2020 has been one of the toughest years for the hospitality industry, not just financially but also the impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of workers.
Industry charity Hospitality Action launched their survey into current attitudes towards mental health and stress in the sector. Hospitality Action found in 2018 that 46% of respondents struggled with a mental health issue that year.
With the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants throughout the UK during lockdown, paying close attention to employees’ mental health has never been more important.
It was #WorldMentalHealthDay on the 10 October which aims to promote awareness of mental health all around the world.
Brøndum, chief executive of Planday, said: “While increased awareness and conversation about mental health is an important step in the right direction, shift and gig economy workers are seeing an increase in stresses and demands due to the pandemic, which can make managing their mental health even more challenging.”
He has created three tips on how employers can take greater care of their employees mental health.
Plan shift schedules far in advance
Where possible, create your schedule at least one month in advance. This might be a difficult task due to the constant review of government guidelines, but it’s still important to try to schedule as far ahead as possible. According to psychologists, planning things in advance leads to less stress and more happiness.
Unfortunately, one of the most stressful things about shift work is that you often don’t know when you’ll be working and when you’ll be off. Whether it’s trying to balance something like family commitments, or study — or even something like finding the time to exercise and look after yourself — unpredictability can complicate your self-care no matter what you do for work. This can be particularly difficult in fast-paced industries, such as hospitality.
Too many restaurant managers post their staff work schedules once a week, for the coming week. For example, a manager might post their schedule every Sunday, and that schedule begins the very next day. Or some restaurants simply post a paper schedule on the wall, so employees who don’t work on Sundays have to either come in on their day off or call to find out when they’re working next.
Respect employees’ requests to work/not work particular shifts
In addition to planning work schedules in advance, it’s important to allow your employees to choose which days and times they want to work. According to research by Office Team (a staffing service), flexible scheduling was employees’ top answer when they were asked about benefits that best support work-life balance. People have other responsibilities besides work. We all do!
Whether that’s family needs, medical appointments or social functions that they want to attend. Whatever the reason, giving them this bit of autonomy in their schedules will help to reduce stress and improve their mental health.
Allow employees to swap shifts if necessary
As a manager, you know that urgent needs often pop up at the last minute. Perhaps an employee’s child gets sick or there is a death in the family. Or maybe the employee just really needs a day off to unwind and focus on their mental health.
In these situations, it’s important that you give your employees the option to change their work schedules by swapping shifts. This doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, investing in planning software gives you this capability with zero effect on your business operations.
Shift work can be stressful, especially if employees pick up shifts or receive their schedules very last minute. This makes it difficult for them to plan their lives.
Planning your shift schedules in advance, allowing employees to choose their availability, and giving them the option to swap shifts, will go a long way toward caring for your employees’ mental health.