“Coping with lockdown and returning to work was something I had to take in my stride”, Dionne, Hair Solved Manchester.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us on both a personal and a professional level: coping with lockdown and concerns about returning to work. Dionne, our Assistant Manager at Hair Solved Manchester, found some time to tell us about the impact lockdown had on her life. What she did during the lockdown.How she coped during lockdown and what it was like returning to work at our busy Manchester Salon.
What worried you most when lockdown first happened back in March 2020 and the Salons just had to close?
To be honest I was thinking about our clients. It was making me feel anxious thinking about what the clients would be feeling. It was all so sudden the announcement was made by the government and we just had to close. I worried about how my clients would be coping with lockdown.
What did you do whilst the Salons were closed?
I did some of the online training, but I also took up gardening! I did the front and the back garden. The weather was so nice, and I just thought let’s start the front and the back garden from scratch and that’s what I did. And what’s more, I have kept it up. So I really felt I made the most of the unexpected time I had.
Natalie, our Salon Director in Manchester, organised some online training for the team in Manchester. She encouraged me to do it. Because it was focused on Covid and health and safety and hygiene it made it feel like we would be really well prepared when we could get back to work. I think it really helped me cope with lockdown.
Did you miss the Hair Solved Manchester Team?
Oh, my goodness yes, they are like my second family! I wasn’t even able to catch up with them for a socially distant walk during lockdown because I live quite far away from the team. But I did really miss them.
What was your reaction when you heard that the Salon was able to reopen?
When Laura actually gave me a call I cried because I was so happy to come back to work. Honestly, I missed work so much. It was nerve-wracking when I first came into the Salon and a little bit overwhelming with all the health and safety measures and PPE, but it was so good to be back and be able to help the clients again.
And I quickly got used to all the new procedures like checking temperatures. It was good to know we were keeping clients and staff safe. Even though the masks and visors are the most comfortable things to wear for a full day it is worth it to be safely back at work.
Has wearing the PPE changed the way you work? And the way you can feel at ease chatting to clients?
I do think it has changed the way we communicate with clients; even just to small, simple things like smiling because no one can see you are smiling and sometimes clients can’t hear because the conversation is muffled from the mask. It is hard but it is still so good to be back helping clients again.
How did clients react at their first appointments after lockdown?
Most clients were very overwhelmed; the first few clients I did actually cried when I had finished because they were so happy to be back in the Salon. The clients that had waited for the longest came in first, they were so happy and relieved to be able to get their systems realigned and adjusted. Some clients had worked out ways to look after their system during lockdown but for other clients, we had to remove them completely.
Some systems didn’t look too bad and I had expected worse as we had been closed for so many weeks.
Do you think the atmosphere in the Salon is back to normal?
I wouldn’t say back to normal, but we are getting there slowly but surely. Clients are becoming more and more comfortable coming into the salon.
Were you surprised just how much you missed work during the lockdown?
At first, I thought ‘oh a couple of weeks off work, that will be nice’. Then literally after one week I was ready to be back at work with the team and my clients.
I am just doing my best to cope with the constant changes that Covid has had on all our lives. Changing the way we work, seeing friends and family, restrictions to holidays and travelling. But work means so much to me because it is such a social place and a chance to talk to people and be with my colleagues and clients.
We are so grateful to Dionne for taking the time to chat with us. And for sharing her experience of lockdown both the challenges and opportunities she experienced during this time.