Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Power Cut

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Power Cut

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Stewart

TAKE a 30-minute hair appointment, a brace of businesswomen and two BlackBerries and you get the ultimate multi-tasking session. Introducing the power cut -- this is what every high-powered working woman, from lawyers to advertising executives and their PAs, wants these days.

According to the City's top hairdressers, the working lunch has been usurped by a much more efficient appointment which combines essential beauty treatments with business meetings. Over the past few months, London stylists have noticed a rise in women booking in not only for a haircut or manicure but also for some focused business time.

At Butterfly, a City-based hair and make-up boutique, founder Louisa Barnett has spotted regular clients coming in on the phone, having a blow-dry while on the phone and checking out, all on the same conference call. Alternatively, she says they often arrive in small groups before breakfast or lunch, BlackBerries at the ready.

"This is something I've noticed latterly and it's the more senior businesswomen who come in. We turn the chairs to face each other, then we become invisible. I think our strength is providing a quiet service -- our music isn't loud -- and they come in specifically because we don't chat about holidays."

As the author of Loose: The Future of Business is Letting Go, Martin Thomas observes how the power cut introduces a new approach to work and play, where people are demanding less structured ways of working that are more creative and inspiring than dull, unproductive meetings.

"This is particularly important given that modern technology means you are effectively always on call. When you are expected to check emails, take calls and travel outside traditional working hours you might as well get some fun out of work. This is also a good example of real (as opposed to virtual) social networking, as there are growing signs of Facebook fatigue, with people recognising that it can never replace faceto-face relationships," he argues. …

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