Create a Positive Environment In Your Shop During COVID-19
If you read the title of this blog and immediately laughed to yourself while thinking something like, “yeah, that’s hilarious guys, a ‘positive environment’ during a pandemic,” know that we’re not offended and that we don’t blame you.
Sometimes, the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic gets us down and can make positivity feel damn near impossible. But here’s the thing, you guys, it’s not impossible. Despite the challenges, the overwhelming obstacles, and the turmoil we’ve all deal with these past few months, we’re finally getting the opportunity to return to the place we love the most—the barbershop.
Sure, while state and local regulations begin to ease up we’ll all have to face a few more unique challenges (i.e., how can we tell if something is clean enough, or, what’s the proper protocol for creating the perfect client fade while they’re wearing a mask)—but ultimately, a positive environment can work absolute wonders for you, your staff, and your clients.
So, how exactly do you start the process of creating a positive shop environment despite all the chaos of COVID?
We’re glad you asked.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks that we believe can change the game when it comes to the atmosphere of your shop. Feel free to get creative, use these as a guideline, or come up with your own ideas, too!
Host Weekly Staff Meetings to Hash Out Policy
Before you can even begin to address how your clients feel in your barbershop, you need to deal with the heartbeat of your business—your staff. If your staff isn’t feeling positive, comfortable, or taken care of, the environment is going to feel off.
In other words, you need to start with your staff if you ever want to boost morale in your shop.
Be a constant resource for your employees so they can feel comfortable coming to you with questions, opinions, and insight. Set up a non-negotiable weekly staff meeting where every member of staff attends with the sole intent to talk policy, check-in with each other, and provide needed protocol guidelines.
The more informed your staff is, the better they’ll be able to deal with the new guidelines of your shop, and the more equipped they feel to do their job correctly, the easier it will be to contribute to a positive environment.
Nix the Feeling of Endless Pressure
None of us are going to feel entirely comfortable with all the policies, guidelines, and regulations—but that doesn’t mean your staff should feel overly-stressed and anxious about them, either. If your staff is feeling uneasy because of some intense pressure to do everything correctly all the time, have a talk with them. Discuss where their anxiety is coming from and figure out how you can help alleviate some of their stress.
No, it’s not your job to eliminate the stress of the pandemic (even if you could), but as the leader of the shop, it’s important to try to normalize the new stressors in your environment so your staff feels equipped, calm, and ready to take on these new challenges.
Create & Regulate Strict Sanitation Policies (No Exceptions)
We get that implementing hard-core, no-exception rules about sanitation can feel stressful for your staff, but if you want to help your clients and your staff nix some of those uneasy feelings about the virus, this is one of the best things you can do.
Figure out what your strict policy for sanitation is, outline the rules clearly, ensure your staff understands every step, and then publish those rules throughout the salon for visibility and accountability!
Let your clients know ahead of time what your new policy on sanitation is, make sure they’re happy to oblige, and go over these policies with your staff to ensure they’re comfortable with this new part of their job, too.
Be Direct & Focus on Communication
Communicate. Seriously. That’s it—just communicate to the best of your ability.
Be upfront, own your mistakes, and be transparent. The more direct and open you are with your clients and staff about everything happening in the shop, the better off your shop’s environment will be.
Carve Out Time for Normalcy
Take some time to just be normal with your staff and your clients—even if that feels weird. Talk to your clients about the good, happy things in their lives, listen to them gripe about their problems, ooh and awe over the cute puppy pics they show you. Gush all about your favorite styles this season.
For a moment, forget that you’re both wearing PPE and forget that you have to sanitize their seat the second they stand up—just be normal, talk, chat, laugh, and enjoy being around each other. That can go a long way, trust us.
Remind Your Staff That You Care About Them
Check-in with your staff to see how they’re doing. Have agenda-less meetings that are focused on being a team and talking things out. Let them vent, let them laugh, let them cry—show them that you understand how hard this stuff has hit them, too.
Show your staff you care about them, you love them, and you couldn’t do this without them—nothing’s more positive than an owner or manager who makes their staff feel essential and loved.
We’re not saying that if you implement these strategies that your shop is going to go back to feeling normal ASAP—who knows what the new normal is going to feel like, anyway? But we are saying that when you use these tips as a jumping-off point, you can start the process of creating a positive environment for your staff and clients (even if it’s not totally normal).
Any of you barbers out there already implementing these strategies? Have some tips of your own? Tell us! What we love most about this platform is our ability to share with the barbering community. Let us—and your community—know what’s working for you!
Need more insight and advice when it comes to running your shop? Keep up with our regularly updated blog to stay in-the-know on the latest trends, helpful tips, and specific tricks to boost your business and boost your career!