Why wellness?

Wellness is all about encouraging people to look after themselves by taking proactive steps to manage their own general well-being.

Wellness is not limited to physical health. According to this blog, there are six dimensions of wellness:

  1. Physical wellness: being physically healthy.
  2. Emotional wellness: strong emotional well-being.
  3. Social wellness: meaningful social connections.
  4. Intellectual wellness: curiosity and interest in learning new things.
  5. Occupational wellness: being engaged with and interested in your job.
  6. Spiritual wellness: a general sense of purpose.

By helping to develop some or all of these dimensions, you can create a better work environment by making your staff more relaxed and focussed on what they need to do. This has a flow-on effect to team building and morale, which is critical in a salon. A team full of people who are not too stressed, sick or tired to communicate with one another is a team that can focus its energy on finding great solutions for your clients.

There’s also a direct benefit for your bottom line. Last year, Southern Cross Health Society and Business New Zealand released a report on their Wellness in the Workplace survey. They found that staff take an average of 5 days off for sick leave per year, and this costs between $600 and $1,000 per year, per employee. In addition to helping to make your salon happier and more productive, wellness can reduce this number and save you money.

On top of this, 40% of employees tend to come in when they’re sick. This means sickness can reverberate through your salon, and also spread to your customers. If your customers are getting sick after coming to your salon, they’re probably not going to have nice things to say about their experience! This will impact your sales in the long run.

At the other end of this spectrum, promoting yourself as a salon that focuses on wellness for its staff can be positive for your marketing. After all, you are selling wellness to your clients, whether it’s through hairdressing, makeup services, spa treatments, massages or something else. If you can show that you practice wellness yourself as well as sell it to your clients, then you’ll build your credibility with potential clients – and hopefully your sales as well!

The building blocks

There are a few principles to keep in mind when you’re preparing a wellness programme:

  • For your staff, not to your staff
  • Start with the senior staff
  • Tailor your programme

For your staff, not to your staff

Your wellness programme needs to be optional for your employees. This helps them to feel like activities are for them, rather than something you do to them. Make sure you explain what you are trying to achieve with any initiative you roll out. Then make sure you are receptive to questions and comments from your staff. Remember, wellness is about helping people to take control of their own well-being, rather than forcing them to participate in activities.

salon wellness in full effect

Start with the senior staff

According to Salon Today, salons tend to focus on a culture of professionalism, technical mastery and customer service, but few salons create a culture of employee wellness. Your goal should be to add a culture of wellness on top of your existing culture of doing great work for clients.

This means you’ll need to do more than just a few wellness activities. You need the whole team to really buy in to the overall goals of the programme. A good way to do this is to make sure you have the senior staff members on board. Take these people aside first, and talk to them about your proposed wellness programme – not just the specifics, but what you are trying to achieve as well.

Also, don’t forget that you are the most senior staff member. In this article, Anna-Cari Gund, president of CIDESCO International, says that you should make sure you remember that you are a role model. The junior employees take their cues from the senior employees, and the senior employees take their cues from you.

For example, if part of your wellness strategy is to encourage healthier eating by replacing sugary snacks with healthier snacks, then do your best to fight your craving for a donut or other baked good! The best way to encourage wellness is to model wellness.

Tailor your wellness

Try to tailor any wellness activities to your team’s work and dynamics. This article in Salon Magazine outlines some common repetitive stress problems that hairdressers can develop – and some exercises you can do to prevent them.

With this in mind, you could create a regular team exercise that addresses some of these issues. For example, lots of stylist work requires people to stand in one place for long periods of time. You can make this easier on the body by improving core strength – and a great way to improve core strength is through yoga! So consider having a regular optional team yoga session. This doesn’t have to be a long, sweaty session. You can make some big improvements with short, light yoga, a few times a week.

The same goes for stretches. Lead some group stretching exercises that are tailored to the kind of movements your team do during the day. Hairdressers will use their dominant hand all day long, so encourage them to stretch that forearm to ensure things don’t get too tight.

By focussing your physical activity on things that can help your team with their jobs, you are making wellness relevant to their day-to-day work. This can help to show people how wellness initiatives are “for” them and not “to” them – and when people see that these are things “for” them, they are more likely to participate.

Designing your wellness programme

When you’re designing your own wellness programme, remember these principles:

  • Follow the six dimensions
  • Start small
  • Integrate your wellness
  • Set aside the time

Follow the six dimensions

Try to get some distribution among the six dimensions, rather than focussing on one. Having said that, you don’t have to represent every dimension.

If you put together three activities related to physical well-being, the fourth activity should be something different. This is how you make sure your wellness activity goes towards addressing the whole person, not just one aspect of their wellness.

Start small

You are unlikely to get it right the first time. Your staff may be less interested in an activity in practice than they were in theory from your discussions with them. This is natural, and the best way to learn what works is to try things.

The downside of this is that if you try to implement too much, too soon, you could fall on your face. So start your wellness initiatives in small, manageable chunks, seek feedback from your team, then build on what you have. This is how you build a sustainable, meaningful wellness culture in your salon.

Integrate your wellness

In addition to starting small, you should also look for ways you can integrate your wellness initiatives into day-to-day practice. One example of this is ergonomic flooring. Ergonomic flooring makes it more comfortable and less physically taxing to stand all day. This has an impact on physical wellness. Your staff don’t need to do anything on top of their day-to-day jobs to get value from it.

By integrating wellness into day-to-day activities, you’re giving your staff the benefits of wellness without the time costs. This makes it easier for your staff, and paves the way for other activities that may ask them to change their routines.

Set aside the time

Put aside the time you need to do any wellness activity. You could have the whole salon take half an hour a day (for example) to do some exercises. Don’t expect them to see the same number of clients each day though. They’ll end up either having to work late or rush their clients. Both of these are likely to increase stress levels, and you’ll end up with staff members with lower wellness levels than when you started.

Make a start!

Hopefully now you have a good grasp on the principles of a salon wellness programme. Time to start rolling it out! You can find some ideas for small wellness initiatives on our blog. Take a look, get inspired, and start designing your very own wellness programme. Help your salon thrive by making your team feel fit, healthy and relaxed.