Detecting Signs of Burnout in Your Hospitality Team

A hospitality business’s success relies on teamwork. Whilst it takes the organisation and structuring of owners and managers, it is the kitchen staff, chefs, porters and front-of-house personnel who form the backbone of any thriving establishment. This means that their health and well-being are crucial to the smooth sailing of business. 

Working in the hospitality industry can be both rewarding and exciting - the work is fast-paced, the environment is buzzing, and there are clear routes to step up in your career. However, without proper care and management, long shifts, irregular sleep, and high-pressure environments can quickly become problems that can lead to major mental health issues. Recognising the signs of burnout in your team is not only a matter of compassion, it's also critical for maintaining a productive and harmonious work environment.

In this blog article, we will delve into the unique challenges faced by hospitality staff and provide actionable strategies for HR and managers to detect and address burnout before it becomes a significant problem. By implementing these practices, you can foster a healthier, more motivated team that delivers exceptional service while safeguarding their physical and mental well-being.

If you need a solution to take the burden of stress off of your team, find qualified freelancers with industry experience for short-term work through the Brigad app. 

Understanding Roles and Behaviours

The world of hospitality encompasses a diverse range of roles, each with its own set of responsibilities. Understanding these positions is essential for recognising the signs of burnout before they become a major issue. It's crucial to grasp the challenges faced by each of your team members to understand how to better support them.  

You should take time to speak with your team in each division to find out the specific aspects of their job roles that could be causing them stress, and take steps to improve and streamline these stress points. 

Long shifts, irregular schedules, and high-pressure situations are par for the course in this line of work. However, this does not mean that these factors should be overlooked as simply being ‘part of the job’. It’s important to ensure that nobody is working to the detriment of their health; set up systems which will flag when someone is working long shifts too frequently.  

Encourage Positive Mental Health Practices

Recognising the signs of burnout is crucial, but it's equally important to implement practices that promote employee well-being and prevent burnout from occurring in the first place. Here are some effective strategies for HR and managers in the hospitality industry.

Provide Safe Spaces. Establish an environment where team members feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns, without fear of judgement. Encourage open communication and ensure confidentiality. 

Mental Health Days. Offer paid time off specifically designated for mental health. This allows team members to recharge and address their mental well-being. This will resonate especially well with long-term employees, and it will show them that you appreciate the hard work that they are putting into the business. 

Training and Workshops. Provide resources and workshops focused on stress management, resilience, and maintaining mental health in high-pressure environments. 

Relief Work and Rotations

Rotate Roles. If possible, implement a system where team members can periodically rotate to a different role within the establishment. This can provide a change of pace and help prevent burnout associated with monotonous tasks.

Flexible Scheduling. Offer flexibility in scheduling to accommodate individual preferences and needs, where possible. This can help employees better manage their work-life balance.

If you are struggling to fit your long-term staff into your schedule, consider bringing in qualified freelancers for short-term relief work through the Brigad app. 

Regular Check-Ins and Feedback

Schedule one-on-one meetings with team members to discuss their workload, challenges, and overall well-being. This creates a platform for open communication and allows HR and managers to address potential issues before they escalate. Make sure to come away from these talks with actionable plans to help reduce burnout. 

Encourage peer-to-peer check-ins as well, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support among team members.

Training and Development Opportunities:

A major factor in burnout is the feeling that someone does not have a career path to progress in their work. Provide opportunities for skill-building and career advancement. Offering training sessions and workshops will not only enhance job satisfaction, but will also demonstrate a commitment to employee growth and development.

Signs of Burnout: What to Look For

1. Physical Exhaustion: Noticeable fatigue, sluggishness, and a decrease in physical stamina can be indicative of burnout. Pay attention to signs of tiredness that persist even after periods of rest.

2. Poor Mental Health: Increased instances of anxiety, panic attacks, or extended periods of low mood may signal that a team member is struggling with burnout. These mental health challenges can greatly impact their ability to perform effectively.

3. Confusion and Forgetfulness: Burnout can lead to lapses in concentration and memory. Team members may have difficulty focusing on tasks or recalling important information, which can lead to errors or oversights.

4. Emotional Distress: Heightened emotional responses, such as irritability, frustration, or tearfulness, can be indicative of burnout. Pay attention to changes in mood that are out of character for a team member.

5. Decreased Job Satisfaction: If a once-passionate employee begins to show signs of disengagement or expresses dissatisfaction with their role, it may be a sign of burnout. This can lead to a decline in the quality of their work and their overall contribution to the team.

6. Withdrawal and Isolation: Burnout can lead to a desire for isolation. Team members may become more reserved, avoiding social interactions with colleagues and displaying a reluctance to participate in team activities.

7. Decreased Attention to Detail: The meticulousness required in the hospitality industry may wane in a burned-out team member. They may overlook details or fail to meet the high standards of quality and service expected.

8. Absenteeism and Lateness: An increase in unplanned absences or chronic lateness may be a sign of burnout. It's important to address these patterns early to prevent further escalation.

9. Increased Use of Sick Days: Burnout can lead to physical and mental health challenges that necessitate more frequent sick days. Recognising this pattern can be a key indicator of underlying burnout.

10. Decline in Relationships with Colleagues: Burnout can strain interpersonal relationships. Team members may have difficulty communicating effectively or may become more irritable and less collaborative.

Protecting Your Team

The health of a team is paramount to the success of a business. Protecting your team's health should be a priority. By implementing positive mental health practices, offering relief work and rotations, and prioritising regular check-ins, HR and managers can create a work environment that supports the well-being and productivity of their team.

Remember, protecting your team's health requires an action-oriented approach. Set realistic expectations, address staffing shortages, lead by example, and encourage peer support. By doing so, you foster a culture of support and growth.

If you need to find support to take the burden off of your team, find highly-qualified freelancers with industry experience for short-term work through the Brigad app. 

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