job Roles Downwards

Instructor roles also differ in terms of the extent to which the job is stretched downwards to such tasks as working on reception and cleaning. Overall, French instructors were less likely to be performing these types of 'non-core' activities. The example of cleaning illustrates the differences across countries and organization. In all but three gyms (Ngym1, Fgym1, Fgym5), the job included some cleaning activities, although the type of cleaning varied. In a number of cases, instructors only cleaned the gym equipment (UKgym1, UKgym2, Fgym2, Fgym3). Overall, French instructors were less likely to be undertaking non-equipment cleaning; the only case of regular cleaning was at a small owner-run gym (Fgym4) where all staff (including the owner) did everything. The most onerous cleaning demands were found in the two local authority gyms in the UK and in one of the gyms in Norway (Ngym2). The instructors in these gyms were required to wash floors and windows, and in Ngym2 clean the changing rooms and toilets. They viewed their cleaning role far more negatively, seeing it as a purely cost-cutting exercise. As two instructors explained:

I have no education in washing, I want to work with people and health and exercise. (Maria, Ngym2)

If there is something in the changing room and it's on the floor, there's litter, then pick it up, fair enough; mopping and cleaning the changing rooms when you are meant to be working in the gym, I just think that is an absolute disgrace, I think it is just not acceptable when there are customers who constantly need help. (Joe, UK-LA1)

While using instructors to clean saves on the cost of employing dedicated cleaners, it could be argued, as did many of those interviewed, that this does not make the most effective use of their skills and knowledge nor does it do much for their professional image! Indeed, some managers in the UK argued that there were better things that instructors could be doing with their time, for example undertaking research, planning events, and developing new programmes. However, with pay rates of instructors similar to those of a cleaner, there was little cost incentive to employ specialist cleaners.

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