As a salon or barbershop manager, you probably know all about how to keep your employees safe from accidents at work. Health and safety training, fire drills and proper salon hygiene procedures are all part of running your business.
But, many of us forget just how important it is to look after mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, too.
According to the mental health charity, Mind, around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. What’s more, The Mental Health Foundation reports that almost 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace, with women almost twice as likely as men to suffer.
So, with these statistics in mind, it’s likely that somebody working in your salon will be vulnerable to a mental health problem at some point. Add to this the fact that the hair and beauty industry can also be demanding, with back-to-back appointments, working weekends and a fast-paced environment, and there could be serious strain put on our wellbeing.
However, that doesn’t mean it is all bad news either! In fact, a 2005 study famously revealed that hairdressers reported the highest level of job satisfaction out of a number of professions. As a vocation, hairdressers and beauticians tend to have a passion for what they do, enjoy the social aspect of their job and feel like they can genuinely help their clients – all of which is great for our mental health at work!
So, how do we strike that balance in our salons between enjoying our skills as hairdressers and maintaining our mental health? We’ve put together some tips and advice…
Why is Health and Wellbeing Important in the Workplace?
Understanding why wellbeing is so important in the workplace is a good place to start.
Firstly, we all care about our work colleagues, so of course the main reason it is so important is to help and support everyone in our team.
But, there’s even more to it than this. Studies have shown that companies who prioritise wellbeing outperform those who don’t. A positive and supportive work environment improves productivity, with a more motivated, innovative and loyal team – this benefits everyone at your salon, from the apprentices through to your top stylists and beauticians.
How to Promote Mental health and Wellbeing in YOUR Salon
So, what can you do to help protect your salon staff from mental health issues and promote positive wellbeing?
According to the World Health Organisation, factors that can contribute to poor mental health in the workplace include:
- Poor communication and management practices
- Limited participation in decision making
- Long or inflexible working hours
- Lack of team cohesion
- Bullying and harassment
Why not have a think about whether anything on this list could be a red flag in your salon?
Either way, there are probably a few small changes you can make to ensure that none of your salon staff feel that going to work is a cause of any mental health concerns. In contrast to the above, why not try to incorporate these suggestions into your salon policy…
Promote communication and openness
Speak regularly with everyone in your team and try to normalise mental health problems – after all, statistically, nobody is suffering alone! Make sure your team knows that if they are stressed or worried about something, they can come to you to help find a solution.
Involve the team in decisions
Feeling as though you have no control is a common cause of mental health problems. If you are making a change in your salon that will affect your staff, ask them what they think about it first and take their thoughts on board.
This can be hard working in salons when you already have to fit your business around client’s lives! But, a poor work-life balance has been linked to stress and burnout, so always make sure your staff have time to take breaks, holidays and have some rest. After busy periods, make sure you thank your team and allow them to unwind.
Feeling part of a team can go far in improving wellbeing at work. Not only does this help socially, but a strong team morale is less likely to encounter conflict and more likely to offer help and support. If you have young apprentices and juniors, they could be particularly prone to mental health concerns, so make sure your team is watching out for them.
Have no tolerance for bullying or harassment
Whether it is from within the team or even from a client, ensure nobody in your salon feels intimidated or uncomfortable as a result of somebody else’s behaviour. Address these issues as soon as you can, as this can quickly escalate into feelings of anxiety.
Encourage learning and development
Research also shows that employees need to feel valued and that their work is meaningful. Whether it is formal training or shadowing senior team members, try to give your staff time to develop and learn so they can feel as though their work is important.
If you are worried about your ability to help salon staff when they encounter mental health problems, awareness training is also available. Why not appoint a mental health first aider to attend the course?
Staff Wellbeing Ideas for Your Salon
Incorporating mental health and wellbeing into your day-to-day salon policy is the best long-term way to ensure your staff remain happy and healthy.
However, there are also some fun staff wellness ideas that everyone can get involved in to help the whole team take care of their own mental health.
Why not try some of these staff wellbeing ideas?
- Buy fruit and healthy snacks in for a treat instead of sugary foods
- Celebrate mental health awareness days throughout the year to show your support and break any taboos
- Organise a team away day where everyone feels comfortable to bond
- Get everyone exercising, whether you go for a weekend walk or start running together
- Bring some plants inside the salon to help improve the mood
- Support local charities so the whole team feels like they are making a difference
- Set up a chill out area where staff can go for some headspace when they need it
Remember, whilst these things can help, make sure nobody in your salon feels forced to do something they aren’t comfortable with. Afterall, the best thing you can do to support mental health and wellbeing in your salon is to be kind and understanding to everyone in your team.