How to Prepare For Your Return to the Shop
Everything You Need to Know about Preparing Mentally, Financially, and More
Let’s just come right out and say it—going back to the shop after all of this pandemic mess is going to be weird AF. There, we said it plain as day so you don’t have to.
Because you know what? All of this has been totally not normal.
Look, we’re not trying to undermine how absolutely serious and devastating the coronavirus pandemic has been (and continues to be), but we’re not going to sit here and pretend that we all haven’t been going through an absolute whirlwind of a reality—and we’re certainly not going to pretend that going back to work after all of this is going to feel normal.
Even though we all have our own thoughts and feelings about if returning to the barbershop is right or wrong (and that answer is different for everyone), the reality of the situation is that some of us have to return to the barbershops. And if you’re in that category, we’re right there with you.
That’s why we wanted to create something that gives you a chance to check-in with yourself mentally, emotionally, and financially to better help you prepare for your return to shop even in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental Preparation: Are You Ready to Return to the Shop?
Let’s get one thing straight—no one’s mental health strategies, needs, or goals are the same. We can’t offer one-size-fits-all advice, but we can try to offer healthy, safe advice that we believe most people can benefit from. At the end of the day, though, make sure that however you’re dealing with your mental health, you’re choosing ways that are healthy and safe for you as an individual.
There are probably some people out there who can return to the shop without any issues whatsoever. They might not have anxiety, they might not be antsy, they might not be panicked at all—and if you fit that category, we think that’s awesome.
But there are plenty of us out there who might not have such a seamless integration back into the shop, and for those of us who are struggling with the mental ramifications of this pandemic, it’s important that we’re checking in with ourselves often to make sure we’re doing what we need to do.
If you feel like you need to speak with a mental health professional, do it. If you feel like you need to come back to work very gradually, do it. If you feel like you need to focus all of your efforts on eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising, do it. Do what you need to do to be healthy during this time—mentally and physically.
We suggest reading this article we wrote up about dealing with your mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic—we think there’s some really valuable, helpful information in here that could make your transition back to working in the salon smoother.
Check-In With Your Finances
It’s no secret that most of us have been affected financially by the pandemic. We’re sure there are so many people out there who are so eager to get back to their clients so they can start seeing money come in again.
But our best advice for returning to the salon is try to take it slow—even if that’s hard when you look at your bank account and bills. Don’t jam-pack your salon, stick to a safe occupancy rate, and really push gift cards, kits, and products as a form of your income (if you can).
We’re not going to pretend everyone has the option to take it slow here—we know that’s probably not the case. But we do recommend that you do everything you can to ensure the safety of yourself, your staff, and your clients—even if finances are weighing heavily on you.
If you need financial assistance and haven’t yet received financial help from these avenues, we suggest checking out this article about the CARES Act and how barbers like you could potentially receive help.
We also have a few ideas here that could help you offset your financial burden in your shop—give it a read and see if it inspires any new, creative ideas that could help.
Be There For Your Employees
If you’re a boss, owner, or manager, do everything you can to be there for your staff. Even if you’re an employee, we encourage you to be a resource for your colleagues.
What we don’t mean by this is that you should ignore what’s right for you in order to help another person.
What we do mean by this is that you should realize we’re all human and we’re all dealing with this as best as we can—so be kind, be a friend, and be patient.
None of us could possibly know the best way to reintegrate into our normal lives following something as hectic and crazy and abnormal as this pandemic, so there’s going to be a learning curve.
Set up a virtual staff meeting with everyone in attendance so you can hear out concerns, explain new safety protocols, make cleaning schedules clear, and discuss new policies. Make sure you’re not just setting foundations for the way your shop is going to run, but also listening to your staff and hearing them out.
If you have the capability to keep on staff who aren’t quite comfortable returning yet, we encourage you to work something out with them—remember, not everyone is going to feel safe returning to work immediately, and if you’re able to grant them a grace period, it might work best for everyone.
Most of all, be an encouragement to your staff. Do what you can to boost morale. Try to supply them with all of the PPE they need to be safe. Be flexible. Be kind. Remember, we’re all walking into this new phase together.
We wish we could reach out and hug each and every one of you right now—but aside from the fact that that’s impossible, it’s also definitely not within the social distancing guidelines (and we respect those—a lot).
So instead, we hope this advice and insight will do. We can’t promise that this preparation blog is going to ensure you’re ready—even though we wish it could.
The truth is, only you can know if you’re mentally and emotionally prepared to return the salon. And if you are, only you can know if you’re abiding by the health and safety standards that you should be.
If you have advice for your fellow barber bros and babes, leave it in the comment section. Remember, we’re all a community—and we should all do what we can to be here for each other.
Stay strong, stay healthy, and take care of yourselves—we know you’ve got this.