“ The balance comes from knowing your business . You need to be on top of everything ; you need to continuously be looking ahead .”
– BROOKE BUCHER
Bucher , added that being open with your team about the evaluations spa leaders are making and giving them the opportunity to have input into the actions the spa takes gives them a sense of ownership that nearly always improves outcomes . As it stands , the spa is hitting revenue targets and Bucher ’ s team feels cared for and supported , which is unquestionably a win-win situation . As Bucher concludes , “ Especially during the last couple of years , if my team was exhausted and run down and not appreciated , if they don ’ t feel supported , if they don ’ t feel that I have their back , if they didn ’ t have a manager or team around them that listened and cared , they would ’ ve been driven into the ground , and I wouldn ’ t have a team right now .”
ALL ABOUT TIMING Christina Cabrera also reconsidered the structure of her team ’ s schedule when looking for ways to balance demand and staff workload , though , interestingly , her approach relies on predictability rather than flexibility .“ We do have a pretty structured schedule for our full-time and our part-time team members ,” she says . The structure itself is simple : All full-time and part-time team members work during the spa ’ s peak demand periods on Fridays , Saturdays and Sundays . Full-time employees also work Wednesdays and Thursdays , while part-timers work on Tuesdays , when all the full-time team members are off . The spa has remained closed on Mondays , which gives each team member an additional day off as well .
In addition , Cabrera shortened the spa ’ s hours of operation ( it is now open from 9 am to 6 pm ), which has allowed her to standardize shift lengths and do away with the short shifts that often left gaps in the schedule during which treatment rooms went unutilized . Cabrera says these changes , along with two mandatory 15-minute breaks and a 45-minute meal break , have allowed her to preserve her team ’ s energy and create a reasonable workload .“ A service provider gets no more than seven hours of scheduled treatment time per day , so they ’ re not feeling exhausted ,” Cabrera says .“ They appreciate the fact that we are trained to take care of them and their bodies and minds as well .”
One other adjustment Cabrera says she has made to make sure that a sick or vacationing team member does not cause disruptions is adding a number of on-call team members so that other employees have some leeway if they need or want additional time off . These on-call therapists submit their availability at least a week in advance and provide cover when a shift needs to be covered or the spa books group business . “ It ’ s really provided support for not only the guests , but more importantly for the full-time team members and the part-time team members who maybe didn ’ t want to work four or five days a week ,” she says .
For all the challenges that being fully booked and short staffed can present to spa leaders , the creativity required to find solutions to those challenges can lead to some welcome results . As Kim Green points out , for example , the students she has used to supplement her spa ’ s offerings have been a breath of fresh air for guests and for her alike . “ What they lack in knowledge or experience , they make up for in their attention to detail , like they ’ re striving for perfection ,” she says . “ I think the guest feels and sees that and appreciates it too .” According to Green , adjustments like these are representative of the way spa leaders will continue to think going forward . “ For the industry , I think everyone knows we ’ re not going to see what we ’ ve had in the past . Initially , you just keep trying to turn the clock back , but people aren ’ t trying to do that anymore . They ’ re just open to so many new things and excited to grow again , maybe in a new direction .” n
BROOKE BUCHER Director of Spa and Wellness SAGE LODGE SPA PRAY , MONTANA
CHRISTINA CABRERA Director of Spa and Fitness LA QUINTA RESORT LA QUINTA , CALIFORNIA
KIM GREEN Owner
AT ALTITUDE SPA PONOKA , ALBERTA
14 PULSE n AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022