Posted June 15, 2020
Salon owners know how stressful the past few months have been and we have spoken about a number of ways that salon owners can manage their mental health – but what we haven’t covered is that the mental health of your workers will likely have been affected in various ways as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this, what steps should salon owners take to ensure a safe return to 100% in salon?
Physical health is not the only concern
A lot of focus for salon owners has been, understandably, on ensuring that the workplace is as physically safe as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when your team and customers return. Those steps include ensuring compliance with physical distancing requirements and an increase of cleaning and hygiene practices.
But equally important is to check whether your workers have made it ‘safely’ through the pandemic mentally. This is in the best interest of salon owners as this ensures that when they return to 100% in salon, they are mentally in a position to do so.
The challenges of isolation, the uncertainty of employment, carer’s responsibilities (including homeschooling), and a range of other pandemic-related issues will likely have had a significant impact on your team’s mental health. A lot of salons will have put in place systems to manage these issues during the pandemic, like regular team check in’s via video call or more personalised attention to specific team members. Some salons have been running sessions on how to manage the stress and, to the extent possible, health and well-being programs being conducted virtually for their team.
However, as your staff begins to return to ‘business as usual’, your salon should consider how it will go about checking in on your team’s mental capacity to transition safely back into the working environment. For many, a return to the workplace will be a positive mental boost, while for others it may pose some additional challenges.
Duty of care to assess risks to mental health
Salon owners have a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of their team. As the business owner, you will need to be prepared to have conversations with your team to ‘check-in’ on how you can best tailor the return to work for your staff. This will not be a ‘one-size’ fits all approach – some team members will be keen as beans to get back to ‘normal’, while heading back into salon can pose challenges and risks for other team members. In many cases, it will likely require some flexibility around hours of work and periods of time off work if carer’s responsibilities (which includes homeschooling or childcare, particularly if there is an outbreak in a specific school) are ongoing
Specifics around mental health issues
It is also important for salon owners to understand their legal obligations when managing workers who have mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, that may have been caused or exacerbated by the pandemic.
When managing those workers with identified mental health issues, salon owners should ensure they:
- consider whether reasonable adjustments are required to enable a worker with mental health issues to perform their role in accordance with an employer’s obligations under discrimination legislation; and
- are mindful of their health and safety obligations to take reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
As we negotiate our way into the new normal post-Covid-19, it’s important to consider the wellbeing and fortitude of your whole team. By investing in their wellbeing now, you are in fact saving yourself heartache down the line with issues like staff dissatisfaction, workplace law claims and potentially team members leaving your salon. The last thing salon owners want to have to deal with after the past few months of stress and uncertainty is challenges within their team, when we all need our teams running at their absolute best. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the state of play in your salon, please speak to the HABA team by calling (02) 9221 9911 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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