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Office Services

Time-management tip: Have your barber, manicurist, masseuse, or detailer come to your shop, not you to their's.
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It looked like Cousin It," Jon Horwich says of his former hairstyle. "It was bad." The president of New York City-based Playmore Publishers used to put off getting his hair cut for as long as possible ("I treated it like going to the dentist--about twice a year") because a simple trim would invariably turn into an epic.

Then he found Kathleen Giordano, a.k.a. Lady Barber, who brings her scissors and clippers to him and performs an in-office coif. "I can do whatever I would do if she weren't here," he says. "I talk on the telephone, work on my computer, hold the occasional meeting--all while she's snipping."

The peripatetic personal-service provider would seem to be a species that rapidly evolved--and then just as rapidly became extinct--with the '90s boom and the '00s bubble-burst. One might assume, for instance, that the office-calling reflexologist who got twentysomething dot-com execs to kick off their Tevas is no longer in business. In fact, the current business climate calls for on-site services because every minute on the clock is precious, and people work harder, longer, and under more duress. "As companies downsize and employers have more work, they're under more stress and have a greater need for [office calls]," says Jo Sgammato, the director of Integral Yoga's Yoga at Work program in New York City. And so it is that haircuts, yoga, massage, manicures, suit tailoring, car detailing, and Botox injections (yes, Botox injections) can all be had without ever ducking out of the office.

Every Wednesday, attorney Wendy Lascher's BMW 530i is detailed in the parking lot of her office, Lascher & Lascher, in Ventura, Calif. "I could go to the car wash," she explains, "but getting there, having to wait, and returning to the office would take long enough that if I were to spend the time working, I could bill five or six times the cost of the hand wash." (Nor is the mechanical car wash as accommodating: Lascher has made hair appointments on detailing days, and Stevens Detailing has worked on her car in the beauty parlor parking lot.)

For Horwich, his every-other-month haircut is "a timesaving business tool," he says. "I think of it as I would a fax or e-mail. It's something I need to get done, and if I can save half a day, it's a tremendous help." He admits that his employees may think it's a little quirky, but not self-indulgent.

In fact, even an office-call massage shouldn't be considered self-indulgent. Portland, Oreg., massage therapist Dana Lutes goes so far as to suggest that "some services are now considered essential for optimum health." While services aren't kept a dark secret, "employees never see me come and go with my massage table." (Subsequently, the staff never has to imagine the boss marinated in essential oils, wearing nothing but a strategically placed facecloth.)

Discretion is also key for New York City cosmetic plastic surgeon Andrew Klapper, who arrives at his patients' offices in a custom-tailored suit--and carrying a small cooler that chills the Botox. "I want to be as incognito as possible," he says. He started making office calls when entrepreneur acquaintances kept telling him that they would get the wrinkle-smoothing treatment if only they didn't have to hike up to his office. Klapper, who treats more men than women on these office calls, notes male patients like to keep things private. "No one needs to know," he says, "and they get on with it."




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