For Large Corporations and businesses — on-site counseling services and therapy support professionals.

The pandemic pause brought us to a moment of collective reckoning about what it means to live well and to work well. As a result, employees are sending employers an urgent signal that they are no longer willing to choose one — life or work — at the cost of the other. Working from home brought life literally into our work. And as the world now goes hybrid, employees are drawing firmer boundaries about how much of their work comes into their life. Where does this leave employers? And which perspectives and programs contribute most to progress? In our newest interview series, Working Well: How Companies Are Creating Cultures That Support & Sustain Mental, Emotional, Social, Physical & Financial Wellness, we are talking to successful executives, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and thought leaders across all industries to share ideas about how to shift company cultures in light of this new expectation. We’re discovering strategies and steps employers and employees can take together to live well and to work well.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Amie Migirova.

Amie Justine Migirova is the owner and lead stylist of Emma Justine Color & Extension Lounge. Over the years, with the help of their beautiful and loyal guests, the Emma Justine Tribe took great pride in upholding the salon’s mission statement by “Creating a one-of-a-kind salon experience that is led by a team with exceptional talent to ensure every guest feels Bold, Beautiful, & Confident!” Emma Justine Salon continues to set the bar for what it means to be experts in the field.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.

Prior to covid, our salon gained popularity and our services were in high demand. After coming back from the 10-week pandemic closure, my team and I were working six long days per week to try to keep up with the demand, which had now increased even more due to being closed. The demand continued to increase because our work continued to gain popularity. However, we all became overworked and eventually exhausted, and work was no longer enjoyable like it used to be. I knew something had to change. After going back to the drawing board to determine how to keep the salon’s bottom dollar intact while shortening the teams work hours, we determined that we will go into a specialty field, and reduce the total days/hours the salon will remain open, so that I and my team can have enough time off work to fully recharge. We went against the industry standard of typical salon operating hours and decided to revamp employee schedules to allow for a better work/life balance, where everyone in the salon works the same days/hours. It’s a 4-day work with a 3-day weekend. (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are the off days). We are the only salon in town of this caliber that is not open on a Saturday. This is the best decision we could have made for our employees.

Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?

We measure the wellness of our employees by their engagement level. We have individual monthly 1on1s with every employee, where we get to connect and check in on their overall wellbeing, which include mental, physical, and financial. Without prying too much into their personal life, we discuss their challenges, needs, or issues they might be experiencing at home or at work, as well as other broad topics. These 1on1s are catered to the individual needs of the employee, which could change month over month.

Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?

We put a lot of planning on the leadership support structure and how the employees are being supported while at work. A heavy emphasis was put on making sure that we have the necessary support and that this support is readily available. We implemented well thought-out processes to create a more effortless stylist to guest experience.

Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?

We had to look at this through the lens of a small business and truly think outside of the box and do things that are not typical in the industry but still possible. We offer unlimited time off with partially paid vacation time, a 4-day work week with weekends off, and shorter business hours. Our close-knit leadership support system focuses on creating an environment that encourages growth and at the same time promotes healthy careers.

Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank well-being as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?

In the beauty industry, it’s common to work on Saturdays, especially if it’s a high caliber establishment. There is also the pressure of meeting the expectations of the clients and the stress that comes with having the skills to deliver results.

We have built a very strong reputation in our community not just with our clients, but also with those that are seeking employment. Our extensive training platform, the 4-day work week with weekends off, the earning potential, and just the overall reputation of the salon has allowed us the opportunity to not have to proactively seek talent. We have a very transparent social media presence, which gives those seeking to join a sneak peak of what it’s like being a part of the Emma Justine Beauty Tribe. We regularly receive applications and have even started a waiting list of those that we feel will be a great fit should we decide to expand the salon. We especially get a lot of interest from those that are newly graduated into the beauty field.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health days, and on-demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.

Mental Wellness:

Mental wellness is often attributed to not having enough time to recharge, regenerate, and take the needed time off during unexpected life events that impact someone’s mental wellbeing. We went against the industry standard of typical salon operating hours and decided to revamp employee schedules to allow for a better work/life balance where everyone in the salon works the same days/hours. It’s a 4-day work with a 3-day weekend. (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are the off days). We are the only salon in town of this caliber that is not open on a Saturday. This is the best decision we could have made for our employees.

Social Wellness:

In 2021, I decided to fly the entire team to Florida for a salon summit and team building. The salon covered expenses associated with travel, hotel, and food. In 2022, I flew the entire team to Austin, Texas for an international Kevin Murphy VIP Hair Fashion show experience. The salon covered expenses associated with VIP access, travel, and accommodations. I feel that these types of initiatives instill a culture of social wellness, help reinforce their love of the beauty industry, and at the same time allow for much-needed team building.

Financial Wellness:

In the salon industry, it’s common for stylists to pay for their own up-training and or any additional classes that they are interested in taking. On rare occasions, some salons cover a percentage of these classes. At Emma Justine Salon, we think differently. We feel that it’s our obligation to pay for 100% of the up-trainings. Despite common practices, we share a different vision of what it means to be fully invested in our employees. We also regularly run a competitive analysis to ensure that our team is compensated competitively. Our team is in the top 10 percentile of highest paid stylists within our local market, with two of our stylists making a 6-figure salary.

Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?

I strongly encourage employers to revisit how they view time off, whether it’s paid or unpaid. Having two weeks of vacation, or even four weeks of vacation in an entire year — is that truly a perk? It seems like a minimal industry standard, just to say you offer time off to employees. Implementing a more friendly approach towards time of requests can truly propel your employee culture to the next level. This can be achieved with a well put together strategy, and followed through with effective execution of that strategy.

How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?

I believe that the key to any successful organization is to have a culture based on a strongly held and widely shared set of beliefs that are supported by sound business strategy and structure. It’s essential for leadership to have clear set guidelines on how to support the needs of the team with purposeful goals, set timelines, and follow-ups along the way.

Ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team, or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?

One step everyone can take to get started is to network with businesses or individuals that have a proven system that works that they have already implemented in their businesses.

What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?”

1. In house perks, such as massages, facials, quiet rooms for relaxation.

2. Thorough financial success plans, family planning, first time home purchase strategies, etc.

3. Life coaches.

4. Fitness Memberships.

5. For Large Corporations and businesses — on-site counseling services and therapy support professionals.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?

Seeing how our implementation of non-standard business practices truly improved our work culture and the well-being of our employees is our source of optimism for the future.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?




Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.