According to the recent Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) research data, over four in five (84%) of hospitality and retail employees have reported increased stress as a direct consequence of their job.
Those in customer-facing roles often thrive in the busy environment, the interactions with the public and the fact that no two days are ever the same.
But what happens when the pressure starts to build and the job becomes too stressful for staff to cope? Whether you were placed on furlough, or have worked in your essential customer-facing job throughout the pandemic, this year has created a strain on many hospitality employees.
In this blog, I’m going to share some industry insights and advice for hospitality staff on how to manage your mental health alongside your busy job in our new world.
Let’s start with spotting the signs – early.
Hospitality employees need to recognise the difference between feeling down from having a bad few shifts and the more severe signs of stress that are happening across the workplace. For example:
Are there more arguments between staff?
Is there a high turnover in different departments?
Are staff ringing in sick constantly?
Is morale low across the board?
Employers are legally bound to assess the risk of work-related stress, so it is crucial to talk to your line manager if you have any concerns about issues affecting yourself or your team.
However, what happens when an individual hospitality employee begins to suffer from the effects of stress in their role? Let me explain further.
It is not uncommon for the incidents I’ve mentioned above to happen in the customer service-based establishments; every team has its ups and downs, and these can be more prevalent with the added stress of the pandemic. But sometimes, the issues compound and cause further problems, such as the following signs of individual stress and poor mental health.
If you feel that your particular hospitality role is causing you personal stress, the signs to look out for include:
Low mood and mood swings
Lack of motivation
Feeling anxious, irritable or depressed
If you are experiencing any of these as a direct result of your job, it is advisable to talk to your manager to discuss if they can help in any way to make you feel less stressed at work.
For more severe cases, the advice is to talk to your G.P. about your current problems and concerns.
Taking Steps to Combat Stress
Poor mental health, as a result of your hospitality job, can come from a variety of sources. You might feel as though your role is overwhelming, and you find it hard to cope with the lack of staff or resources that you have. Or you might be feeling bullied or ostracised by your colleagues.
Aside from bullying, which is a severe issue that you should always speak to your manager about, there are steps that hospitality employees can take to help alleviate the symptoms of stress and improve their mental health.
Exercise – It is clinically proven that exercise reduces stress. It produces the anti-stress hormones endorphins and is an excellent way to keep both your body and mind in great shape. You don’t have to go to the gym five nights per week to get the benefits; a 20-minute walk before or after work can help.
Sleep – The Sleep Foundation has highlighted the link between stress and a lack of sleep, so make sure you aim to get their recommended seven to nine hours per night, especially when working back-to-back shifts.
Relaxation techniques – It can be tempting when you get home to throw yourself into your personal life to take your mind off your stressful job. But a great way to reduce stress is to focus some time each day on relaxation techniques; this can be done either before or after work. Try breathing exercises, writing in a journal, or try one of the many available mindfulness apps.
Talk – Feelings of stress can be exacerbated by bottling them up. Talking to a family member or a friend about stressful situations at work can help to dissipate negative feelings, and helps you feel more equipped to deal with future causes of stress.
What Should Your Employer Be Doing?
Of course, every hospitality business should take steps to look after their employee’s wellbeing, for a healthier, happier workforce and also to reduce downtime and staffing issues that arise from poor mental health.
The government report Service With(out) a Smile states that 45% of hospitality employees have taken time off work due to stress, with 33% reporting that the problem was down to poor management.
Pizza Hut was one of the first employers in the U.K. to take direct action to help their employees improve their mental health. The company partnered with Mental Health U.K. in 2016 and, as well as raising money for charity, introduced their own wellness programme.
How effective is the management of mental health in your workplace? Does your employer or your line manager actively help staff to achieve positive mental health, or is it an afterthought, or even not mentioned at all?
If your current hospitality job is causing you undue stress, and you want to explore what options are available to you in your chosen field, see below for how we can help.
If you’ve been thinking about changing to a new hospitality job for some time, but have yet to take the first steps to find your perfect position - talk to our team today.
We recruit in all manner of hospitality, retail, and leisure roles across the U.K. and will work closely with you to find a position that suits.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us here or call us on 01743 770280.
About C2 Recruitment
Originally established in 2008, C2 Recruitment specialises within the Retail, Fashion, Hospitality and Leisure sectors.
Our consultants come from the industries they specialise in and are renowned for giving the very best possible recruitment service to our clients and candidates chosen fields.
The C2 team recruits on a national scale across all specialist areas of Retail, Fashion and Hospitality.
To find out how we can help you with a recruitment or career query in these fields, call us on 01743 770280 or contact us here.