We can order dinner on the Tube, control our thermostat from the board room and make conference calls on the beach (if absolutely necessary).
Our professional and personal lives have never been more blended. Multi-tasking is almost an art form.
So in Canary Wharf, where the ability to look glossy and polished at all times is at a premium, the promise of being able to keep your business head on while getting look sorted or your shoulders relaxed sounds too good to be true.
To find out if it is we tested out four companies that promise just that to see if its possible to work while being groomed or pummelled
1. Blow Ltd.
What’s on offer? Blow dries, make-up, manicures, pedicures, lashes and facials from 7am till late.
Where? The mobile beauticians cover London Zones 1,2 and 3 and will come to your home, office, hotel or even the gym. Basically anywhere there is a power socket and seat. There are also beauty bars in Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf and Covent Garden.
We tried: A gel manicure in Hot Rod Red while answering emails.
What they say: The company has been going since November 2013 and beautician Sharlene said nails and massage are the most popular treatments and most people book group sessions in the office.
“A lot of women will be on the phone when I show up and wave me in and I won’t talk to them as they will be busy. As long as they have a hand free I don’t mind as it lets me concentrate.”
Was it practical? Reading emails was fine but typing out answers one-handed was tough and I kept getting distracted by Sharlene carefully applying the bright red colour. It would have been fine had I been mostly on the phone or only using a mouse.
How much does it cost? £40 for a 40-minute gel manicure which lasted me almost three weeks. Blow dries start at £40 and packages are available.
How do I book? If you like to stick to your favourite stylist then check their availability on 01256 952 100 or email@example.com. If you book online or via the app your stylist will be selected for you and confirmed along with appointment details via email.
What’s on offer? Waxing, tinting, massage, nails and tanning from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week. It has just launched The London Wax, which leaves “a little more in front”.
Where? Covers all London postcodes for individual bookings and further afield for group bookings, parties and events. Parking may be needed, depending on the treatment.
We tried: A Shellac pedicure while uploading stories to wharf.co.uk.
What they say: “It’s quite normal for people to get pedicures at their desks,” said beautician Liliana. “We just set up and they carry on. For me it is fun as I get to see lots of different places.”
Was it practical? The treatment itself was lovely and Liliana was very gentle and careful. It was easy to carry on with work as I simply had to glance down now and then to switch position. I did feel some guilt seeing her crouched under my desk prettifying my feet while I tapped away on my keyboard. Make sure you allow time for set up and clearing away as this can take up to five minutes if a plug socket is hard to locate.
How much does it cost? £45 for a gel pedicure which lasted me four weeks. There is a minimum spend of £40 per home visit. It’s cheaper if you sign up to the monthly subscription service, including a pick and mix option for £65.
How do I book? 020 8525 8991, firstname.lastname@example.org or online here.
3. Urban Massage
What's on offer? Classic massage, deep tissue, pregnancy, sports, calming, energising, anti-cellulite, Thai (with or without oil) and reflexology.
Where? They say they can supply a therapist anywhere in London within 60 minutes.
What we tried: A classic 30-minute chair massage while transcribing an interview.
What they say: You’ve probably seen their ads on the Tube and, since therapist Agnieszka started with them two years ago, the company has gone from 30 freelance therapists to more than 450 using the platform.
“I have been to Canary Wharf many times,” said Agnieszka. “Men and woman get equally stressed and tense and I recommend to every customer they have a massage every three weeks as having one every six months or so is enjoyable but doesn’t really work to release that tension.”
Was it practical? This one caused the most hilarity in the office as we had to manoeuvre the special chair into position and then I had to straddle it and squish my face through the padded hole so I could still see my screen. I had both hands free, so at first it seemed easy to carry on working.
But then she began to really dig into my muscles and I had to close my eyes and try to relax. Not easy to do when a years worth of knots are refusing to die gently. I did manage to do a fair amount of work but would much rather have just succumbed to the pummelling without any distractions. There’s a reason so many people block book these as a treat for the whole office during a break.
How much does it cost? £65 for 60 minutes with one therapist up to £190 for two hours with two therapists.
How do I book? On the app or online here.
OFFER New customers can get £10 off with code WHARFUM valid until the end of July.
4. Return to Glory
What's on offer? One of the longest running mobile beauty services in London offering massage, blow dries, hair styling, make-up, facials, eyelashes, pamper parties and wedding packages seven days a week.
Where? Across London
What we tried: A one-hour hair styling session while writing stories.
What they say: Stylist Lauren also works as Brix Smith-Start’s hairdresser and as a stylist for television so has plenty of experience and she said women often multi-task during treatments.
“I have done hair for women who have been breast feeding and a lot of the time they will be on the phone,” said Lauren.
“Often they have a last minute event to go to and don’t have time to go to the salon.”
Was it practical? This made a nice change from to the salon as there was none of that awkward staring in mirrors and trying to read a magazine that keeps slipping off the unattractive cape. I completed plenty of work as my hair was manipulated into a plaited up do based on images we had discussed at the start. I think my colleague got a blast of hairspray at one point, but the disruption was fairly minimal.
There was also that lovely moment when she revealed the finished style to me and I discovered while I had been busy editing photographs and checking facts, Lauren had transformed my locks into an intricate Game Of Thrones-style barnet. This is perfect if you have a posh event or date to go to straight after work.
How much does it cost? £59 for one hour. Bookings before 7am or after 9pm incur a £15 late charge. Subscription pacakages are also available.
How do I book? On 020 3805 9654 or email@example.com, via the app or online here.