep dancing. We will be instrumental in making these as accessible as possible, available online and via DVD.
Her current class attendees are the priority at the moment, but we are aiming for this activity to pave the way for a wider online community. Such a community has been called for since a video of her ladies dancing went viral on social media, reaching millions internationally. Since then, there has been a continual stream of messages from fans asking for these classes to be brought to a new audience across the world.
As part of our crisis communications services, we have helped a number of clients prepare and issue statements regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus. Of particular importance was the statement we prepared for Abbotsbury Tourism.
The varied nature of their tourist attractions required a number of specific, detailed statements to be produced. For example, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is staying open as normal, with the cancellation of some events. Because of the relative lack of open space at the Children’s Farm, for the safety of visitors, they have had to close. The Swannery remains open, but without the popular audience participation events of mass feeding at noon and 4pm, to avoid crowds and physical contact.
In addition to this, the Abbotsbury Food Fair, in association with Dorset Food and Drink, has been cancelled, and we have publicised this on the website and social media.
Alongside, we have been organising ticket refunds and dealing with enquiries arising from the closures and part-closures.
We are in continual contact with the Abbotsbury Tourism team and will update the statement, websites and social media channels with any new developments.
Age Space Coronavirus hub
This crisis is of particular concern to the elderly, and their friends and family. Our client Age Space is a hub for information on caring for elderly relatives, and it was only right for them to set up a section on their website dedicated to Coronavirus. We have been working with the Age Space team to develop this hub, adding articles and relevant factual information. Alongside this activity, we have helped set up and promote a Facebook group, which after just a couple of days of being live on Facebook, has gained over 250 members.
Bridport Business Chamber poster
As a key source of information for many businesses in Bridport, the Chamber needs to be leading in efforts to combat the outbreak of Coronavirus. With this in mind, they approached us to produce a simple poster presenting the precautions local businesses were taking in order to minimise the spread of the virus.
This has now been distributed to businesses around the town and is freely available from Bridport Business Chamber. We have since created a version for Charmouth Traders.
BraunAbility product photography
Our longstanding client BraunAbility regularly require us to photograph new or updated product lines in their range of in-vehicle wheelchair tie-down systems, occupant restraints, lifts and floors. As of this week, the factory in Martock made the decision to stop outside visitors from entering their facility. Normally, we would use a small room converted into an infinity cove, set aside for product photography.
With a small range of new tie-downs completed for the European market, time is of the essence to get these photographed, published on the website and marketed. With that in mind, BraunAbility have couriered the products to us, and we will be using a portable photography studio to obtain the necessary shots for the time being.