Salon perks brought to the office

When Rana El Eid first marketed her spa’s corporate wellness packages to companies in ­Dubai, she quickly realised how big the task was.

“People would look at me like, huh? Why would I provide massages for my staff?” says the founder and chief wellness advocate of RE Salons & Spas, of her plans a few years ago.

“In the beginning I was trying to approach everybody. Then I focused on the media com­panies and the reaction was a lot more positive.”

In addition to chair massages, the salon offers in-office reflexology sessions, express manicures, pedicures and facials for both genders, and henna and work make-up tutorials for women.

There are also themed beauty treatments such as pink manicures to raise awareness for breast cancer.

“On some occasions, companies like to celebrate family days with their employees, so we had kids present and we did airbrush tattoos and hair braiding,” adds Ms El Eid.

The basic package, which costs around Dh3,000 a month, offers employees a 15-minute massage in their workplace. RE Salons & Spas provides both the chairs and the beauty therapists.

“The price covers as many employees as we can fit in the three-hour slot. Normally they just line up,” says Ms El Eid, who says the number of employees taking advantage of the on-site massages increase with each return visit to an office.

“They realise that even if it’s 15 minutes, there is a benefit. They will relax and be able to perform better.”

Ms El Eid, who believes her spa is the only company of its kind to offer company packages, first got the idea in 2012 after not­icing that many companies in the West offered employees extra benefits, but few in the UAE followed the trend. About 10 companies have signed up so far, either on a six-month basis or on an annual contract.

“The number will increase. We are expanding, so I have to hire sales people to go and approach more companies,” she says. “When I approach people they say we have been looking for people to do this, which at the beginning was not the case.”

Tim Garrett, founder of Corporate Wellness Company, which is based in Dubai and runs corporate wellness programmes, is not surprised by the growing interest.

“People are busy – they work long hours and have lots of responsibilities, so they want convenient services,” he says.

q&a pampered aplenty

Tim Garrett, the founder of Corporate Wellness Company, explains why companies organise wellness initiatives:

Manicures in the office. Is that really beneficial to productivity?

There is a feelgood factor to it. If companies are going to pay for it, then it’s a nice added benefit which could increase employee retention and attract the best staff. It’s a nice thing to do.

Why do companies run these wellness programmes?

The main reason 90 per cent of the companies come to me is usually because they really just want to help their staff improve the quality of their lives. They know that it is going to rub off on their business performance, but that is not their main moti­vation.

What kind of projects have you carried out?

Various things. For example, we have done a whole series of health and posture workshops that look at health and diet. The posture part is all about ergonomics and how that can have a big effect on someone’s health.

Have you always hosted corporate wellness programmes or did you introduce them later?

I introduced that in the last two or three years because it is a growing area and I wanted to help large groups of people. I tried it seven years ago, but I don’t think I really tried it enough. There wasn’t really that much demand around at the time.

How many clients do you have?

Anywhere from 10 to 15 a year.

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