Nurturing Mental Health and Wellbeing: A Guide for Hospitality Workers during the Holiday Season
The holiday season is undoubtedly a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. For many people, it is the highlight of their year, where they can look ahead to spending some quality time with the family and leaving work behind.
However, this is not the story for those working in the hospitality industry. For hospitality businesses, the festive season is more commonly associated with increased stress, demanding schedules, and heightened expectations. The season might bring more revenue in, but at what cost to our mental health?
Balancing the demands of a bustling establishment with personal well-being can be a challenging feat. However, your mental health should be a priority - poor mental health practices will only lead to more difficulties later down the line, at work and home.
We at Brigad want to help you prepare for the festive season. In this guide, we'll explore eight essential topics to help both hospitality workers and their managers navigate the holiday season while prioritising mental health and well-being.
Recognise and Acknowledge Stress
Acknowledging stress is the first step towards effectively managing it. Business leaders should encourage open communication within teams, and promote a culture of sharing and healing.
Provide a safe space for employees to voice their concerns and feelings. Managers should be attuned to signs of burnout or excessive stress. Offer support and resources, and consider implementing stress-relief activities or workshops. It might also be worth considering mental health and wellbeing training. The Burnt Chef Project provides free resources on their website.
A workplace that is open to talking about stress is a workplace that will find ways to reduce stress, improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as general morale, and therefore increase productivity and quality of work overall.
Offering Flexibility and Support
Recognise that personal circumstances may vary, and be open to accommodating individual needs. Provide flexibility in scheduling and consider alternative work arrangements, where possible.
Flexibility and short-term support are the priority for the freelancers who use Brigad, who are self-employed, skilled and experienced in the hospitality industry. If you need to boost team numbers on short notice, create an account on the Brigad app and connect with a talented freelancer with the needed skills.
Effective Time Management
Help your team prioritise tasks and set realistic expectations for the holiday rush. This means effective training, planning, and communication so that when the festive rush comes in, your team is ready and equipped for busy periods.
Implement efficient scheduling practices, allowing for breaks and rest days. Encourage self-care and balance between work and personal life and foster a culture where time management is valued and supported.
Promoting a Healthy Work Environment
Create a workplace that promotes a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing. Of course, this begins with being open to communication and encouraging staff to bring forward their ideas of how to keep the workplace healthy and positive. By encouraging the team to share ideas, not only are you promoting collaborative thinking, but you are letting them know that they and their ideas are valued in the business.
When possible, try to ensure that the physical surroundings are conducive to well-being, with adequate lighting, ventilation, and comfortable spaces. Of course, the space in your business will be constrained, especially in the kitchen, but having a point dedicated to relaxing and de-stressing will be a valuable resource.
You could also take steps to make staff aware of local mental health services and hotlines by leaving their pamphlets and posters in staff areas and encouraging staff to use them if they need to.
Encouraging Regular Breaks and Rest
In the hospitality industry, the pace can be relentless, especially during the holiday season. Encourage regular breaks and ensure that employees take their entitled time off. Advocate for a culture where breaks are valued and seen as essential for productivity and overall well-being.
Shifts without regular breaks are a quick route towards burnout and exhaustion. If you cannot afford to give adequate break time due to low staff numbers, bring in freelancers for short-term work by using the Brigad app, enabling your permanent staff to take time when they need it.
Promoting Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Don’t be afraid to promote activities beyond work - why not try to introduce mindfulness and relaxation practices to your team? Encourage activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. These techniques can be invaluable in reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of calm amidst the holiday chaos.
At the end of the day, your team might not take to these practices, but promoting them is an important step towards helping them find their practice of de-stressing. One thing that should be avoided is the use of alcohol as a form of de-stress. This is a bad habit often formed by people working in the hospitality industry who work around and with alcohol. Whilst drinking may help people de-stress in the short term, it can be a damaging and dangerous habit to form.
Celebrating Achievements and Recognising Efforts
Acknowledge the hard work and dedication of your team. Celebrate their achievements, both big and small, and express gratitude for their contributions - this recognition can go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment.
Remember, prioritising mental health and well-being is not only beneficial for the individuals involved but also contributes to a more productive and harmonious workplace. By implementing these practices, hospitality managers can ensure a happier, healthier team during the holiday season and beyond.
If you need support to boost staff numbers and enable staff to take the time they need to rest and reset, connect with freelance hospitality workers via the Brigad app today.