Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 8.3 | Challenges or Disadvantages of a Spa Career

Challenges or Disadvantages of a Spa Career

Work hours for spa professionals may begin earlier or extend beyond the regular hours of spa operation to prepare the facility for guests and to clean up after the day is over. Work time includes days, nights, weekends, and holidays. First appointments may begin at 8 a.m. and the last might not end until 10 p.m. Flexibility is vital. Because the spa’s priority is serving the guest, spa employees must be willing to work to accommodate guest needs. Staff members may be asked to work a split shift, on-call hours, holidays, or after closing. Someone who desires a traditional 9-to-5 work week may not be happy with spa schedules or changing work time environments.

Managers also have long and often non-traditional hours. Many resort or destination spas have a manager on duty (MOD) shift. The person in that role may have to stay on property overnight, which can be a challenge for his or her personal life. Managers may need to be flexible regarding travel, either for professional conferences or off-property retreats. During holidays, work schedules are also a challenge, with managers coming in very early or staying late.

Everyone working in a spa, from managers to professional staff to locker attendants, works together to ensure that all areas of the spa are clean, welcoming, and presentable to guests. Spa staff members are also responsible for keeping their own work spaces clean and stocked, wiping down equipment, counters, and supplies, removing dirty linens, and restocking clean linens. The spa industry is not a place for those afraid to get their hands dirty or who expect others to clean up after them. Next to spa services, spa hygiene is the most important value in a spa environment. In fact, the two cannot be separated.

Spa work is also very physically demanding and requires a great deal of stamina. And, while an advantage to a spa career is working directly with people as opposed to being isolated in an office, it may also be a disadvantage, as spa professionals must be consistently and authentically present to every guest or client, no matter how they are feeling personally or how long they have been working that day.

When ISPA asked a group of spa professionals what they liked least about their jobs, their answers included:

  • Dealing with unreasonable demands
  • Having too short a time to spend with each client before and after service
  • Labor intensiveness
  • Repetition
  • The long days
  • Weekend, holiday, and night hours
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