With hairdressers now allowed to open imminently, L’Oréal Professionnel have created an extensive guide with advice and recommendations for when you finally open your doors. To help get all the information in one place and to make it as clear as possible, we have created a series of blogs using extracts from the guide, that outline everything you need to know before welcoming your customers again. Don’t forget to keep an eye out on our social media channels for more updates and to know when the latest blog goes live!
Re-opening the salon post-lockdown will mean that your staff will be working under very different conditions; with this in mind, it would be advisable to conduct a health and risk assessment. If a staff member has an underlying health condition, it might mean that they are considered more vulnerable e.g. they are pregnant or asthmatic, are two examples amongst many. You should consider whether or not to leave vulnerable staff on furlough (UK only and if they are under your employment) until it is safe for them to return to work.
At this point, a general discussion or survey for all staff would also be beneficial as a gage to understand if they are happy to work under these new conditions, or if there are any concerns in doing so. During this discussion, you could begin by outlining the new measures undertaken in the salon in order to re-open. It is a good idea to be upfront about the new conditions, such as if they are required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE), changes to their working hours / patterns, changes to any services or responsibilities they may carry out e.g. additional cleaning responsibilities. The staff can then answer honestly about how they feel working in these new ways. It is possible that anxiety about returning to work under these conditions could also be high amongst staff and you should consider how you are going to handle this. Once you have all this information and you know where their concerns lie, you can use this as a checklist to cover off in your pre-opening team meeting, to ensure that any concerns are dealt with upfront.
Communication to staff
Now more than ever, communicating the right message is key to both staff and your clients. The team needs to understand why these new protocols are in place – for their own and the client’s protection – and they also need to agree to adhere to them strictly if the re-opening is to work, and both the staff members and clients are to remain safe and healthy. Hold a virtual staff meeting (until social distancing is lifted - you might consider all team meetings to be held virtually, unless you can guarantee correct spacing for all team members) prior to staff members returning to work. Explain the protocols and new rules and walk them through a day/shift to understand what this will look like. What do they need to do during every client visit? What do they need to do before a shift beginning and after a shift has ended? What will their breaks look like? Who will they be working with? What will they need to wear? Give them time to understand and agree to this, as these will be their new working conditions. You also need to give enough notice for these changes. Take legal /HR advice where necessary. Please see below resource for you to consult with on this should you need to.
Ireland: https://www.cipd.ie/news-resources/coronavirus / https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_during_covid19_restrictions.html
You might want to begin by deciding what your opening hours will be. We have seen that salons opening in other countries have opened with extended hours in order to see as many clients as possible under the new social distancing rules, there can only be a certain number of people per square metre in the salon at any one time. We would recommend that you check any limitations on opening hours with your local authority.
Once you have determined opening hours, it is worth considering splitting your team in two. This is another initiative from other countries who have already re-opened. The purpose of having a Team A and a Team B means that you can control potential infection spread and maintain your business should there be an employee or client who may be infectious. If an employee on Team A, or a client being seen by Team A contracts Covid-19, or if they display symptoms, all of Team A would need to self-isolate. Team B would remain operational, and your business can stay open. You will need to designate yourself to one team, and you will need to designate someone who can deputise your role during the other shift.
Opening hours & shift changes
Once you have determined your Team A and B (or more and bearing in mind who usually works together on specific clients), you can evaluate shifts. If you are opening longer days, the shifts are going to look very different. If you are open from 7am – 9pm for example, Team A could work from 7am – 2pm and Team B could work from 2.30pm to 9.30pm (allowing a thirty minute window between shifts to avoid overlap between teams). There would need to be a deep clean of all surfaces and equipment in between shift changes, so you may want to take half an hour out of the diary at this time to ensure it is cleaned correctly. Similarly, you would need half an hour at the end of the day to ensure everything is clean and disinfected ahead of opening the following day.
When considering opening hours – you may want to identify your vulnerable clients or maybe you have front line workers amongst your clients or team. How are you accommodating them? Could the first hour of the day be dedicated to the vulnerable as things are fresh and clean and there hasn’t been people traffic since its last deep clean? Would you consider doing their hair at home should the government guidelines allow? For frontline workers – can you give them priority appointments around their shifts seeing as their time will be limited?
Don’t forget to update your website and Google with any changes to your opening hours (including priority hours). Consider publishing a post on your social media or sending a message via the usual channel of communication you use with your clients e.g. text message. Always keep GDPR in mind at this time and be sure not to share any of your customer data with other customers when sending communication.
When scheduling breaks, be mindful if you have a shared staff room or break room. How big is it? Can it accommodate more than one person with social distancing rules? You will need to stagger breaks to reflect this.
Changes to job / responsibilities
Consider the changes in responsibility that you might need your team to undertake. It is fair to say that everyone will be responsible for cleaning in one way or another.
You might want to dedicate one person per team, per shift to general cleaning. When re-open, you might choose to no longer offer tea and coffee, you will be dealing with more express services if clients want to be in and out quickly so as to avoid additional time spent in salon (a learning shared by other countries who have already re-opened) you will have less time spent at the backwash (more dry cuts, more rapid services and less intensive treatments). You will not be able to book another client when a client’s colour is developing etc. Bearing all this in mind, there will be more free time to dedicate to cleaning. Until it is second nature, you might need to book this in people’s calendars / columns so that they know what to do and when. Consider a cleaning checklist that they can check off after they see each client or a roster for common areas much like the type seen in toilets for regular scheduled cleaning checks – can you have this bi-hourly for areas such as reception, colour bar, retail area, waiting area, door handles, toilets, staff room etc.?
Consider appointing a Covid-19 Coordinator for the salon, who is in charge of keeping up to date with any changes in protocol as advised by the government and ensures the salon is complying with the public health and safety guidelines. They would also be responsible for reporting any possible cases to the local authority. They could keep tabs on the PPE levels and other important hygiene materials such as soap, disinfectant and bin liners. In the event of someone becoming ill with Covid-19 symptoms, they would also be responsible for contacting both staff and clients who might have come into contact with this person so that they can self-isolate.
The Government have now provided full guidance for close contact services, including hairdressers, set to open on 4th July. For more information, please CLICK HERE.