Dealing with a stressed salon or barbershop employee

Work related stress is a bigger problem than you think. In 2015/16, the total number of work related stress, depression or anxiety cases reached a staggering 488,00, proving that the issue is a widespread problem across the UK.

As a salon or barbershop business owner, whether an employee has become stressed due to issues relating to work or home (or both), you may well be worried for their wellbeing and the impact it can have on your business and the rest of your team.

Benefits to helping a stressed employee

Although difficult to identify, work-related stress can be a reaction stylists, barbers and therapists have to a number of different situations and pressures in a business, including unachievable workloads, poor working conditions, and team tensions.

If your employee is suffering with stress inside or outside of work, there are benefits for your business to resolving the issue:

  • Employees will perform better if they are happier at work 
  • Attendance levels will go up and sickness absence will go down
  • It’s beneficial for all parties if problems can be resolved at work (if stress is work-related) rather than at an employment tribunal 
If you think legal action is the next step your employee will take, please do call us to get the free legal advice you need. If you aren’t a member and would like to gain immediate access to our 24/7 expert legal advice, then you can join the NHF today.

In this blog we suggest some initial actions you can take to try and resolve the situation yourself and ensure taking legal action is a last resort for you.

Is an employee of your salon or barbershop stressed?

Although signs of stress can be hard to spot, there are symptoms you can look out for which include: 

  • Reduced quality of performance 
  • Increased sick leave
  • Tiredness and irritability
  • Indecisiveness and poor judgement
  • Loss of sense of humour
  • Physical illness such as headaches, nausea, aches and pains
  • Admitting to sleeping badly

Employers don’t legally have to support employees who are dealing with stress caused outside work, so first assess the situation to understand whether you and your business need to be involved.

Arrange a confidential meeting

If you think that an employee of your hair or beauty business is suffering with stress then initially you can arrange a confidential meeting. This allows your employee to discuss any issues they have and gives you the opportunity to clarify whether the stress your employee is suffering with is work-related or not.

But remember, your employee isn’t obliged to tell you their personal problems so don’t probe them for information.

Stress caused outside of work

If your employee is dealing with stress caused outside of work, there are ways that you can best approach the situation:

  • Be as sympathetic as possible 
  • Considering offering the employee flexible working hours (if required) 
  • Offer time off (if required) to attend to any appointments


Supporting your salon or barbershop's stressed employee

If your employee is suffering with work-related stress then look at these areas first:

Work-related stress is mainly caused by:

Demands: employees often become overloaded if they cannot cope with the amount of work or type of work they are asked to do.

Control: employees can feel disaffected and perform poorly if they have no say over how and when they do their work.

Support: levels of sick absence often rise if employees feel they cannot talk to managers about issues that are troubling them. One possibility is the common issue of bullying – perhaps a member of your team is a bully and you are completely unaware? For tips on how to tackle the issue, view our blog on bullying in your business.

Relationships: a failure to build relationships based on good behaviour and trust can lead to problems related to discipline, grievances and bullying.

Role: employees will feel anxious about their work with your hair or beauty business if they don't know what is expected of them.

Change: change needs to be managed effectively or it can lead to uncertainty and insecurity.

What you as an employer of hair or beauty professionals can do:

  • Ensure employees understand what is expected of their job role and provide a written and clear job description – Members can download our free template here
  • Provide options of hair and beauty training courses for employees to attend – you can view the NHF’s latest hair and beauty training courses here (open to Members and non-members).
  • Consider whether working flexible hours would help employees to manage demands.
  • Involve employees in the way work is carried out.
  • Consult employees about decisions.
  • Review performance to identify strengths and weaknesses and have clear procedures in place to manage poor-performance – Members can download our free guide to managing performance here 
  • Give employees the opportunity to talk about issues causing stress (via an initial meeting) to combat the problems. 
  • Keep employees informed about what is going on within your business. 
  • Tackle any instances of bullying and harassment and make it clear such behaviour will not be tolerated.
  • Carry out a thorough induction for new employees using a checklist of what needs to be covered.

How we helped an NHF Member

Edward Hemmings from Alan D hairdressing contacted the NHF’s Employment Helpline after an employee left the business for a period of time, on sick leave.
Edward then received a doctor’s note as a result of his employee’s sick leave which claimed the employee was suffering with work-related stress.

Edward called the NHF’s legal team for advice on the work-related stress issue. He comments: “The NHF’s legal team advised me at every step of the way on an issue I hadn’t ever dealt with before. On advice, I waited for my employee to return to the business where I then provided a recorded phone interview (with the employee’s permission) to discuss the matter.
“My employee said that the stress they was suffering with was in fact caused by issues outside of work. My employee is now happy, felt that we listened and is more productive than ever.
“The advice the NHF provided was clear, concise and gave me the confidence to deal with the problem effectively. In fact, the advice we received from the NHF was better than the guidance our own insurance company was able to offer!”

Let us help you today 

If you’re experiencing similar problems to Edward in your salon or barbershop, you can save time, lawyers’ fees and worry by calling our Employment Helpline today (free to Members).

Our employment law advisors are hair & beauty sector specialists and on hand 24 hours a day 365 days a year to help you resolve all your salon employment related queries.

For information on all the other ways we can help you and your business, take a look at our range of Member Benefits today.

Concerned about stress? You may find these additional resources helpful: