Exclusive tips from members of American Salon’s Better Business Network
American Salon Better Business Network members share their tips for creating a healthy, relaxing atmosphere amid salon staff’s busy schedules.
Stylists are known for having hectic workdays and always being on their feet, which can make it difficult to find time to eat a proper meal or take breaks. In response, some salons have come up with health and wellness initiatives to ensure their team is in the best mental and physical shape.
Stylists have busy schedules and stand on their feet most of the day, so water and food breaks are crucial for maintaining energy levels at work.
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Offering health insurance to employees is one way Salon 2000 in Fleming Island, FL encourages a healthy lifestyle. "By providing health insurance benefits, we demonstrate that Salon 2000 cares about the wellness of our team," says Meghann Codner, salon developer. Stylists are encouraged to use preventative health care provided by the insurer, and the salon also offers supplemental benefits.
Learning the best ergonomic techniques can prevent back problems and carpel tunnel syndrome, Codner explains. That's why Salon 2000 offers Pure Form training for stylists—basic techniques of the Aveda Hair Cutting System that utilize a blend of discipline and control. The cutting technique in turn teaches stylists proper posture and hand positioning, she says. "Being really conscientious about stance makes a big difference in the stylist's longevity in the industry," adds Maryann Matykowski, owner of Destiny Hair Designs in Peoria, AZ. Matykowski has noted over the years that many stylists stand with one foot on and one foot off the mat at their styling stations, which can lead to spine and hip issues. She also notices that stylists and technicians tend to lean their body predominantly one way, such as during lash extension services. Matykowski makes it a point to remind her staff that it's beneficial to take breaks and stretch.
Stylists at Salon 2000 are also educated about proper footwear. "A lot of stylists love their heels; however, standing in them for eight hours is not good for the body," says salon owner Lorraine Lillis. Lower back, hip, knee and even neck pain can stem from improper footwear. "The common habit of stylists is to wear fashionable heels to the salon, and to bring a pair of flats to change into when their feet begin to ache, but this is only trading one poor shoe choice for another," Lillis says. Salon 2000 team members are encouraged to wear shoes with heels that are at minimum a quarter inch, but not more than 2 inches. In addition, shoes should have good arch support, flex when they move and be comfortable, Lillis says.
During extra-hectic times in the salon, the team at Destiny Hair Designs implements relaxation breaks. "We set up an area in our salon to use for a mind reset," Matykowski says. For the relaxation break, a massage therapist uses aromatherapy in the facial steamer, usually a combination of lavender and sage. "This quick treatment rejuvenates the mind and senses," Matykowski says. At Salon 2000, the team begins each day with a wellness ritual including anything from massages to words of affirmation.
Stylists at Salon 2000 are encouraged to keep water bottles at their stations to stay hydrated. The salon also has snacks available for the team to fuel their bodies throughout the day. "We all work together to ensure we are properly and nutritionally fed throughout the day," Lillis says. The salon has a full-size refrigerator, freezer and microwave to make it easy for everyone to bring their lunches. Team members are given breaks throughout the day to ensure they are keeping their bodies properly nourished, too. Instead of sitting in the back room to eat, Matykowski encourages her team to take lunch outside and get fresh air. "Then when you come back from your break, you're rejuvenated," she says. ✂ —Corie Russell