Salon trims staff hours to keep everyone happy

Absolute Beauty owner Tracey Orr and beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett at Launceston’s Hotel Grand Chancellor yesterday. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Absolute Beauty owner Tracey Orr and beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett at Launceston’s Hotel Grand Chancellor yesterday. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

EARLIER this year, Newstead beauty salon owner Tracey Orr made significant business changes to improve the mental health of her staff.

It was a risky decision, and not all of her customers were happy.

But Ms Orr said that despite the initial fallout, Absolute Beauty was flourishing under its new business model.

Ms Orr decided to cut back her opening hours to better suit her staff after mental health organisation beyondblue launched its Heads Up campaign in Launceston six months ago. The campaign encourages business owners to give mental health the same priority as physical health and safety.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett was yesterday in Launceston to check up on the progress of businesses that had attended the initial campaign launch.

Mr Kennett said that while there was a drop in attendance – indicating that some businesses had not made significant changes – he was encouraged by business owners like Ms Orr.

Ms Orr said the beauty industry typically required staff to work excessively long hours, and there was little work-life balance. So she decided to cut hours on evenings and weekends, and arranged for staff to get a long weekend every other week. Ms Orr also changed one staff member’s hours so she was working a fly-in, fly-out roster, like her husband.

She said that some customers were unhappy, but they had since accepted the new opening hours. ‘‘What we’ve actually found is that we’ve had a reduction in wages because we’re not paying penalty rates,’’ Ms Orr said.

‘‘So there’s been no negative financial impact for us, and actually, having happier staff boosts the finances of the business.’’

 ■ High mental note for Calvary St Lukes: Page 10

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