There's so much I've learned about the future of work from hairdressers in the past two months.
It's the attitude that really impresses. Few other services rely so much on face-to-face 'intimacy' to build client relationships.
And there's no question the sector has suffered immensely during the pandemic. But with every crisis, an opportunity.
The lockdown has forced most of us to stay indoors, with limited access to friends and co-workers. No wonder some salons have leapt at the chance to set up video consultations with customers.
There are even some who have matched this with a home delivery service. The products arrive at your door, and a follow-up video call shows you how to dye your hair or add the conditioner.
Others focus on the 'intimacy' factor, even including a weekly Zoom wash-day. And of course there's no overestimating the value of a virtual consultation as people struggle to manage their out-of-control manes while stuck at home.
But what struck me most of all was how businesses are now competing for our attention during lockdown. Paradoxically we have more time on our hands yet we are more discriminating than ever about how we spend it.
So what's this got to do with you. Well, this particular writer has no further need for a hairdresser, but I'm still going to print out and pin up the following quotation because it is so inspiring.
"People now have the time to focus on things they may have neglected...It gives people a sense of normalcy when the world is on fire - you can still have a routine and focus time on yourself”.
Any business should find comfort and opportunity in this statement. Now's the time to prepare your business - and your customers - for life in the post-lockdown world.
Since closing its doors, the team from his salon has been posting videos on social media and booking virtual colour consultations, serving more than 3,000 customers online. “We have new clients which have never even been to our salon, the demand is huge,” Mr Van Clarke says. “It’s a lot easier to do the video consultations if we’ve seen them in person before, but we are still able to give advice to new customers.”