Ironically, many people we know have been so stressed out about work and the world that they haven’t realised April is Stress Awareness Month.
Of course, you could say, “Yep, I’m already aware I’m stressed, so finding out there’s a whole month devoted to it isn’t going to help me much.” If you think about it like that, you may have a point.
Except there’s a massive difference between being aware that you’re stressed and knowing what you should do to deal with it. Being aware of your employee’s stress so that you can help them cope and operate more effectively in your workplace is arguably even more important.
Your team members are the crew who are keeping your hospitality vessel afloat.
Not only have they been under an enormous amount of stress since the Covid pandemic hit our shores, but ‘standard operating procedure’ stress is something that everyone in the hospitality industry deals with every moment of our working lives. After all, daily stress created by the pressure always to give your best is something every hospitality worker’s familiar with, and it’s a big part of why we love what we do.
That’s another reason why employers in the hospitality industry shouldn’t let Stress Awareness Month slip past unnoticed. Your team members might be so used to stress that they don’t realise how much stress they’re under; until it’s too late and they’ve burned themselves out completely.
As their employer, manager, or team leader, Stress Awareness Month is an invaluable wake-up call reminding us not to let that happen. It’s also an opportunity to start an open and honest conversation about stress with your team members, so you can find practical ways to help them manage their stress better.
But, before we get to that, here are a few facts and figures the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) published in their ‘Service With(out) a Smile’ report back in 2019. Remember, that was almost a full year before Covid arrived, so these statistics will undoubtedly be higher now.
- Four out of five (84%) hospitality workers reported increased stress, which was believed to be a direct consequence of their job. For that reason, almost half (45%) of respondents told the report they would not recommend working in hospitality.
- Almost two-thirds (62%) did not think the hospitality sector cared for its employees.
- Three-quarters (74%) have experienced verbal abuse from a customer.
- Almost a quarter (24%) required medical or psychological help.
- Only one in ten (10%) of respondents had received training to support their health and wellbeing or had access to mentoring, health champions, or mental health first aiders.
As a result of the report, the RSPH made the following recommendations:
- Employers should put in place systems and processes that protect mental health and wellbeing, including regular one-to-ones between managers and employees; mental health first aiders; training, such as the RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Mental Wellbeing.
- Improved enforcement of employment rights.
- Further research is needed into what hospitality can learn from best practice in workplace wellbeing within other sectors.
Simple, practical steps to help your employees manage their workplace stress (and help you manage yours)
- Improve stress and mental health awareness in your workplace. Provide mental health awareness training for your line managers, so they’ll be able to recognise signs of mental ill-health in their staff and know the best ways to approach the person and offer support. Make sure that all line managers understand your company’s mental health policy and the support that’s available for employees.
- Encourage your team members to take better care of their own mental and physical health. Physical exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, improve stamina, and boost work performance. It also increases confidence and helps build a stronger immune system, so your team members will feel more empowered and take fewer sick days off work. Some employers have teamed up with a local gym/health club to get reduced membership rates for their team members, or if there’s a gym on the premises (i.e. in a hotel), they’ve made arrangements for their team members to use it.
- Ensure your employees take regular breaks, and if they’re back-office staff who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen, encourage them to take regular time away from the screen to rest their eyes, stretch and walk around. Also, make sure that any equipment your team members use (especially chairs, desks, and computers) is set up correctly, so there will be a minimal strain on their eyes and bodies.
- If you have a staff restaurant or vending machines in your workplace, stock them with healthier options!
- Implement employee benefits, such as a virtual GP or an Employee Assistance Programme, so your team members have easy access to physical, mental, and financial support and counselling.
- Encourage mentoring. Pairing an experienced team member with a junior team member is a great way to develop their skills while improving their mental health and morale. Not only can mentors offer guidance and help integrate new employees into your workplace, but knowing they’ve got support and that someone is looking out for them can go a long way towards relieving their stress.
Of course, if needing to find the very best permanent, long-term, or short-term staff to join your hospitality crew is what’s causing you stress, we can take that pressure off you straight away!
Your friendly, expert team at Prime will always be here to help you.
Call us at 020 7580 4398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be ready to go whenever you are!