Salon Staff – What To Expect When You Go Back To Work

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We already know that the world is likely to be very different when you re-open your salons, spas and barber shops... but what does this mean for your staff who will have to take the lead on keeping themselves and their clients safe and well?

Below we have some ideas which you may want to discuss with your staff so you can, together as a team, come up with the best approach for your work place.  After all, a large salon spread over three floors will have different challenges to a small salon with just a handful of stylists, or a hair and beauty salon that rents out chairs and space. 

We do not yet have any timeline or Government advice as to when you might be able to open your salon, barbers or spa, but now is the time to start preparing for this moment. 


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The new normal at Red Hair Salons in East Sussex

Imagine a salon with fewer clients, all observing social distancing, and enjoying an end to end service at the hands of one stylist. The client has already received a video consultation and signed a document stating they will observe the new rules that have been set in your salon.

Upon arrival they find the salon door locked, but a note with a number they must ring or text to gain access. Their stylist, wearing a disposable mask, gloves and apron, greets them with a friendly word but no hand shake or hug. The client is shown where to hang up their own coat, and is pleased to see the stylist using the hand sanitiser and asking the client to follow suit. The client is then given a disposable mask, gloves, gown and a freshly laundered or disposable towel.

The client accepts your salon is no longer offering beverages or magazines and that they must arrive alone for their appointment (no children or pets allowed). They tell you they love the fact you're now open seven days a week with several late night opening options. They also understand why you have had to introduce a different pricing structure for their service.

As the stylist sanitises her styling tools in front of the client, the client notices the list on each mirror highlighting the new standards set in place to safeguard clients and the team at the salon. It's then off to the wash area, where social distancing continues to be applied, before returning to the styling station for a much-needed hair colour and cut!

Thirty minutes later another client arrives and a second stylist appears, having changed into his work clothes in a dedicated room at the back of the salon upon arrival. He follows the procedure with his client. Both clients note how responsible the salon is being as the second stylist wipes down the door handles, sprays the styling station, and cleans the wash area in preparation for a new client.

After the appointment, each client remains seated and pays via a credit card reader at the styling station. The credit card machine is carefully wiped down after each use.

The clients are delighted with the whole experience and remember to leave a 5 star review and tell all their friends that it's now safe to get their hair done at YOUR salon.


Perhaps the first thing any team should consider is what the client experience might look like once salons return.  Once you have a good idea of the 'client journey', it will be easier to see how you could best reorganise your team and salon. 
  • Once you know your salon is allowed to re-open, when should you start telling clients they can book appointments?
  • How should you handle appointment bookings? Hair salons and barbers are likely to be very busy in the first few weeks after re-opening
  • It is likely you will not be allowed to accept walk-ins so EVERY appointment may need to be pre-booked
  • If you have set up a Priority Booking List, work out how you are going to book these people in first. Will you call or email them?
  • Is it a good idea to offer client consultations - via FaceTime or phone - before their appointment to assess their needs and prepare for their visit?
  • Beauty salons and spas may see a change in the type of services people want?  Consider which services might need changing (e.g. any services where close face contact is required)
  • Should clients sign an emailed agreement before their appointment, promising to abide by your new salon guidelines? Consider getting Salon Guru to set these online forms up on your website 
  • Clients may be expected to wear disposable masks, gloves, gowns and towels - do you have a large supply available? Will you charge for these?
  • Clients may expect to use hand sanitiser upon arrival - where will the sanitiser be and who will make sure the client uses it?
  • How will you ensure social distancing between clients? Change your salon layout? Stagger your appointment times? Open longer hours? Open more days? 
  • Will clients be allowed to freely enter the salon or will you add a notice on the front door asking them to text a number to gain entry?
  • If there is queuing outside the salon, how will you ensure social distancing outside? Who takes responsibility for this?
  • Will you be asking clients to have their temperatures taken before entry?
  • How will you deal with clients who appear to be unwell?
  • How will you deal with clients who bring their children with them?
  • Will you disinfect key areas and equipment in between every client?  Do you need to allow time between clients to do this?
  • How do you ensure social distancing at the wash area?  (Dry cuts are unlikely to be allowed)
  • Will the stylist provide an end to end service (welcoming, washing hair, cutting, colouring, styling, taking payment) to ensure less contact with others?
  • Will the beauty therapist provide an end to end service to ensure less contact with others? 
  • Will you accept payments only by card?  Where will the card machine be stored? Will you bring it to the styling station / beauty room to avoid the client moving around the salon?
What role will your team play in ensuring social distancing and improved personal hygiene at work? Consider the client journey from the moment they book to the moment they leave...
  • How are you going to reorganise your workspace to ensure social distancing between styling areas, beauty rooms and wash stations?
  • Is a waiting area or reception desk essential? 
  • Should you add markings to the salon floor to display no-go areas?
  • Will it be possible for the team to gather together - but at a safe distance - at work during breaks and lunchtime? 
  • Is it possible to ensure the salon is adequately ventilated to reduce airborne droplets in the air?
  • Where should hand sanitisers be placed?
It is likely your clients will expect your salon and the equipment to be regularly cleansed. Who should have responsibility for ensuring the salon remains clean?  
  • Will each styling station or beauty room need to be sanitised beween clients? Whose responsiblity is this?
  • Should any kit or tools used be disinfected between use? Who should do this? Should your clients see you doing this?
  • Will clients expect to see key areas being regularly disinfected?  Door handles, credit card readers, WC areas etc.
  • Should you stock up on disinfectant now so you are prepared in time for your salon or spa re-opening?
  • How often should you be disinfecting key areas and work stations?
We do not know yet what the Government rules will be with regards to whether staff and clients will need to wear face masks and gloves etc.  Worldwide demand for these items is HUGE so you may want to consider investing now in the equipment you will need when you re-open. 
  • Do you want to wear a disposable face mask, gloves and an apron at work?
  • Will your clients EXPECT YOU to wear a disposable face mask, gloves and apron?
  • Should you change your clothing when you arrive for work? 
  • Should you be given a freshly laundered work outfit to wear every day when you arrive for work?
  • Should your own clothing be washed and dried at work, ready for going home?
  • Do you want your clients to wear a disposable face mask, gloves, towel and gown? Will they expect to do this anyway? 
  • Should you provide a special kit for every client containing disposable towels, a gown, a mask and gloves? Will you charge extra for this?
  • Is it acceptable for a stylist to borrow another stylist's comb, brush, clippers or hairdryer?  What if someone forgets theirs?
  • Is it acceptable to test all staff members twice daily for a high fever, using a thermometer?
  • Are there any services you offer that you feel should no longer be offered e.g. close shaves & beard trims for men; facials or any beauty treatments which require close facial contact?
  • Remind: Please stay at home if you experience any Coronavirus symptoms such as a high fever and/or dry cough.
How can we continue running our salon using the same team numbers but ensuring safe, social distancing between clients and staff?
  • Should we create a safe practice policy which can be shared with our team and clients? 
  • How do we ensure social distancing at work? We will need fewer people in the salon at any one time
  • Do we need to change our staffing rota to accommodate social distancing at work?  How would that work? Shifts? Late Night Opening? Sunday Opening?
  • How should team members get paid?  Overtime? Remuneration packages? Monthly contracts? Something else?
  • How should we reorganise our teams?
  • Should team members take on different responsibilities? e.g. a shift manager, a hygiene manager, a customer satisfaction manager? 
All staff are likely to be asked about the new way of working in your salon, barbers or spa.  Be prepared with your answers so everyone is clear about what has changed and why...
  • Think about the questions your clients are likely to want you to answer.  What has changed?  What are they going to be anxious about? 
  • Should staff receive training on the new salon operation?  On how to answer client questions? How to deal with clients who have high temperatures or appear unwell?
  • When and how should your clients be updated about any salon changes (such as how to book, social distancing rules, hygiene precautions, staffing rotas, pricing changes etc)?
  • Look at your pricing structure.  Will you need to put your prices up?  Is it time to price by the hour rather than by service? Think about how best to present any price increase to your clients 
  • Is it a good idea to put up posters which show the steps you have put in place re social distancing and hygiene?