Decompressing Your Salon: Create a Stress-Free Environment

According to The American Institute of Stress, numerous studies show that job stress is by far the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. They go on to say that increased levels of job stress are assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders. So what do you do when your job is stressing you the F out? You find ways and methods to decompress.

Since all of us salon pros are spending each and every day working in an industry that requires us to make others look and feel good, all of us at Industrie feel that it would be beneficial for us to show you ways on how to decompress the stress in the place you’re spending most of your time—the salon.

To decompress a salon and make it a stress-free environment, you have to do it from top to bottom, front to back and from the owner right down to the newest of newbie assistants. No one is excluded, and everything is included. It takes much more than ambient music and burning some soy candles. Let’s start breaking it down for you by the people in the salon:

The Manager/Owner:

Ah yes, the owners and the managers. These are the individuals who will most likely either feel a significant amount of stress OR be the ones causing the stress. Sometimes it is due to having all the responsibility and no one to assist. Maybe there’s a significant amount of financial stress and worry that is causing this. Or maybe, just maybe, you feel like you’re the only one doing everything and everyone around you in spinning out of control. Here are a few quick things to consider:

  • If you are the salon owner, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. If there is no one in your salon who you think can successfully assist you, then it is time you hire that person. And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking others for help.
  • If you are the salon owner, and you’re feeling a financial pinch, speak with a financial advisor and get you and your business on the right path. Once you speak to someone who is an expert in this field and they put a budget and some procedures into play, then you’re going to feel a ton of weight immediately removed from your shoulders.
  • If you are a salon manager, who is working for a salon owner who is stressed beyond words and it is causing you to be completely on edge, then it is 100% imperative that you two get your lines of communication completely open. If you can’t, then you need to quickly decide if this is where you want to continue working. If they won’t change, your stressful situation is most likely not going to change.

Quick Takeaways:

The Staff:

In a study conducted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful, while 25% viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. This is not how we should be living. And in a subsequent survey, 29% had yelled at co-workers because of workplace stress, 14% said they work where machinery or equipment has been damaged because of workplace rage and 2% admitted that they had actually personally struck someone. When you read these statistics, it’s not hard to reflect back on a time when you either experienced a freak out moment on the job or saw a co-worker “losing it.” So what can we all do as employees, more importantly, as human beings, to live a less stressful life at work?

First, we all need to become aware of what it is that is actually agitating us. Is it a fellow co-worker? Could it be your boss/manager/owner? Or are you bringing your personal life stress into work with you? Whatever it may be, decompressing YOURSELF is top priority. Here are some ways to feel less stress at work:

  • Take a deep breath. No really, inhale deeply. Now slowly count to 10 as you exhale. Repeat this 3-4 times. If your tension has not subsided, then let’s try a few more things.
  • Drink some water & eat a snack. Sometimes when you’re feeling stressed or feeling a heightened level of anxiety it is because you’re dehydrated or your blood sugar is low. As salon pros, we’re often booked back-to-back, and getting a break is sometimes unheard of. It may not be stress or anxiety—your body may be signaling you that it needs nourishment to keep going.
  • Take it out back. One of the quickest ways to feel stressed is to be around it. It’s the domino effect. When one person is stressed it is not uncommon for others to get all riled up. Either remove yourself from the situation or have it relocated behind closed doors or out back behind the salon.
  • Stop gossiping. One of the biggest annoyances in the workplace is gossip. It’s harmful and, honestly, it’s horribly childish and immature. It hurts people and creates stressful situations. Here’s how you can help eliminate it at work and in your life.
  • Get more sleep. If you don’t allow your mind and your body to rest then you’re going to be more inclined to let the little things get to you quicker than they should. Sleep deprivation is a stress trigger.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Just breathe.
  • Don’t get hungry or dehydrated.
  • Prevent a domino effect.
  • Stay out of and away from drama.
  • Get some rest.

The Front Desk:

It’s where everything comes together and the quickest place for a shitstorm to start. When it is well organized and the right people are managing it, everything is hunky-dory. When it’s not, then that’s where it can quickly become a stressful situation for both the staff and the clients. Consider the following:

  • Auto response: If the phone is constantly ringing off the hook and calls are getting unanswered, look into either upgrading your phone technology so that callers can be prompted to access information like hours, directions, services provided quickly and automated. If this is not in your budget, then lets consider increasing your front desk staff on heavy call days.
  • Get organized: When papers are all over the place and you can’t even so much find a pen, it sends all of us into a frenzy, whether we are the person standing behind or in front of the reception desk. Clean up the clutter to prevent the chaos.
  • Software solutions: A big stressor in the salon is keeping appointments organized and having streamlined check-in systems for clients. If your paper and pencil method is not proving to be so streamlined then it’s time to look into software solutions. 

Quick Takeaways:

  • Get the phones under control.
  • Remove the clutter.
  • Get organized.
  • Consider updating technology in the salon.

Reception Area:

And speaking of clutter and clients, you don’t want your guest to feel the pressure and become agitated, so keep their waiting area stress-free. If you provide reading material, make sure it is always kept neat and free of dishevelment.

The Salon Itself:

And lastly, let’s talk about the salon itself. From the music that gets played to the color on the walls, there are constant contributing factors that can affect everyone’s overall mood and disposition. One of the most important factors is having and keeping a clean salon. A dirty one, especially dirty stations can make everyone feel stressed. The easiest way to eliminate dirt and grime is to implement a salon cleaning checklist that happens before the salon opens and when the salon closes.

When you put a system into place, then one person (or those who are always stuck doing the cleaning) isn’t continuously under stress. The trickle down effect is eliminated and everyone can (hopefully, fingers crossed) be at peace.


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