Many yoga studios implement workstudy programs as an economical way to get things done, or to enable deserving students to practice regularly. These programs typically offer a free membership or classes in exchange for work.
Laws regarding unpaid work studies vary from location to location — be sure to investigate your business' local laws before implementing this kind of program.
Could you use a second pair of hands?
Running short on time? Are you trying to find extra hours in the day just to market the studio and manage the ultra–exciting back end? Having someone else help with class sign in and toilet paper restocking can help you keep your focus on getting people in the door.
Daily operations getting behind? Do you have a full class schedule and a solid amount of traffic? Are you struggling to prioritize daily operations? Bringing on a workstudy or two (or three) could offer some extra help with admin work — checking in classes, organizing waivers, rolling towels, etc. An extra pair of hands for an hour or two a day can make a huge difference.
Is payroll giving you palpitations? Trading a few hours of work for a certain number of classes or an unlimited free membership is a great way to cut costs — especially for a smaller studio or one with a lighter schedule that can make staffing more difficult.
What can you pass off?
Class sign-in. Need help signing in class, but not much after that? Workstudies can help with sign ins, herding students to make space in packed classes, and taking a head count before class gets rolling. If this is all you need, wrangle some of your regulars and see if they’re game — they might love to get a foot in the door, or behind the desk.
Pass the Swiffer. No one likes a gritty floor — with all that dust and hair so close to people’s mats (and faces), you’ll need to mop or Swiffer daily. But if your teachers are running out the door to teach a class across town, they can’t always stay to pitch in.
Blocks and straps and sweat, oh my! Organizing props, wiping down blocks, folding blankets, cleaning rental mats and tackling laundry are simple maintenance tasks workstudies can take off your plate without an extensive training process.
Remember, you’re not giving away classes ‘for free’. You are letting someone take classes that they might be taking anyway, in exchange for lightening your load, and letting you take a step back, take a breath, and focus on something other than answering the phone. Consider a barter system with students who specialize in photography, graphic design, blogging or social media.
Choose a system that works for your studio
Workstudy programs will vary from one studio to another. What works for the big studio downtown might not work for the smaller suburban studio. Here are some basic workstudy formats:
- Unlimited membership: This kind of program works well for established, larger studios, or if you are looking to give a work study a few shifts. Slapping a membership on their account can cut down on tracking who worked when and who took which class.
- X number of hours for Y number of classes: This requires a little more attention than the the unlimited membership program, but depending on how often a potential workstudy wants to utilize their free classes and how you compensate your teachers, this might be a better option for you. Similarly, some studios allow a workstudy to come in, help sign in a class, then take that class, going in a few minutes late.
- Barter system: Need help with web maintenance, social media, or new headshots for your teachers? You might be able to swap free classes and keep work in the community.
The Benefits of Your Workstudy Program
Offering a workstudy program is a great way to strengthen the community, let newer teachers get their foot
in the door, take regular students under your wing, and keep costs low. Let students know what a sweet deal
it can be to empty out the used down hamper and unclog the toilet:
Free Yoga! A regular practice can get pricey.
Encourage students to practice more and give them the opportunity for students to practice with your teachers regularly. Hugely beneficial for the student and the teacher.
Offer discounts on workshops and trainings. Who doesn't like discounts?!?
Keep building your studio community with more involved students – if your front desk staff is excited about an upcoming workshop, they're much more likely to talk it up as students are signing in.
Free mat storage. Lugging those monsters around gets painful — this is a huge win.
And Community Building. We can’t say enough about this.
It’s important for the students, the teacher, and most importantly, for your studio. The tighter the community, the longer you get to stick around. And what better way to fill your space than with people you know, who speak your language and support your message?
Need some guidance on which system might be right for your studio? We can help you navigate the waters of best business practices — Give us a shout!