6 weeks of Stage 4 lockdown… it’s a long time to not be working. It’s a long time to not see your colleagues. It presents a monumental challenge for all Melbourne Metro salons and barbers. How can we deal with it and what should we be doing?

We asked Co-owner of Rubi, Melbourne, Tom White to talk about his plans for getting through the lockdown, for himself and his team.

For Nikki, Michelle and I, and I’m guessing for many reading this, it has been stressful; emotionally taxing and we have all encountered sleepless nights. Like many of you, I will be using this time to take a well-deserved break, but first of all we need to make sure our colleagues are looked after mentally and physically.

I wanted to give you a run down on how we, at Rubi Hair, are making sure that all our team, and ourselves, get through this as best we can and stay locked in to a positive and practical mindset.

Like I said, everyone probably needs a break. Even the most work addicted hairdressers/salon owners need a bit of self-love and rest. But before you do that, you have a job to do. Keeping your team engaged!! It can look like a monumental task sometimes, but it is more important than ever now.

I talk about culture all the time. This is what I like to class as the glue that keeps everything together, even during the shittiest of times. You need to keep people immersed in the salon culture, and mental health exercises, team activities and good old-fashioned FUN is how to do it.

We are all aware that this 6-week lockdown will have a terrible effect on our mental health. BUT, remember, we are physically distancing, not socially distancing. The technology we have at our disposal is incredible, USE IT.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, texts and phone calls are all designed to keep us engaged when we can’t meet in person.

These are my recommendations and tips to help you keep you and your team engaged and to come out of this ready to flourish.

  • A simple check-in call or text is a good way to start. Asking someone whether they are OK goes a long way to someone feeling valued. I suggest you do every 3-5 days depending on the individual and their circumstances. Don’t smother them but be there enough so they know you have their back and they are supported.
  • Many won’t be motivated. That is ok and expected! As a leader its your job to help them keep motivated and I’ve found that learning a new skill, improving an existing skill or having a new experience can be extremely helpful. Whether that be upskilling their practical hairdressing skills with online education or learning to cook a new dish together over zoom. Anything that keeps the mind ticking is always beneficial. We have decided to do a virtual cook with Manu Feildel. The purpose is to raise money for The Breast Cancer Trials here in Australia. Each team needs to donate or raise $150 minimum to gain access to the pre-recorded, 3 course, French cooking experience. Not only is this going to be hilarious watching your colleagues learn to cook something new, it is a new practical skill, and you are donating money to a fantastic cause!!
  • Self-care is vitally important when in isolation. We are all guilty of ‘getting in our own head’ from time to time. The Black Dog Institute has an awesome Self-Care Plan that you can complete. The website is loaded full of useful tips to help with day to day struggles all the way to clinical anxiety and depression. It will help you identify your needs for that day and encourage you to fill the areas with activities. Activities are so diverse, they cover physical exercise, reading inspirational literature, professional growth or even meditation plus many more. It also has links to qualified professionals to talk to if things are getting too hard.
  • Listen, most of us like a drink! We have all been to hair shows and Expo’s and I never see a lot of sober people. Drinking responsibly is a must, but there are so many innovative bars and cocktail companies out there that have had to move their services online. KuBarz is an Australia-wide company that deliver a virtual cocktail making experience for groups. Its all done via a live Zoom with professionals loaded full of fun and music. KuBarz deliver an 8-piece cocktail making kit to your front door with a list of ingredients you will need to participate, all for $85 a head. Completely interactive and running for around 1.5 hours – 2 hours, I guarantee you will have fun.
  • Commitment Boards – at Rubi Hair, we do a bi-annual Vision Meeting. This is where all the staff from the 3 salons get together and share what their professional and personal goals are for that 6 months. They also get to dissect our performance as Directors and show us where we can improve. With restrictions as they are, we can’t do this, but what we can do is innovate that idea. All the staff have produced a Commitment Board and presented it to the group via Zoom. Each board contains 3-4 goals that they will be held accountable for by the group over the 6 weeks. This gives them responsibility, encouragement to have a routine and keeps them interactive and connected with each other.
  • Finally, in Week 5 of lockdown, its time to get everyone’s head back and begin what I’m calling ‘Project Restart’ (yes, I stole this from the English Premier League). Share the plan with re-opening, give them a voice and listen to their suggestions, even set out tasks for your salon leaders so they are all ready. If you have stayed connected with the team through the first 5 weeks, this will be an enjoyable and rewarding task.

6 tips to get you through the six weeks. Above all, remember to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, reach out to people if you need anything……it’s more than ok to be vulnerable and it’s even more ok to accept you need some help.

Big Love and Stay Safe


My Recommendations

Online Hair Education – The Secret Fox

Podcast – Kerwin Rae

Book – Echhart Tolle – The Power of Now

Mental Health and Self-Care – www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

Virtual Cocktail Making Class – www.kubarz.com.au

Virtual Cooking Class – www.3coursechallenge.com.au