5 Min Read |
From day one, the spread of COVID-19 rocked the world of salons, spas, and beauty treatment spaces. The close proximity of clients and professionals became difficult to manage, but as more cities and states reopen, many businesses have managed to stay operational thanks to new and rigorous safety measures.
Already, exceptional cleanliness standards and rigorous training programs have positioned the cosmetology industry for success. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also published specific guidelines for salon providers to navigate COVID-19 safety. This information can be accessed online at CDC Information for Beauty Salons. If salon and spa owners take these habits a step further and provide a safe waiting and treatment space, customers will remain both happy and healthy.
Support Your Support Staff
To control the flow of traffic and best monitor customer safety, ensure that your support staff is attentive at all times. Front desk employees will be more critical than ever and, depending on the size of your location, should be increased to handle the added workload. Beyond thoughtful scheduling, administrative staff should be prepared to explain safety precautions over the phone and at the point of service while professionally diffusing any potential resistance or noncompliance from customers.
Use digital tools to streamline pre- and post-service interactions whenever possible. Explore online check-in services that integrate with any booking software or website plugins, allowing flexibility for staff to work on other tasks while minimizing person-to-person contact. Even further, some of these programs can be used for point-of-sale processes and there are many other cloud-based options for managing payments with ease.
Waiting Meets Wellness
The waiting area is often a smaller space that’s occupied for a short amount of time and, in other cases, may function as a space where customers spend the waiting period for their treatments to process. These spaces should follow 6-feet distancing guidelines and when possible, opt for seating that features cleanable synthetic materials, such as vinyl or polyurethane, over porous fabrics that will hold onto germs and microbes. Consistent cleaning is also critical for controlling potential infection. Strong disinfectants can cause wood and fabrics to degrade over time. Be sure to read manufacturer cleaning instructions and remove any chemical residue with clean water to prolong the life of your furnishings.
Press Pause on Amenities
For the time being, restrict amenities such as beverage bars, snacks, free product samples, or communal magazines. Especially with regard to food and drink, there’s the added issue of unmasked customers while they’re eating and shared dishware such as mugs. If absolutely necessary, keep any consumables behind the counter and only accessible via support staff. If it isn’t already, make the WiFi password publicly available to encourage waiting room guests to use their phones during this downtime.
Plexi Wherever Possible
As the pandemic carries on, companies have continued to install innovative clear partitions that provide physical safety for all. Look for tabletop solutions that can keep reception and waiting areas divided but focus on separating treatment stations with larger partitions. Pop-up stands in mobile frames are a great easily movable solution. For a semi-permanent fix, hang plexiglass or clear shower curtains from the ceiling to separate workspaces. Remember that to be effective, dividers must be cleaned regularly along with other furniture and equipment.
Go Digital: Online Browsing
Shelves of product are hallmarks of any salon or spa, adding valuable sales revenue to your business. However, these high-touch areas are often magnets for germs and virus spread. As an alternative, set up a browsable page on your website that shows available products as well as their benefits, ingredients, and instructions. For example, this can include swatches of nail colors for salon use as well as purchasable product. This can be further converted into a convenient online store that can allow clients to repurchase their favorite items without even entering the brick-and-mortar business.
Mandatory Masking for All
The CDC has highly recommended wearing secure facial coverings at all times when indoors. This rule applies to staff and clients alike. Even during hair treatments, keeping a disposable or fabric mask on at all times should be mandated. Continue to follow state and municipal guidelines for their own set of minimum requirements. At the entrance, provide a box of disposable masks for guests without. For employees, offer assistance in buying a mask with added filtering properties as well as comfort for long days of work.
Comforting Colors and Décor
These are stressful times for everybody, and a little bit of respite is always welcome. Budgets are also tighter than ever, making large-scale overhauls a difficult investment. Beyond COVID-related improvements, seek to make smaller changes to your space to inspire calmness and hope. Avoid eclectic designs or brooding color palettes that might overwhelm clients. Opt for peaceful décor pieces, paint colors, window treatments, and easily replaceable elements that won’t break the bank.
About the Author: Joanna Terry, director of healthcare sales at National Business Furniture is an experienced healthcare and design professional with more than 20 years of industry experience.
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