By Johnny Caddick, Managing Director, Moda Living
Lockdown is easing and parts of the nation are emerging from weeks of isolation. We’re not out of the woods yet, but a vision of normal life is visible on the horizon.
However, things will be different after lockdown. People will still seek out time with friends and family, perhaps even more so; they will still work, but some will seldom return to the office; and they will still work out, but how they do so will have been changed forever by this experience.
Coronavirus has reminded us how important staying fit and healthy is to happiness and getting the most out of life – and not just physical fitness, but mental wellbeing too.
Residents’ overall wellbeing is central to Moda’s way of doing things; it’s a cornerstone of our business and we factor it in from the design stage. We believe many emerging trends in Build to Rent and the wider housing sector have been exacerbated by Covid-19. As we emerge from that difficult time, we’ve been thinking about how the way we live will change.
Lockdown has underscored the importance of technology in our lives and we believe this is true for wellbeing in the housing sector too. The technology-enabled, community-building you can unleash using our MyModa App is really exciting – because residents can find people with similar interests and break down barriers when it comes to establishing relationships in our buildings. They can share tips on everything from what’s on Netflix to the latest games.
We’ve run numerous virtual events too – to make resident feel part of the community, from pasta cooking classes and cocktail masterclasses to book clubs. We believe this refreshing approach to technology-enabled, community-minded living will endure beyond the virus.
Lockdown brought a host of new challenges, whether it was dealing with stress and anxiety, the non-stop flow of news, or juggling work while looking after children. So, we started running online wellbeing workshops with our partner Hero, using qualified wellbeing coaches to support residents with managing anxiety, self-care and maintaining a positive mindset in these unprecedented times.
Since moving them online we’ve had more engagement than ever – attendance is up 500%. Residents may find it easier to discuss sensitive topics when not face-to-face while Covid-19 has increased the importance of managing anxiety and coping day-to-day.
Likewise, fitness has never been so on-demand as people look to weave together childcare and working from home, or to build activity into their lockdown routines. Instagram live workouts have proliferated. Les Mills, which runs digital exercise classes worldwide, has reported its highest ever increase in sales at 900%.
Workouts on demand
The nation has quickly adapted to working-out when and how they want and is unlikely to turn back. You can even do it in your pyjamas or at 1am with videos available from gyms and instructors; lockdown has made group exercise more flexible than ever before. We’ve also been running online classes for residents and encouraging them to use our open spaces for daily exercise and walking the dog.
A central part of exercising is entertainment, engagement and social interaction. The live experience will never go away, so in all of our schemes we have a 24-hour gym, offering residents fitness classes and personal trainers. We also have a wellness platform that can track sleep, movement, nutrition and mood via wearable devices.
As lockdown eases, people will enjoy workouts with friends, family and fellow residents again. Data shows people are exercising in more than before lockdown. City centre developers will need to offer outdoor training space – like the rooftop sports pitch at our Angel Gardens neighbourhood in Manchester or the 200m rooftop running track at the Mercian in Birmingham.
Many people are offering free workouts or taking advantage of the plethora of gurus and guides out there – and there is a strong desire for real expertise. It’s imperative that your trainer has the knowledge to underpin their offering. We expect to see a rise in one-to-one coaching with knowledgeable professionals whose expertise can’t be found on Instagram. The MyModa app lets residents engage a personal trainer and book a variety of personalised health and fitness services.
Lockdown has been challenging, but has proved that from design to delivery, our buildings must account for our residents’ fitness, wellbeing and happiness. We believe joining the Moda community should enrich your life and we will continue to design and build communities that put wellbeing at the heart of living.