Written by Heena Dalvi
There has been a change in the way we go about our lives while trying to get used to the restriction on movements, adapting while still understanding the need for social distancing, and an increased attention on the importance of hygiene. This change that the world is still trying to learn from, has been immensely rapid in its expectations towards achieving a new normal. As individuals shouldered the impact of the pandemic, several businesses too have tried to stay afloat. Among other business fraternities, the Indian salon industry has been immensely impacted as a downside of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the pressure of no business for more than 50 days, Indian salons will find it difficult to earn the trust of clients and get them to visit beauty establishments once the lockdown concludes. As salon services are high on tactile communication, there is going to be a heightened sense of expectation from them to adhere to strict safety guidelines. With a change in consumer behaviour and spending patterns, salons will have to transform their infrastructure and amend their mindsets and communication with customers. This can become overwhelming and beauty establishments will require hand-holding to get back on their feet and to ease their migration to the new normal with an inflated requirement of hygiene in the near future.
In order to help the beauty establishments sustain the force of the impact, it is going to be important to assure and to ensure the adherence to hygiene protocols. Godrej has also curated ‘Suraksha Guidelines’, a comprehensive module on safety and hygiene for client and employee safety. Through the non-profit Salon Suraksha initiative, there will be distribution of 15,000 litres of sanitisers and 10,000 re-usable masks for the safety and well-being of stylists.
Safety measures before opening up
Disinfect high touchpoints
When salons open up for business, they will have to ensure that one day prior to the opening, they sanitise high touch points using a disinfectant. The touch-points include salon doors, workstations, reception area, electric switches, chairs, service trolleys, washbasins and taps, products and tools, and the credit card machine to name a few. Tetragene, a cleaning agent, can be used for the disinfection of the salon.
Stock up cleaning material
Reliability on disposable items will increase and cleaning material that needs to be stocked includes the following: tissue boxes, anti-bacterial wipes, alcohol based sanitiser, disinfectant chemical such as TN8 which is used for deep disinfection, anti-bacterial liquid like Tetragene, adequate cloth pieces, and self-closing dustbins.
Principles of client safety
Although it might seem challenging to drive customers back to salons initially, the situation will gradually improve when the clients start to gain trust in the maintenance of hygiene in beauty parlours. However, it is important that the hygiene protocols do not relax once the business starts to gain a normal pace. Measures that need to be adopted to ensure the safety of clients include:
*Operating on appointment-basis.
*Ask clients to minimise belongings.
*Not having a waiting area.
*Ask clients to not use their hands while opening doors.
*Greet with a “Namaste” and don’t shake hands.
*Provide disposable shower-caps to cover footwear.
*Ensure that the clients are wearing a mask.
*Check the temperature of the clients at the entrance.
*Insist on using the sanitiser once they enter.
*Provide the client with a disposable or a disinfected cape to wear.
*Avoid speaking too often, and
*Insist on digital payments to avoid handling cash.
Principles of employee safety
While the above measures need to be considered to ensure that the clients are safe, it is also important that the employees ensure adherence to safety protocols at an individual level to stay safe. The principles of employee safety include:
-Working with 50 per cent staff and in shifts.
-Wearing a uniform and a different footwear while in the salon.
-Check the temperature of the staff every day.
-Ask the staff to sanitise their hands once they enter and inculcate the habit of using a sanitiser before and after every service.
-Always ensure that the staff wears apron, gloves, and mask.
-Create personal tool-kits to avoid sharing.
-Ask the staff to take a bath before interacting with their family, and lastly
-Ask them to carry their own cutlery for lunch-breaks.
The aforementioned measures need to be replicated while providing hair and skin care services while stressing importance on the disinfection of the equipment used after every service and using disposable cleaning methods as far as is possible.
Getting clients to visit salons as frequently as before is going to be one of the biggest challenges that the salons will face post the lockdown. Clients will need constant reassurance regarding the safety and hygiene measures being practised at the salon. Getting clients to cooperate with temperature checks, asking them about their health and travel history, and refusing to service those with symptoms will also be tricky to handle. However, salons will have to ensure they continue to insist on this for the safety of their employees as well as other clients.
(The writer is National Technical Head – Godrej Professional.)