Melbourne coast to victory against struggling Roos


Melbourne has shaken off a sluggish first half to assert their dominance, cruising to a 57-point win over North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.

The Dees came into the game without current captain Max Gawn and former captain Jack Viney and were scratchy throughout but after half time, they made scoreboard pressure count to post their fifth win of the season.

After a tight first quarter, Melbourne kicked 12 goals to two and took complete control of the contest.

Luke Jackson was ultra impressive in the absence of Gawn, handling himself magnificent as Melbourne’s only recognised ruckman while Christian Petracca continued his dominant season, kicking a goal and winning the ball 29 times.

Even in defeat, Luke McDonald found plenty of ball for North Melbourne in a 33-disposal game, toiling hard for his side.

Here’s everything you need to know!

The twin targets: Weideman and Larkey fire

Both sides would’ve been rapt with what they saw from their young key forward on Sunday night.

Melbourne has been crying out for much-improved forward connection this year and when Sam Weideman is presenting and leading like he did, you can see why so many inside the club rate him so highly.

Two goals from five scoring shots wouldn’t have been exactly what he was after but what it did show is how involved he was during the night.

Meanwhile down the other end, Nick Larkey was fantastic in Ben Brown’s absence, booting four straight goals during the clash despite limited supply.

If Rhyce Shaw can find a way to harness the talents of both Larkey and Brown up forward when the latter returns, brighter days are ahead for North Melbourne.

The injuries: Bonar, Anderson and Walker all go down

Aiden Bonar (shoulder) and Jed Anderson (eye) both finished Sunday night clash on the bench, compounding North Melbourne’s problems after a tough night at Adelaide Oval.

There’s also concern with Josh Walker after friendly fire from Majak Daw in a marking contest saw him limp off in the final term with a corked thigh.

The Roos have had a horror injury run this season, with the likes of Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington and Ben Brown all still on the sidelines.

More injury issues were the last thing the Roos needed.

What’s next?

The Roos back up in six days’ time against Brisbane at Metricon Stadium in what promises to be a tough encounter back in the sunshine state.

On the same day, Melbourne will ‘host’ Collingwood at the Gabba in a match they’ll need to win to keep their faint finals hopes alive.

FULL SCORE
Melbourne: 1.4, 4.7, 7.8, 13.14 (92)
North Melbourne: 3.2, 4.2, 5.4, 5.5 (35)

GOALS
Melbourne: Fritsch 2, Weideman 2, Petracca, Pickett, Brayshaw, Hannan, McDonald, Melksham, Spargo, Sparrow, Oliver
North Melbourne Larkey 4, Daw

BEST
Melbourne: Fritsch, Weideman, Petracca, Oliver, Brayshaw
North Melbourne: Larkey, McDonald, Higgins, Davies-Uniacke

Reports: Nil

Injuries
Melbourne: Nil
North Melbourne: Aiden Bonar (shoulder), Jed Anderson (eye), Josh Walker (corked thigh) and Robbie Tarrant (corked calf)

Crowd: 2,172 at Adelaide Oval


Melbourne


North Melbourne








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5 Surprising Reasons Your Female Fitness Client is Struggling


Does this situation sound familiar?

A client comes to you, pumped up and excited about getting back into a training program. You develop a fantastic program to help her get the exact results she’s looking for. She loves it and starts out enthusiastically. And then…

… her motivation fizzles.

She starts coming in late or canceling altogether.

She isn’t following through on the recommendations you’re giving her.

Maybe she even starts expressing doubts, like…

  • “Maybe this is just too much for me right now…”
  • “I think this might not be the right time…”
  • “I don’t know if I can keep this up…”
  • “Sure, I guess I could probably do that… but…”

You’ve done everything you can to help your client… why can’t she stick with it?

If this scenario is hitting home (maybe you’re even thinking of a client or two in particular), I get it. It can be puzzling and flat-out frustrating when this happens! And maybe that little voice inside your head is thinking, “Is it my fault?”

But here’s the thing: your client’s “excuses” are likely legitimate roadblocks to her adherence.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that lack of consistency (or feeling stuck, or losing motivation…) is often more than what it seems. There are a lot of deeper, surprising, invisible reasons why she’s not doing what you’re asking her to.

In this article, I’m going to talk about five of the biggest, most important barriers that might be holding your client back:

  1. Identity conflict
  2. Lack of confidence
  3. Lack of belonging
  4. Judgements and expectations
  5. Emotional labor

… and what YOU can do to help her overcome them.

You might be surprised at how familiar these sound (especially if you’re a woman), or even realize that these same roadblocks may be hindering you in some aspect of your life.

Notice anything in common about these five roadblocks? (And here’s where they get a bit tricky…)

At first glance, they’re all invisible.

These barriers are often internal, and in some cases, they’ve become part of our client’s identity.

Clearing these roadblocks will help your client make more consistent progress.

That means you have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in your client’s life.

For each one of the roadblocks I’m talking about, you’ll learn:

  • What the roadblock is.
  • What it looks like in action.
  • Exactly what YOU can do to help empower your client to bust through these obstacles.

You can also use these tools to influence positive change in your training environment as well as the industry as a whole.

Let’s go!

 

Challenge #1: Your Client Is Experiencing Identity Conflict

As strange as it may sound to a fitness professional, a client’s perception of herself can be a roadblock. For example, if a client begins seeing her main identity as “mom,” it can be challenging to remain consistent with something that sits outside of that identity box.

If being active and fit is a stark contrast to how she identifies herself, getting into the groove of exercise may be difficult.

You might hear her say things like:

  • “I’m just a mom, my life revolves around my kids.”
  • “I don’t belong in the gym with all these fit people.”
  • “I have a really busy job, so I don’t really have time to do anything else.”
  • “I’m a couch potato.”

These are signs of an identity roadblock.

Luckily, you can help your clients break out of this.

 

Coaching Solution

Help your client identify the beliefs she holds about herself. When she starts to recognize how they influence her actions, she can take steps to move past them — and toward her goals.

Recognize and acknowledge that she is stepping out of her comfort zone, and that it’s a great thing!

You could even say something like:

“I totally understand, this is so new and different from what you’ve done before. I can see why it would feel strange! I just want you to know that you’re doing something great, and the fact that you’re stepping into this new adventure speaks volumes about who you are as a person. Kudos to you for being here!”

Here are four coaching strategies you can use:

Get Curious

Ask questions about what her internal dialogue is telling her concerning who she is and how she should act. Pay close attention to how she responds.

Focus on New Habits

Work with your client to establish new, healthy habits and goals. Start small, and pick a habit that she feels confident she can put into place. If she is able to shift her focus to these new habits and markers of success, she can start moving away from old beliefs that may be holding her training back.

Here’s an example from Stephanie Doyle, a personal trainer and GGS-1 grad, of how she’s put this tip into action:

“I have a client who’s considered herself ‘fat’ since high school. She’s always either been trying to lose weight or thinking about the next diet. She has never been happy with her weight, not even when she reached her target. She isn’t overweight.

When we started working together, she was very self-conscious and had a lot of negative feelings about her looks and self-worth. I encouraged her to choose goals for working together that weren’t appearance-based or weight loss-based. Within a few weeks, she noticed she had more energy and better sleep and mood. She was eating better, too. She realized that because of how awesome she feels now, her weight doesn’t matter anymore.”

By asking questions about non-weight-related improvements and setting up different types of goals, Stephanie helped her client break free from a self-limiting belief.

Ask Questions

Check in about how your client is feeling and make sure that the program is working for her. The question “How’s that working for you?” when asked sincerely can be a powerful coaching tool to help your client explore what she’s done so far.

Connect

Help your client consider how becoming a healthier version of herself can help serve the purpose of who she is. For example, will the “dedicated mom” be a happier, more energetic, and involved mom?

 

Challenge #2: Your Client Lacks Confidence

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • This isn’t going to work.”
  • “It’s going to take so long to get into shape, it’s not even worth it.”
  • “I can never stick with things like this.”

If so, your client may be lacking confidence. It might be a lack of confidence in:

  • Her current abilities
  • The efficacy of the program
  • Your coaching abilities

… or even her own potential for success.

You might notice your client using a lot of negative self-talk, or she may directly challenge the program or your coaching abilities (e.g., “This program doesn’t include enough cardio, so it’s not going to work.”). In some cases, your client’s “inner voice” might be on an endless loop, repeating all the things that could go wrong.

This one’s a biggie.

Self-doubt and a lack of confidence can prevent the workouts and lifestyle changes from ever happening.

Luckily, you’re in a unique position to help her gain confidence and move toward success.

 

Coaching Solution

Start by acknowledging that she’s feeling this way. Try a statement like:

“The concerns you’re feeling are totally normal. I want you to know that you’re far from alone — actually, I think it’s safe to say that in the beginning, we all experience very similar thoughts. I’m here to help, and we’ll see this through together.”

Next, ask her to pinpoint what the voice inside her head is saying. For example, maybe she has the looming feeling that this process is:

  • Too big
  • Too long
  • Too hard
  • Too much work
  • Too expensive
  • Too intangible

… or something else along those lines. Success may simply feel too far away.

Once you figure out exactly what is overwhelming or where the self-doubt is brewing, target those concerns.

Here are three easy coaching strategies you can try:

Compromise

If she’s concerned about the programming (e.g., she feels the current program lacks cardio, doesn’t have a strict enough diet, or doesn’t have long enough training sessions), it’s a good time to try seeking a compromise. This way, you can give her some of what she wants with some of what she needs. Even a little shift can increase your client’s confidence in her training.

Shrink the Change

If she’s worried the program isn’t going to work or the results are too far away (whether due to her own self-doubt or her doubt in the programming itself), now’s the time to shrink the change. Shift her focus to smaller, more immediate and attainable goals. Baby steps, in other words. Small successes built upon each other are still wins — and they lead to even bigger ones!

Lyndsay Conrad, a 39-year-old personal trainer and GGS-1 grad, says:

“Breaking down goals into bite-sized pieces has made a difference for a lot of clients. Knowing that they don’t have to tackle everything at once gives them the courage and belief that they can make changes, one small step at a time.”

Focus on Building Trust

If you have a solid client-coach relationship, and she’s still expressing feelings of self-doubt (i.e., “I really don’t think I can do this”), then it might be time to have a talk about trust. See if you can shift her focus away from her perceived flaws and toward the possibilities of the programming or toward faith in your advice. For example, ask her to trust the process for four weeks. Then, schedule a time to come back together and re-evaluate so you can adapt as needed.

Here’s how Danielle Repetti Gentner, a 33-year-old personal trainer, strength coach, and GGS-1 grad, builds trust — and shrinks the change — by helping her clients focus on the positive. She says:

To help clients who feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or otherwise ‘stuck’, I’ve implemented a weekly check-in where clients answer questions that help them refocus on the positives from the week. It helps them think about what went well in training, their nutrition, and their lives.”

 

Challenge #3: Your Client Feels Like She Doesn’t Belong

While everyone feels like they don’t belong at some point or another, feeling out of place can be a huge roadblock when starting something new. And for many women, the gym can feel intimidating, or even downright unsafe. Depending on her size, weight, ability, age, ethnicity, or experience, she may feel more uneasy than others.

Has she mentioned that she doesn’t feel comfortable going into the weights section of the gym because the men make comments? Or behave in a way that makes her nervous? Or in other words, make her feel like she’s in the wrong place?

Or maybe it translated into something like:

  • “They don’t have gender-neutral bathrooms/changing rooms here; I’m nervous.”
  • “These people are fancy and rich; I’m not.”
  • “No other POC are present; I stand out.”
  • “Who can I turn to for help if I feel vulnerable?”

… or another comment of the sort.

Being able to walk into a new place and not have to question whether you fit in is a privilege not afforded to many clients.

In many cases, your client might never voice her anxiety, feelings of exclusion, and concerns about safety.

Feelings like this are pervasive, and they can be really hard to overcome. While you won’t necessarily be able to help her forget these concerns entirely, you can take steps to improve your direct environment. Helping your client feel safer and more comfortable can make a big difference.

 

Coaching Solution

If your coaching relationship is new, your client may not tell you about her concerns. Make sure you check in with her to see if there is anything you can do to make her more comfortable.

You could try opening up the conversation with something like:

“Many people naturally have some concerns when they are new to a gym or training program. Is there anything I can do to help you feel more comfortable and welcome? And please tell me if I’m overlooking any important details, I’m eager to make this a smooth and positive experience for you.”

From there, follow through with her requests!

Here are three possible scenarios, and what you can do about each:

Your Client Uses Specific Pronouns

Your client may use pronouns that aren’t necessarily what others would assume — which reinforces the idea that you should not be making assumptions about your client (we’ll delve deeper into this in a bit).

Take the time to introduce your client to staff and inform them what your client’s pronouns are, i.e., she/her, they/them, or whatever your client’s preference is!

Your Client Has an Invisible Disability

Your client could have a hearing impairment (or another disability that may not be visible), and want others to be aware of it because it is something she struggled with at her last gym.

Let the other trainers know that your client has a hearing impairment to avoid confusion or possible misunderstandings.

Your Client Prefers to Work Out When Other Women Are Around

Your client may feel uncomfortable being in a male-dominated environment, and prefer working out alongside other women.

Ask the gym manager if there are times of day when more women are working out, and provide your client with information about classes and training groups specifically for women (or if there isn’t an option like this, think about creating one!).

Remember, it’s up to you to support and accommodate all your clients! Making sure they feel safe and welcome can go a long way in helping them stay motivated.

 

Challenge #4: Your Client Is Struggling With the Judgements and Expectations Placed on Women

Unfortunately, women are getting used to having their bodies judged, criticized, and evaluated by others. The fact that many experience it on a daily basis doesn’t make it normal; it means that women commonly feel unsafe, especially in male-dominated spaces — for good reason.

Four common beliefs that affect women’s body image and may become roadblocks to success include:

Women Must Look a Certain Way to Be “Worthy”

Women must be feminine, but not slutty. Lean, but not too lean. Curvy, but not fat. Basically, women have pretty impossible standards to meet.

Women’s Bodies Are for the Pleasure and Service of Others

Often, women’s self-care is framed as acceptable only because it allows them to then take care of others — instead of taking care of themselves because they’re worthy of care, plainly and simply. (And that’s not even talking about how women are often represented in the media in images that make them appear sexually available in a very subservient way…)

Women’s Bodies Are Up for Scrutiny and Debate

Ever heard comments like, “She’s too skinny” or “She’s too fat to put a photo of herself in a swimsuit online”? Women’s bodies form the basis of far too many (critical, and even cruel) discussions.

Women Don’t Belong or Deserve to “Take Up Too Much Space”

If you’ve ever heard, “Be more ladylike!” or have been run into on a sidewalk when failing to move out of a man’s way, then you know what I mean. Women also are expected to systematically apologize for any inconvenience — no matter the scenario.

For many women, the gym doesn’t feel like a safe space because they are used to being judged and even inappropriately touched. This can lead directly to some of the roadblocks I mentioned earlier, like lack of belonging.

But these concerns also exist outside the gym and affect women’s health and well-being. In some cases, the very language we use to talk about ourselves (“I hate my body / arms / legs / cellulite”) or other women reflects these myths — and it can lead to (or reinforce) feelings of inadequacy or body shame that stop our clients from adopting healthier behaviors. (More on this in a moment.)

Being able to recognize these beliefs, see where they come from, and see how they affect your clients put you in a much better position to coach them successfully.

You have the power to create an environment that is safe and welcoming. And you can help your clients move through these roadblocks.

 

Coaching Solution

Your client may know that she’s uncomfortable working out in the gym because she feels like she’s being watched and judged (by men or women). Or she might feel ashamed, uncomfortable, afraid, doubtful, unwanted, too fat, too thin, too sexualized…

However, she might not realize that beliefs like these are what’s standing in her way. And even if she does recognize these feelings and their effect, she may not know where they came from. Maybe she believes these feelings are inevitable (or her fault) because she’s internalized the four myths.

The first thing you can provide for your client is education. If you hear your client making a comment like…

  • “How do I get a butt like Kim Karashian and legs like Carrie Underwood?”
  • “I can’t start dating until I lose this weight; no one will want me unless I can get rid of this jiggle.”
  • “God, no, I would never wear a swimsuit with this body.”
  • “Oh, it’s OK, you can have the bench. I’ll go do something else.”

… then it’s a good time to talk about the four myths and how they might be affecting her body image and training. If she can break free of them, she’ll probably find her training far more enjoyable and fulfilling!

You have the opportunity to help women all around you find a safer, more accepting environment.

Try enforcing these four strategies in your coaching environment:

Implement a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Body Shaming

You can even make a poster that highlights the guidelines for using the space — this means not shaming others, and not shaming themselves either. You could also invite clients to come to talk to you privately if they’re experiencing body image struggles.

Avoid Shame-Based Cues

Don’t use comments like, “Run faster! Don’t you want to get rid of your mummy tummy?” or “Is that really all you’ve got?” Just don’t.

Provide Compliments That Are Not Focused on Your Client’s Body or Appearance

Instead of going for “Wow, you’ve lost so much weight! You look so good!” try something like “I really admire your drive and dedication!”

Don’t base a woman’s worth on her weight, height, hair color, body, or another aspect of her appearance — she is so much more than that.

Refrain From Making Assumptions About Your Client Based on Her Appearance

Don’t assume a client wants to lose weight if she’s starting a training program. By assuming your client’s goal is weight loss, you’ve probably left her feeling scrutinized, judged, unworthy, and less willing to go ahead with your programming, no matter how great it might be.

I also want to share a great example from one of our GGS-1 grads, personal trainer and group fitness instructor Hilary Milsome. Hilary was able to start recognizing how deeply ingrained these myths are, and she began to shift her own behavior — including her language and how she spoke about herself — accordingly. This, in turn, has helped her clients! She says:

“[I realized] how the language I use when speaking about my own body, and women in general, could actually be influencing how others feel about their own bodies… I feel I am much better able to hear what a client is saying without judgement or even comment. In the past, I think I may have tried to say, ‘No you’re not fat!’ or ‘Don’t be silly.’ Now I am much more likely to say, ‘Tell me why you say that?’ I am also much more likely to say of myself, ‘I love how strong my arms are!’ instead of ‘I hate how wobbly my arms are.’ I feel that this positivity rubs off on clients.”

Changing our own language goes hand-in-hand with avoiding body shaming, shame-based cues, and appearance-focused compliments — and it’s amazing what we can do when we begin to recognize detrimental beliefs and shift our behavior accordingly.

 

Challenge #5: Your Client Is Dealing With Emotional Labor

Emotional labor is the expectation that a person will regulate their emotions, and sometimes others’ as well as their own, to suit particular scenarios. It’s difficult to pinpoint (and define!) because it is so entrenched in our social constructs that we may not realize it’s happening.

While emotional labor is a form of stress, it’s also a huge roadblock, specifically in how it affects women. It’s deeply woven into our social fabric, and it’s often camouflaged as “duty” and “responsibility,” or even as “just what you do.” This makes it very difficult to identify and articulate.

Here are some examples of situations that demand emotional labor of women:

  • In the home: Mom is in charge of mediating between arguing children.
  • In the workplace: Women are supposed to be assertive, but not too loud or straightforward (or they might be labeled as “bitchy”).
  • In social scenarios: Women have their clothing choices picked apart and labeled (e.g., too frumpy, not appropriate for their body type).
  • In public spaces: A woman has to be sure not to show a strong reaction to street harassment, like someone catcalling her. If she gives a positive response, then she’s asking for it. If she gives a negative response, then she’s ungrateful and ugly — both of which may put her at risk of physical threat or assault.

All of it gets draining!

Although the phrase “emotional labor” sounds like it is exclusively related to emotions, it can absolutely be physical.

Symptoms of emotional labor can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Burnout
  • Insomnia
  • Apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Pessimism
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Diminished sense of personal achievement

You might hear your client saying something like:

  • “No matter how hard I try to stay on top of things, I just can’t do it.”
  • “I just want to forget about everything.”

Emotional labor is both the exhausting emotion-related work that women do every day and the actual physical tasks they are “responsible” for — which can be draining on a woman’s emotional, mental, and physical capacity. And this can make it near-impossible for her to follow your instructions!

 

Coaching Solution

It’s important to consider emotional labor in your coaching because it may be taking away from the energy your client has to train, eat well, recover, or take care of herself.

Understanding her experience and supporting her accordingly is all part of being a person-focused coach. Ask your clients to take stock of what they have going on in their lives:

“It sounds like you’re feeling really overwhelmed by everything, and I think that’s totally normal. You have a lot going on. Tell me more about what feels most overwhelming.”

Here are four more ways that you may be able to help:

Watch Out for Benevolent Sexism

Statements like “Women are just better with emotions!” distill the belief that all women fit into a narrow and limited description. It also leads to emotional labor (assuming that women should and will take on certain added roles and responsibilities without their express consent).

Identify Signs of Burnout

Listen for phrases like “It never ends!” or “I can’t catch up!” Active listening and open-ended questions can go a long way in getting a better picture of your client’s experience. Work together to determine actionable strategies that she can use to lessen the load. For example, are there tasks in her life that she can automate or outsource to make room for what’s most important for her, thereby cutting down on her emotional (and physical) labor load?

Introduce Your Client to the Concept of “Emotional Labor”

You may be surprised how many women will nod in agreement, amazed that a term exists to describe their experience. It’s powerful to put into words something that has been so subjective. This alone can help you be supportive to your client.

Introduce Coping Strategies

Encourage your client to continue training and to celebrate all of her accomplishments. Help her focus on self-care through exercise, nutrition, sleep quality, meditation, and celebrating wins.

We also love this advice that personal trainer, nutrition coach, and GGS-1 grad Jennifer Kleist has for her clients:

“Consistency exists on a continuum. As long as you don’t give up, you haven’t failed.”

This is an excellent way to remind your client that even when everything feels overwhelming, every time she makes a choice to focus on self-care, she’s doing something awesome that should be celebrated and that will make a difference in the long term.

 

Your Coaching Opportunity

As you’ve learned, these five roadblocks can form tremendous obstacles for our female clients — even as they are trying to change their behavior. (And indeed, the same obstacles might impede us as we pursue our own goals.)

If your client is struggling to stay consistent, show up for her workouts, or follow your instructions — she might just be dealing with one (or more) of these roadblocks.

And while these topics may be hard to identify and discuss, you can learn how to do so in a way that empowers your clients. Indeed, the coaching solutions you put into action may help break down self-imposed limitations, challenge societal myths, remove negative thought patterns, and improve overall mindset and well-being.

Being able to have open and honest conversations about these personal roadblocks is truly a coaching superpower — and the coaches that put in the deeper work to do it right have a tremendous opportunity to raise the standard of care for women everywhere.

To stand apart in your field and provide your clients with an unmatched experience, you must understand the coaching and psychology elements of successful, rewarding client-coach relationships. Developing these skills takes time and requires practice and ongoing education.

That’s why we created our Girls Gone Strong Level 1 Women’s Coaching Specialist Certification. To teach health and fitness professionals who work with women more than just anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and exercise.

When you commit to your ongoing learning and growth, you’ll develop a reputation as someone who “gets it” — a coach who truly understands how to work with women.

And your clients will thank you.



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Queensland prepares $150 million rescue package for state’s struggling universities

The Queensland governing administration will supply $150 million in loans to the state’s university sector, which has endured in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Countless numbers of persons right throughout regional Queensland count on universities for a task,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Sunday.

“This package will aid to hold all our universities open, safeguarding these positions.”

Universities will be able to implement for financial loans with five-calendar year compensation terms to support dollars stream, retain employees and retain exploration assignments.

Queensland universities, and universities throughout the region, have dropped profits for the duration of the pandemic soon after Australia’s borders were being shut, limiting the movement of global learners.

The Queensland university sector has reported it will drop much more than $1 billion this 12 months, putting 4000 work at hazard.

Until finally the pandemic strike, the worldwide university student current market in the state was well worth $3 billion a yr.

Individuals in Australia must continue to be at the very least 1.5 metres absent from other people. Look at your state’s limitations on accumulating restrictions.

If you are encountering cold or flu signs or symptoms, keep dwelling and set up a exam by contacting your doctor or speak to the Coronavirus Health and fitness Facts Hotline on 1800 020 080. Information and facts is offered in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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Gen Z is struggling to be productive working from home


Our mission to help you navigate the new normal is fueled by subscribers. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.

One might assume that Gen Zers, who were born during the internet era, would thrive working from home. Nope.

At 43%, workers aged 18 to 24 are most likely to say their productivity has decreased since they started working remotely. That’s the finding from a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 2,802 U.S. adults between July 17 and 21.

It does make sense: Many of these workers are early in their career, or even just starting their first post-grad job, and still learning the ropes of their new profession. That could be challenging without in-person direction or a company that understands how to properly onboard a remote worker. 

Overall, the productivity results for remote working are lackluster. Among remote workers, 29% say they’re less productive, 24% more productive, and 47% equally productive. While some workers are more productive as they cut out workplace distractions and commutes, many others, including parents affected by a lack of child care, are struggling. 

These numbers challenge the national narrative that WFH has been a success and is threatening to upend business as usual—and commercial estate in expensive cities—even after the crisis ends.

And that share of more productive workers could be misleadingly high: Many workers are being pushed to be more productive as employers lay off staff en masse, but that could reverse as the economy improves. 

At 33%, remote workers aged 25 to 34 are the only age group more likely to say they’ve seen their productivity increase rather than decline (25% say the latter). Millennials are also the age group most likely to say they’d prefer to fully work from home in the fall (48%). Compare that to 18- to 24-year-olds, the group least likely to want to WFH, at 27%. 

Among millennials, at least, WFH seems to be more than a phase. 

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,802 adults in the U.S. between July 17–21. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.

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This is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an exclusive newsletter that Fortune Premium subscribers receive as a perk of their subscription. The newsletter shares in-depth research on the most discussed topics in the business world right now. Our findings come from special surveys we run and proprietary data we collect and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.



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Wests Tigers take on struggling Brisbane Broncos at Leichhardt Oval


The Tigers were pretty good against Souths last week, Brisbane have been awful and didn’t look good at all in victory against the Dogs. But there’s something about Brisbane’s performance tonight that really says not all is right at the glamour club. They are young, yes, but there are other big, big issues. The coach may be the one that pays.

And has Billy Walters scored here for the Tigers? Gone up as a try.



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Coronavirus: Outdoor pools and lidos struggling to reopen


Jubilee Pool in Penzance

Image caption

The Jubilee Pool in Penzance is hoping to reopen at the end of July

Operators of outdoor swimming pools have criticised the timing of the government announcement allowing them to reopen.

Some have decided not to open, claiming a lack of preparation time has made a shorter summer season “unviable”.

Many are run by community groups or charities and have mounted fundraising efforts in order to survive.

The government said “comprehensive guidance” was available to leisure operators.

As part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, swimmers can visit outdoor pools from Saturday, while indoor gyms, pools and sports facilities can reopen from 25 July.

Pool operators have said the announcement came too late to allow them to go through the process of cleaning and filling pools and meeting both water-quality and coronavirus safety standards.

Image caption

The lido in Petersfield, Hampshire, takes two weeks to fill and two weeks to heat up

There are more than 100 outdoor public swimming baths around the country – many restored and run by community groups.

The volunteer-run Hilsea Lido in Hampshire said on Facebook, “with a heavy heart”, it would not reopen until 2021.

“With no clear indication of when we would be allowed to open, we were not able to prepare the pool in advance.

“Hilsea Lido is a massive pool and the preparation costs reflect this,” it said.

Shap Lido in Cumbria – England’s “highest heated pool” – said it would “not be financially viable” to open for a six-week summer period, as did Portishead’s community lido in Somerset.

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TERRY-HARRIS.COM

Image caption

Peterborough’s lido is among those not reopening this weekend

In Berkshire Covid-19 restrictions meant contactors were not been able to complete repair work on Northcroft Lido, which will remain closed as a result.

Peterborough’s 1930s art deco lido will also not reopen this weekend after its operator was forced to hand back its council contract due to financial difficulties during the crisis.

Among those planning to open is Lymington Sea Water Baths in Hampshire which dates back to the early 19th Century.

Manager Hugo Ambrose said: “It’s certainly not going to be a good, viable year but I do think there’s a community we need to work with.”

Cornwall’s coastal art deco Jubilee Pool in Penzance is hoping to reopen at the end of July.

Operations officer Nicola Murdoch said reopening “isn’t possible at 48 hours notice” and would require a deep clean, staff training and social distancing measures.

“It’s fantastic to have the green light, but a little more notice like indoor leisure centres would have been helpful,” she added.

Image caption

The covers remain on Droitwich Lido which plans to reopen for six weeks this summer

Droitwich Lido plans to open in August thanks to a £55,000 grant from Wychavon Council.

Manager Tim Kirkham said: “We’re in winter mode – we’ve got a lot of work and power washing to do but I’m sure we can do it. People have been so supportive.”

However its usual capacity of 550 swimmers will be reduced to about 100.

In London, the 1930s Parliament Hill Lido has introduced online booking for hour-long socially distanced sessions for an “adjustment to a new way of swimming”.

The Department of Media, Culture and Sport said: “We recognise the importance of reopening our indoor and outdoor pools as swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy.

“We have published comprehensive guidance to enable the reopening of outdoor pools and outdoor water parks.”



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David Fifita’s contract negotiations another distraction for struggling Brisbane Broncos


There have been more than a few players of late able to move like an outside back but hit with the force of a genuine forward.

But only a couple have known when to use each facet of their game.

Jason Taumalolo is one. Sonny Bill Williams was another.

The Brisbane Broncos have one in their midst and they’re seemingly within inches of losing him to a reported $1 million-a-season offer from the Gold Coast Titans.

David Fifita is the best of a bright young batch of forwards at the Broncos.(AAP: Darren England)

After a week of speculation, including a reported complete 180 in the space of an hour, David Fifita’s future is still up in the air.

And for a team like the Broncos, who are already on the ground, this sort of thing is like kicking them while they’re down and then gluing them to the floor for future kickings.

The Broncos are in an odd situation because they built a team for a sport they no longer play and now need to look ahead to rebuild a team for the new normal.

When the six-again rules were changed, the Broncos were hit harder than any other team, as you can see by comparing their 0-6 record after the break to their 2-0 start.

That’s partly because they had invested heavily in big forwards that could win a wrestling match, with a dearth of improvisational wonders in the line-up.

Anthony Milford, who got a contract extension earlier this year, was supposed to be one of those but has seemingly lost his powers. Teenager Tesi Niu, who locked in a new deal this week, is apparently going to be one. But Fifita is one right now.

He is one of the only people in that team who can create something out of nothing. Just look at the 69-metre effort from round one as evidence of how special he is.

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And the thing is, while that was undeniably spectacular, it wasn’t even that much of a surprise because he’s done this sort of thing over and over and over again.

He’s 20 years old and he’s already a Maroon and an Indigenous All Star with a green and gold jersey an inevitability. And because of all that, it’s entirely possible that the Broncos simply cannot afford him.

The salary cap is a fickle thing and the Broncos have already extended players through next season.

While Darius Boyd has attracted a lot of attention for a lack of return on investment, he’s far from the team’s biggest problem with his retirement announcement a pressure release for the club.

But Jack Bird has a player option for 2021, which with his injury history and lack of form, he would be mad not to pick up or re-negotiate a longer-term deal. Corey Oates is also struggling for form and has player options coming up. And the ill-disciplined Tevita Pangai Jr is on big money through 2022.

A male Brisbane Broncos player lies on the ground clutching his leg after injuring his knee at an NRL training session.
The Broncos have a lot of money tied up in Jack Bird, who has played 17 games over three-and-a-half seasons.(AAP: Darren England)

Then there are long-term deals for Payne Haas, Matt Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Pat Carrigan (signed when hard-working forwards were all the rage) and Jamayne Isaako that, while they may be better value, are still soaking up cap space for the next few years.

So, what to do about Fifita; the youngest and best of the lot?

Talk of a possible one-year loan before returning to Brisbane seems fishy and unlikely. Fifita is good mates with a number of Titans, including another high-profile recruit, Melbourne’s Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, so banking on a 2022 comeback is a massive risk.

With money coming off the books at the end of this year (Boyd) and next year (Bird), by that point the team could be in the middle of a rebuild with money to spend, so it makes sense in a vacuum.

David Fifita looks to offload for the Queensland Maroons during a tackle by the NSW Blues' Cameron Murray in State of Origin I.
David Fifita last year became Queensland’s youngest debutant since Israel Folau.(AAP: Darren England)

Even so, the one-year plan feels like a bargaining chip at best and a way to get him out of Brisbane’s clutches at worst and the Broncos will surely be wary of any deal that they don’t have control over.

But coronavirus colours everything; even this debate.

We’ve seen leagues around the world flag cap reductions as a result of massive losses incurred from the pandemic. Why should the NRL — currently playing a reduced season in front of minimal crowds, with extra money being pumped into travel and biosecurity measures — be any different?

If the cap comes down even a little bit, an expensive long-term deal for Fifita could become an albatross.

But think about the players mentioned at the start of this piece. The Broncos have to think whether they would be willing to hitch their wagon to players of the Taumalolo or SBW pedigree, because Fifita can be that good.





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‘It’s horrific’: Residents of Melbourne’s locked-down towers are struggling to receive essential supplies


As Victorian Leading Daniel Andrews insists the hard lockdown of nine community housing towers is not a punishment, people inside of say they are battling to accessibility crucial supplies.

Nine towers in Flemington and North Melbourne have been locked down since Saturday in an exertion to slow the distribute of coronavirus, with 3,000 residents not able to depart their apartments for any explanation for at the very least five times.

Mr Andrews reported thousands of foods, together with hundreds of toiletry packs and treatment packs for kids have been distributed to people.

The authorities is also offering bread and milk after the staples were being missing from hampers on Sunday.

Victorian Law enforcement officers and health and fitness personnel are noticed outside a public housing tower along Racecourse Street in Melbourne.

AAP

But some inhabitants have reported complications in obtaining all sorts of materials.

On working day three of the community housing estate lockdown, single mother Maima, who does not want to be identified by her entire identify, stated she arrived at breaking stage.

“I will not feel I can tackle it any more,” she explained to SBS Information.

“I am disappointed and angry. I wasn’t prepared at all.” 

The mom-of-seven in one particular of the Flemington general public housing towers mentioned it has been particularly difficult to care for her infant without obtain to critical materials like nappies and fresh milk.

Workers in hazardous material overalls are seen outside of a public housing tower along Racecourse Road in Melbourne.

Workers in harmful substance overalls are observed outdoors of a community housing tower along Racecourse Street in Melbourne.

AAP

“We are in two bedrooms with eight of us,” she explained, even though comforting her crying 8-7 days-previous infant little one.

“They [the children] want fresh milk. They want toast. They want a normal daily life.”

She explained the youngsters have been residing off foods of Weet-Bix breakfast cereal – without having milk.

“I can’t maintain them fed any more … I you should not know how to describe. I failed to count on this.”

At 4pm, Maima said she received the 1st supply of meals supplies, soon after calling the health and fitness office hotline and sending 4 text messages.

But she said the family has nevertheless to be tested for COVID-19. 

“We haven’t been examined. And the kids are acquiring annoyed. My sixteen-calendar year-outdated reported she does not want to be tested any more since she has been waiting [from] Saturday.” 

Left to right: Brotherhood of St Laurence's Polly Graham, Mohamad Yusuf and Hannah Ibrahim say a number of residents have yet to receive supplies.

Still left to right: Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Polly Graham, Mohamad Yusuf and Hannah Ibrahim say a selection of residents have however to get materials.

SBS

‘We’re sharing what we have’

The Yusuf family is in a neighbouring tower beneath lockdown.

Father-of-a few Mohamad Yusuf claimed inhabitants in the developing are sharing what supplies they have, but the anxiety of contagion is a continuous issue.

“We only have the provides we already experienced in the house on Saturday and now we are operating very minimal.”

At least 53 conditions have been linked to nine community housing towers under lockdown as the point out data its 20th consecutive day of double-digit expansion.

“I’m supporting out my elderly neighbours. Getting some information and facts to them. Getting some necessary things like sugar and milk to them. We are sharing [our supplies].

“The virus could distribute. But when persons you should not have ample essentials, we have to go out and share stuff. You are selling the spread of the virus.”

Polly Graham from the charity Brotherhood of St Laurence explained she has been fielding phone calls from distressed inhabitants who are trying to adapt to a lockdown they experienced no time to get ready for.

Ms Graham stated she has experienced to personally intervene to produce a late-night time offer of baby formulation for a mother who had operate out on Sunday evening.

In a different case, a mother was urgently seeking treatment for her son who has a condition which he has been hospitalised for many situations in the past 12 months.

“She was not capable to get drugs for her son. I experienced to call a community politician to get in touch with Daniel Andrews’ place of work and to beg him to get motion for this certain mom. And it was only this morning that she received the drugs. That is about 35 hrs soon after she started off begging for medication for her son. “

Require for culturally-acceptable meals

Whilst the point out govt stated it has been distributing foodstuff considering the fact that Saturday when the lockdown was introduced, some citizens have noted that some of the solutions had expired.

Group groups have stepped in to react to demand from customers.

President of the Australian African Affiliation, Nasa Ige, claimed local community customers have been sourcing culturally-proper food stuff from close by restaurants.

About 1000 Food Bank hampers have been distributed to residents in the locked public housing towers, but not everyone has received the supplies.

About 1000 Meals Bank hampers have been distributed to citizens in the locked community housing towers, but not everybody has received the materials.

AAP

Mr Ige said a big share of people in the public housing towers are refugees from war zones in Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Eritrea.  

“As a community, we are here to help. We converse to the people instantly and find out what they can try to eat.

“We generate down [what they can eat] and go to nearby East African dining establishments. We discuss to the proprietors and we ask can they cook dinner what these citizens can eat.”

The Victorian Trades Hall partnered with social company Moving Feast to offer halal meals.

Mr Ige said he has been aiding to co-ordinate the provision of materials and to deliver details for citizens who do not speak English.

Painkillers are 1 of the most asked for goods, Mr Ige stated.

Australian African Association president Nasa Ige says members of the community have stepped in to provide translation and arrange the delivery of meals.

Australian African Association president Nasa Ige says members of the local community have stepped in to provide translation and set up the shipping and delivery of foods.

SBS

Hannah Ibrahim in the Flemington general public housing towers stated she and other residents are more than joyful to be analyzed and are waiting to get examination kits.

But in the meantime, the absence of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser has built it distressing for residents who go as a result of shared spaces to collect foods still left in the foyer.

“We are much more than happy to be tested. We want this virus below regulate. Just not like this,” she stated.

Ms Ibrahim stated she would like much more methods directed to the provision of health employees, social employees and translators.

‘We are sitting ducks’

A further resident of a community housing making in Flemington reported she has been ready for information about when she can have her everyday treatment sent.

“We bought a single letter shipped this early morning telling us to keep in our models and at some point we would be tested and they have hung just one mask on our door,” Janine Kelly stated.

The 50-calendar year-previous has the lung condition emphysema, which leads to shortness of breath. She is anxious to hear much more regular updates.

She has tried calling the overall health office hotline relating to her medication, but nonetheless “hasn’t heard a phrase”.

Of the 127 new cases in Victoria on Monday, 16 were detected in the public housing towers that have been locked down.

Of the 127 new conditions in Victoria on Monday, 16 were being detected in the general public housing towers that have been locked down.

AAP

A box of food stuff was sent to her device just immediately after 5pm, but in advance of then there was “no meals, no guidance”.

“It’s not some thing that we can go ‘oh, certainly, it’s possible, no’ we are going to just wait around till you get it together. It can be horrific,” she stated.

“It can be scary to believe it is spreading … it’s like we are sitting ducks, I am terrified.”

She added that she hasn’t had the opportunity to do a coronavirus check as of Monday night.

“We just want responses, and all people is asking the same issue: where’s the test? You should, can you hurry up and get us analyzed.”

Folks in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres absent from many others. Verify your state’s limits on collecting restrictions.

Tests for coronavirus is greatly out there throughout Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu signs or symptoms, set up a take a look at by contacting your medical professional or get hold of the Coronavirus Overall health Information and facts Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing application COVIDSafe is accessible for download from your phone’s application store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s assorted communities about the newest COVID-19 developments. Information and details is readily available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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A mountain to climb: MEC was struggling before COVID-19. Now the pandemic threatens its survival


In early June, three weeks before MEC’s annual general meeting and hours before scrutineers were set to tally the votes for the new members of the co-op’s board, the organization made a surprise announcement: it was delaying the vote-count and postponing the AGM until December. The rationale, said MEC’s leadership: it needed more time “dealing with the acute challenges stemming from COVID-19.”

While many organizations have deferred their AGMs because of the pandemic, in MEC’s case it means a tense wait for staff and members — its de facto shareholders. The Vancouver-based organization was set to update members on its financial standing following a year punctuated by record losses and mass layoffs never publicly disclosed, and its plan to face a pandemic that threatens the future of retail. “For the same reason they’re saying they want to delay the AGM, it’s really important that we have the meeting,” says Stephen Jones, a longtime MEC member and board candidate.

Less than a month into the coronavirus crisis, the organization had disclosed that it was operating under a “keep the lights on” model. Country-wide lockdowns had forced it to temporarily close its 22 retail stores and lay off more than 1,300 staff. “The net result for MEC is that [the pandemic] has created significant cash pressure,” the company wrote in an April statement.

That pressure, however, has been building for years, putting the organization on what MEC’s new CEO Phil Arrata called an “unsustainable trajectory” in November 2019, well before COVID-19. MEC reached what looked like a tipping point that year, booking a more-than $11-million loss, the steepest recorded deficit in its 49-year history. The record losses followed what sources call a confluence of missteps by the board and management, including a poorly timed expansion of its physical stores, and what six former board members, ex-staff and founding members who spoke to The Logic describe as an erosion of the culture and values on which the co-op was founded.

Arrata declined an interview with The Logic. MEC itself provided limited comment via email. But as COVID-19 tests the resilience of businesses and industries around the world, retail experts and MEC’s members both question whether the iconic Canadian brand will survive the crisis.

The old guard says the co-op’s stumble was in aspiring to be another big-box store. More recent leaders within the group say MEC’s downfall was not growing fast and big enough — conflicting theories that underscore a cultural rift growing inside the organization. Those less attached to the brand’s legacy suggest MEC bungled its chance to innovate and keep pace with a transforming retail sector. “[It] made a strategic error by not focusing on building its online brand [and] investing in efficient and cost-effective fulfillment,” says Brittain Ladd, a veteran retail consultant. “MEC cannot survive.”

***

Mountain Equipment Co-op — now just MEC — was started by a group of rock climbers in B.C. who were tired of crossing the U.S. border to find gear for their trips. One rainy day, sitting in a tent at the foot of Mount Baker in Washington state, the group, mostly made up of university students, brainstormed ways to start their own equipment outfit.

They started small, in a room at the University of British Columbia student union building, incorporating in 1971 with six founding members. The founders argued over whether to run the organization as a for-profit company. Jim Byers, the member who took the lead on getting MEC off the ground and whom fellow-founder Roland Burton refers to as “Socialist Jim,” was adamant about it being a co-op — owned by its customers, or members, who vote on its leadership. The model would keep the organization accountable to the people it served and ensure members had a say over how MEC developed. It also suited the backcountry camping ethos of the time to which the group ascribed — a culture rooted in thrift and environmentalism, before glamping and SUVs entered the lexicon. “[Jim’s] arguments ultimately prevailed, possibly because he was willing to devote three years of his life to getting the infant co-op up and running,” says Sara Golling, another founding member.

Cash was tight for the first few years, with the co-op operating on $5 membership fees and a modest 20 per cent markup on goods. Rather than holding inventory — most of what they did have was kept at Burton’s mother’s house; the group ran demos out of a van — they would place orders to suppliers as requests and payments came in.

MEC cannot survive

Brittain Ladd

Within three years, the co-op had 700 members and a store in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. It started making its own gear in 1979, and by the end of its first decade, it had amassed 57,000 members and more than doubled that over the next five years. By 1997, membership had grown to a million.

“I think MEC’s original success came from doing things differently from the usual run of retail businesses — being a co-op that was there to serve its members, and [doing] that really well,” says Golling, on a break from planting vegetables at her home in Rossland, B.C. MEC’s co-op status also meant it didn’t have to factor profit margins into its prices — a feature that irked some suppliers and competitors, who said it gave MEC an unfair advantage. Some suppliers refused to sell to the co-op, worried its low prices would erode their brands. In response, MEC developed an in-house label, which made up the bulk of its sales by 2001.

Over those two decades, the MEC brand slowly seeped into the Canadian consciousness. The co-op took a measured approach to expansion, opening just four stores from 1977 to 1998, starting with Calgary, then moving into Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton. When Peter Robinson — a former park ranger and BC Housing CEO — took the helm in 2000, he warned that unbridled expansion could erode MEC’s core values, rooted in democratic governance and respect for the environment. Nevertheless, growth took off under Robinson. The co-op opened six stores over the next seven years, a pace it maintained when Robinson left to become CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation and David Labistour was promoted in 2008 from chief product officer to CEO.

David Labistour in MEC's Toronto flagship store in 2008.

David Labistour in MEC’s Toronto flagship store in 2008.

Aaron Lynett/National Post files

Labistour — who had consultant and management stints at Aritzia, Adidas and South African retail chain Woolworths — ushered in an era of significant change at the co-op. To keep up with its ongoing physical expansion, MEC began aggressively marketing to mainstream consumers. In 2011, Labistour shifted focus to “hurdle activities” like walking, cycling and fitness — what he described as the easiest way to get people interested in the outdoors. The stores began stocking yoga mats, commuter bikes, and Levi’s jeans — products more suited to urban living than back-country trekking. In 2013, the organization rebranded as MEC, and the “mountain” and the “co-op” both receded from view.

The new direction and pace of growth coincided with a gradual chipping away of members’ powers. In 2013, MEC updated its nomination process, allowing it to reject candidates for directors’ seats who don’t meet specific criteria, including having “professional leadership experience” or having served on another board or as senior management in a “complex organization.” That year, the board also passed a rule requiring members to get 500 member signatures — up from just five the year before — to propose a special resolution for a vote. After amassing enough signatures, the board could reject the resolution if two-thirds of directors voted against it; if it does pass, the resolution wouldn’t necessarily be binding.

“I think the board took advantage of the fact that the majority of members tend to vote for whatever the board recommends without giving it too much thought — and proceeded to get that majority of members to agree to give up their power to do anything but agree with the board,” says Golling, who served 15 years on the board, between 1991 and 2011.

MEC was becoming indistinguishable from any big-box department store, say critics of the new model; it was morphing from a co-operative to a corporation. The organization’s chief purpose, stated in its co-operative bylaws, is to serve members in their pursuit of “self-propelled wilderness oriented recreational activities.”

MEC was morphing from a co-operative to a corporation

“I felt that the management team and the board were starting to deviate from what those core purposes were and they were instead optimizing for a different set of metrics, which was an increase in year-over-year sales growth,” says Jones, the would-be board candidate.

The shift drove a wedge between the organization’s present leadership and members nostalgic for the early days, when the co-op appealed to a more niche customer base. According to former employees who spoke to The Logic, it wasn’t the fading exclusivity that bothered them; rather, they worried the business would suffer as it moved further from its original vision. “My concern a number of years ago was, if we keep going down this path where it’s harder for members to engage democratically with the co-op and where the leadership is pursuing a different agenda than what we captured in our purpose, the organization might end up in a position where we’re selling a lot of things, but we’re financially weak and we’re not doing what we set out to do,” says Jones. “And unfortunately, that kind of happened.”

***

Certainly, any problems within MEC weren’t evident on the surface. MEC continued racking up accolades, projecting an outward appearance that it was thriving. It was named the most trusted brand in Canada by the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business in 2019 and 2020. Forbes magazine ranked it among Canada’s best employers in 2018. Business in Vancouver named David Labistour top CEO in 2017, and the co-op topped Canadian Business’s list of best brands in both 2016 and 2017.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong at MEC. After losing $11.5 million in its 2018–2019 fiscal year, the organization blamed the tough year on soft sales amid increased competition. But sales were actually slightly higher than the year before, so that didn’t explain the nearly 200 per cent drop in earnings. In media interviews and public statements, the co-op’s leadership and board, including Arrata, a former Best Buy executive who was then the incoming CEO, glossed over the $8.5 million in restructuring fees, nearly $7.3 million of which was earmarked for payouts to employees. According to a source familiar with MEC’s restructuring, which took place in fiscal year 2018–19, most of those costs were for severance packages paid to former staff whose layoffs and departures were never publicly disclosed. “[The staff cutbacks] came from pressure from the banks to manage their cash or have their lines of credit pulled,” says the source, whom The Logic agreed not to name because they were not authorized to speak on the record. When asked, MEC did not say how many employees it let go; nor did Labistour, who was CEO at the time. “It has been a while. I do not have this at hand,” he says in an email to The Logic.

The co-op’s early catalogues emphasized climbing gear and its own products. In the last decade, MEC’s focus has shifted to “hurdle activities” like walking, cycling and fitness. Handout/MEC

That cash crunch, says the source, was a consequence of MEC’s expansion. In 2016, the co-op sold a building it owned on King Street West in downtown Toronto for just shy of $50 million. The cash helped finance moves and expansions of two locations in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as new stores in Calgary and Saskatoon whose openings were slated for later this year — the co-op has since postponed its Saskatoon opening; when asked by The Logic, it did not say whether its Calgary store will open as planned. “All of that is a huge fixed cost,” says the source. “MEC has an enormous cost base before you sell a single piece of polar fleece. And we made it worse with the decisions we made in 2015 onwards.”

Labistour maintains the expansion was a good idea. “Even with hindsight I do not think physical expansion was a mistake. If anything… I believe we should have been more aggressive with our short term store openings,” he says in an email to The Logic. “Why? We have long had the data that supports the fact that a physical store drives e-commerce growth in a store catchment area.”

Indeed, the precise reasons for MEC’s financial turmoil are mired in various, sometimes contradicting theories on everything from mainstreaming its product line to growing its online presence to maintaining its co-op ethos amid mass growth. Several sources familiar with MEC’s recent strategy shifts say disagreement over what the organization should and should not be has weakened the brand — which is now part niche outdoors shop, part suburban outlet store and part online retailer competing with the likes of Amazon — potentially diluting its value proposition for customers.

Amid its identity struggle, critics argue, MEC was not adapting well to the changing realities of retail. The past decade has seen sales of everything from mattresses to groceries shift online — and that was before the pandemic, when a robust online presence went from competitive edge to the only way for many businesses to operate. “The primary issue with MEC is that the products they sell are increasingly available online from other retailers,” says Ladd, the retail consultant, who’s worked on supply-chain management for firms including Amazon, Dell and Michaels.


The inside of a MEC store in Vancouver.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press files

Following its latest financial report, MEC cited online competition as a main headwind, despite its e-commerce sales growing from 12 to 24 per cent during Labistour’s tenure, according to Labistour himself. Ladd might shrug at that. “Having 24 per cent [online] sales isn’t unusual for a brand like MEC. The question is: what was their average profit margin for every order they fulfilled online?” he says, suggesting the co-op may well have lost money on those sales after factoring in unwieldy operating and logistics costs. “It costs a fortune to ship big bulky items.”

A former employee who worked on the e-commerce team contends that MEC’s e-commerce business consistently fell short of its targets. “There was almost no prioritization of e-commerce at the company,” says the former staffer, who in March was permanently laid off from the firm’s e-commerce division — which was only about 20 people to begin with. “They talk about competition as a big reason why the company isn’t doing well, but there’s also conflicting opinions around whether they are focusing on the right competition,” says the former staff member. “For a while they were like, ‘Amazon, Amazon.’ I think they were missing the point that Amazon is a tech company and logistics company; there’s no way that an outdoor retailer is going to compete with that.”

At the same time, more obvious competitors have been gaining market share in Canada, including Bass Pro Shops subsidiary Cabela’s and Canadian Tire’s Atmosphere. And the more MEC approached its business like a tech company, the more challenging it became to find top talent for the team, says the source, who estimates he could have earned 20 per cent more doing the same job at a tech company.


A Cabela’s store in Edmonton.

David Bloom/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency files

MEC’s issues may not have been limited to the e-commerce side. Niv Froehlich, who worked part-time as an adviser at MEC’s downtown Toronto location, blames what he characterizes as abysmal supply-chain management for sales losses; that, he says, affected the retail locations, too. “As frontline staff, many of us see the issue of chronic out-of-stock merchandise as the number one reason that our store loses sales,” he wrote in a report for management and some of MEC’s executives in May 2019. Froehlich — a former IT manager who worked part time at MEC to support his paddle-boarding and camping habits — tells The Logic it was common for one store to have low or no stock of popular items while another store in a nearby city was overstocked on the same merchandise. “There were products in the chain that just weren’t making it to the shelf,” he says.

Froehlich says neither the store management nor the executive team took his recommendations for how to improve the supply-chain kinks. He says the response he got confirmed his sense that MEC’s leadership had lost touch with frontline staff and the members they served. He expressed his frustration in his resignation letter in November 2019: “My primary reason for leaving MEC is that our leadership plainly and clearly do not espouse the values of our co-op,” he wrote.

The sentiment was echoed by some of his colleagues out West, who were embroiled in a union-organizing drive in an effort to negotiate better wages and job security. The Victoria store’s staff had lodged an unfair labour practice complaint against MEC, alleging that management used “scare tactics” against organizers by using its precarious financial standing to discourage them from unionizing, after staff in Vancouver voted to organize months earlier. “We shared major financial information [with the union’s bargaining committee] which even our banks have not seen yet because we felt the information was important in understanding the seriousness of our situation in B.C. and across the Co-op,” the company wrote in a memo to employees.

After what sources describe to The Logic as an “aggressive” campaign to thwart their efforts, Victoria workers successfully unionized in November 2019. In response, MEC issued wage hikes across the organization and made permanent some 950 casual positions across the country — which some staff saw as a way to placate non-unionized workers, according to sources. For many of its 2,400 employees, their time with MEC came to an end in early January, as the stock market was cresting and just before a pandemic wreaked further havoc on MEC’s business.

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No event in recent history has delivered as swift and powerful a blow to the economy as COVID-19. GDP in Canada is expected to contract 25 per cent in the second quarter by one estimate, by far the largest drop in the past 60 years. In a survey of 12,600 Canadian businesses, nearly a third of respondents said their revenues for the first quarter of 2020 were down at least 40 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. Businesses in recreation and retail trade spaces were particularly hard hit, thanks to low customer demand.

For businesses already on shaky financial footing, the economic fallout of the pandemic could be fatal. “There will be a lot of retail insolvencies,” says David Filice, a partner at accounting firm Fuller Landau, who focuses on corporate restructuring. “Retailers, if they’re predominantly bricks and mortar and don’t have a strong digital presence, they’ve been struggling with that over a number of years. If their bankers were nervous before the pandemic,” he says, “it’s going to be a rough ride — it’s going to be a very rough ride.”


For businesses already on shaky financial footing, the economic fallout of the pandemic could be fatal.

Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images files

Filice calls this period the quiet before what he expects will be a storm of insolvencies. Bankruptcies and proposals were down 41.5 per cent and 37.2 per cent, respectively, in April compared to a month earlier, but there are early signs of what’s to come. Sail Outdoors, a Laval, Que.-based competitor of MEC’s, filed for bankruptcy protection in early June, a consequence of the pandemic.

“There is no question that post-COVID operations will mean that financial metrics will look different but those who figure it out will win,” says Labistour. He rejects the argument that MEC’s financial challenges are the result of scope creep, its store buildout or its changing values. If anything, he says, the co-op’s mistake was not changing enough. “The organization has, in spite of its difficulties, been an innovator in many areas,” he tells The Logic via LinkedIn. “The question is…..have they moved fast enough?”

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Many Canadians know Beaver Canoe as the diamond-framed logo stitched into Roots apparel. But it used to be a beloved brand of actual boats built by canoe enthusiast and camp founder Omer Stringer. Roots co-founders Michael Budman and Don Green linked up with Stringer in the early 1980s, helping him ramp up production of the canoes. But as Roots’s clothing business took off, Budman and Green wound down the canoe production, leaving Beaver Canoe to exist in name only — a logo on Roots shirts and sweaters. Stringer died five years later. In more recent iterations, the logo has been stamped on bargain-bin T-shirts at now-shuttered Target Canada stores and on bandanas, toys and collars sold for dogs. “This is what Beaver Canoe has become: it’s a nostalgic label on a t-shirt or a nice quality cotton hoodie,” says Froehlich. “That will be the story of MEC.”

For now, members are left to wonder about the damage done by COVID-19. They could be waiting a while. By the time MEC holds its AGM on December 10, it will be nine months since the pandemic started and 10 months since the end of its 2019–2020 fiscal, which, having ended just before the pandemic, won’t capture its impact on the business. “I really think they owe the members a lot more information,” says Jones, who objects to MEC taking the full six-month extension on holding AGMs that the B.C. government is allowing co-ops during the pandemic. “Can’t we have the interim financial statements? Can we make sure those election results are at least counted and tabulated?”

For Golling, the opacity around the process is another example of the co-op creating distance from the members it serves, and from its heyday. “I hope MEC can survive and rethink its approach, and return to being a true co-operative, and find a way to thrive without the need for unsustainable growth,” says Golling. “It still represents a Canadian retail co-op that was highly successful for over 45 years. I’d like to have been able to say 50 years, but we’re not quite there yet, are we?”

The Logic





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