Take time for yourself over the festive period

Christmas and New Year is upon us and whilst most people are free to enjoy their time - making the most out of Christmas parties and drinks with friends and family - it can often be a different story for workers in the hospitality industry. Christmas and New Year are yearly peaks for the industry, with hotels, bars, and restaurants seeing a surge in custom, with many businesses receiving their Christmas bookings as far back as October. Of course, the boost is welcomed by businesses - the custom will be a huge uptake in earnings - and this will be especially welcomed after a tough economic year with costs rising and budgets tightening. Nevertheless, the rush might not be as welcomed by the staff.

For workers in the hospitality industry, the festive season can be a stressful time, especially when we are wanting to celebrate with our own friends and family but cannot free ourselves from work commitments. With staff working more in this period than any other time of the year, stress levels can peak, and many of us struggle to enjoy the festive season at all. However, to help ease the stress, Brigad has compiled some tips for workers to ease off and make time for yourselves, so that they can also make the most of the festive season. 

Learn when to say no

Christmas and New Year is an expensive time of year. There’s no escaping the cost of present buying, and with nights out celebrating with friends and family, on top of this year’s energy prices soaring, this winter will be more expensive than most. With hospitality businesses short on staff, it can be tempting for workers to take on as many shifts as they can to try and boost their earnings. The prospect of a big pay packet at the end of the month is undeniably tempting. However, it is this kind of thinking that leads many workers to feel burnt out at the end of the season. Prioritise your health and well-being and learn when to say “no” - spend more time budgeting and working out your finances so that you feel secure in your earnings, this way you won’t feel the need to take on work that might jeopardise your health.

Get back to basics: eat and sleep well 

Winter is also a time when rates of drinking skyrocket - research by Drinkaware revealed that “almost two-thirds (61%) of drinkers in the UK over-indulge with alcohol over the festive season, while one in five (18%) say they typically suffer more hangovers during this period.” Workers in the hospitality industry may turn to alcohol to help with the stress of overworking. Again, take the time to prioritise your health and limit your drinking - that way your body will be able to better fight off the effects of stress, and you will be able to relax and make the most out of Christmastime. 

Remember to book some alone time, too. The festive season can be jam-packed with social events, and this is a lot to handle on top of overtime. Do try and make time for yourself - whether it’s an hour a day, an afternoon, or a long weekend. Do what feels right to you - make space for yourself, relax and enjoy the downtime. 

Businesses: offer incentives and support 

Businesses should ramp up their support for staff during these periods. Aside from finding relief work, managers should continue to thank and offer positive feedback to their workforce to show how appreciative you are of their work. This kind of positive reinforcement helps create a healthy workplace environment - managers should be sure to remind their staff that they are approachable and available to listen to any work-related issues.  Surveys tell us that just “one in six hospitality workers are too scared to approach their employer about issues that are affecting their mental health.” Let them know your office door is always open should they wish to chat or escape the rush of customers for a few minutes.

Try to motivate your team - why not offer gifts and rewards for their hard work? This support can also come in the form of letting staff take additional time out - be mental health aware and monitor when staff might start to become burnt out. 

Management should also consider taking steps to ensure that their employees know the symptoms of burnout and stress. According to research, “Only 10% of hospitality employees have received training to support health and wellbeing, despite how prevalent mental health issues can be in this sector.” Management should consider booking in a few training sessions before the season begins to make sure that the workforce understands a healthy working lifestyle, and most importantly, how to handle stress effectively. 

Businesses: ease stress by finding relief work 

Christmas and New Year mean more work for hospitality staff, so much so that many workers start to question whether the season is a holiday at all.  According to surveys, hospitality staff work an average of 28 hours overtime over Christmastime. That number might rise this year due to staff shortages as businesses struggle to fill vacant spaces. Small businesses owners are reportedly having to turn customers away as they do not have enough staff to keep up with the custom, and staff will feel the pressure of having to take on many extra hours to keep business coming in. However, businesses should look towards Brigad to bring in relief work and take this stress off of their full-time staff. Our self-employed professionals have industry experience and can slot into the vacant roles with ease. Businesses do not have to rely on hiring one person for the whole period. Instead, work around Brigad’s Talent’s availability, and you will be lucky enough to work with many self-employed professionals who will be able to help and may even offer insightful advice from their years of experience working in the industry. Finding relief work will allow more time to your full-time staff for them to enjoy the festive season - the less pressure placed on staff, the more that they will enjoy working.   

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