By Kelly Friel from tool and PPE experts Zoro (www.zoro.co.uk)
With mental health being an important topic in the hospitality industry as of late, Kelly Friel shares her tips for supporting your team’s wellbeing.
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is fast-paced and high-pressured. However, because of this, the sector has one of the highest rates of mental health problems in the workplace, according to data from the University of Cambridge, with just under one in four people working in hospitality saying they’ve struggled with their mental health.
Stress and anxiety can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance and increased absenteeism, making it crucial for managers to prioritise their team’s wellbeing. Below, we’ll go through just some of the ways you can help look after your hospitality staff’s mental health.
Managing unsociable shifts
Hospitality staff tend to work long or unsociable hours and while this is necessary for the business to run smoothly, understanding that this can put pressure on your staff is key. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by fairly distributing unsociable shifts across the team. For example, many establishments have implemented a ‘four days on, three days off’ rota, which ensures employees get at least three days off per week.
Offering shift flexibility, such as shift swapping, can also make a big difference among staff, giving them more control over when they work so they can organise their shifts around their other commitments. This is especially important in the hospitality sector, as the industry hires a large proportion of part-time staff like students. Managers should work with their staff to organise their shifts around commitments such as important exams.
Providing a clean and safe workplace
The working environment can significantly impact employee wellbeing. Unsafe or poor working conditions can make staff feel unappreciated, make everyday tasks more difficult, and reduce productivity. Maintaining a clean establishment is therefore key to supporting a healthy workplace overall. This includes providing proper hygiene and infection control procedures to protect staff from illness, as well as ensuring facilities are fully stocked and providing PPE to reduce the risk of injury.
It’s important to remember that many people can be more vulnerable to certain illnesses, including COVID-19, so giving them the option to wear extra PPE such as face masks and shields can help assure staff that they can feel safe at work.
Handling difficult customers
Whatever kind of establishment you run, customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything you do, but it’s important to acknowledge that “the customer is always right” doesn’t always apply. 95% of hospitality workers reported receiving abuse at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to a study from Strathclyde Business School, three quarters of which came from customers.
Conducting regular customer service training sessions can help make staff feel better equipped to deal with these situations as they arise. However, you could also consider a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to abuse of staff, either from customers or other staff members, to protect your team.
Prioritising mental health as a company
Fostering a culture of openness and honesty is one of the best ways to ensure staff feel supported while at work. This is also a great way to learn more about the challenges your team are facing, so you can put strategies in place to make your workplace the best it can possibly be. Ensure your staff’s concerns are heard by scheduling regular one-to-one sessions, creating a suggestion box, or offering anonymous surveys, to give staff an opportunity to discuss anything they feel is impacting their work.
Incorporating mental health awareness as part of your company values can kick-start the conversation and make staff feel more comfortable to be open. Conduct mental health awareness training with senior members of staff to ensure they’re supporting their team in the best way possible. This will help your team to recognise signs of burnout not only in themselves, but amongst their colleagues, and give them the tools and skills to be able to offer support.
By following some of the steps above, you can help support your staff’s mental health at work, resulting in a happier, more productive team. For even more essential tips, take a look at the latest news and advice at CLH News.