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Wellbeing in the Hospitality Sector

Posted By Pam Loch, Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK

Following the Brexit vote, it is reported that some 330 000 of non-British workers are considering leaving the UK, with many having already made the move back home. While the impact of these staff shortages on the NHS has been well documented, the changing recruitment landscape is set to negatively affect a number of businesses in Britain, particularly within the hospitality industry. HR managers are having to adapt to these changing demographics, and are starting to place greater emphasis on wellbeing initiatives in order to prevent staff turnover over the coming years. 

 

The recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality sector

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK, employing approximately 4.5 million people. However, maintaining this status may not be easy, especially in the next year. In 2017 just over half of the industry’s workers (53%) were British. With the staff shortages anticipated due to Brexit, this statistic is concerning when you consider that the hospitality sector is anticipated to need to recruit 1.3 million workers by 2024. 

Both staff retention and recruitment are just some of the challenges facing the hospitality sector over the coming years, and for an industry that has historically relied upon non-British workers for its success, it is not surprising that 1 in 5 managers have reported a higher level of difficulty in recruiting staff in the last 12 months. In fact, 16% of businesses do not believe that they will fulfill staffing requirements with British workers by next year.

While the statistics paint a relatively bleak picture, there are proactive steps that HR managers and employers can take in order to retain and attract talent. HR policies and strategies that take into account a variety of wellbeing initiatives have been shown to not only have a positive impact on the health and happiness of employees, but also a correlation on the quality of service that hotels and restaurants provide to their customers.

 

Mental health in the hospitality sector

It is reported that 70% of British hospitality workers feel overworked, and 45% will take time off due to stress at some point in their career. With a persistent narrative surrounding stress and stress-related illnesses that it’s all “part of the job," it can become difficult to change the stigma surrounding mental health struggles brought on by working conditions - particularly when workers simply learn to live with issues such as:

Fatigue: There are a number of causes for fatigue, particularly in businesses where night work is often mandatory, such as hotels. It is widely known that when circadian rhythms are interrupted, sleep during the day becomes extremely difficult. 

Furthermore, even in circumstances where night work is not required, long days and physical labour are a feature of many hospitality sectors, which only increases fatigue when adequate rest isn’t given.  

Anxiety: In an industry in which pay is often hourly, the fear of financial repercussions from injuries and sick leave can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. 

Additionally, the daily expectation of potentially dealing with customers who may conduct themselves with rudeness or arrogance can also be a contributing factor to stress for a number of employees.

Depression: A recent study by the Centre for Psychological Research at the University of Derby, suggests that depression amongst hospitality workers can be influenced by a lack of motivation in the workplace, or what they refer to as ‘external motivation.' 

In other words, the motivation to work comes not from personal or ‘internal’ interest in the task, but external influences such as “I need to earn money”. This disconnect can not only impact the mental wellbeing of staff, but can also contribute to decreased productivity, absenteeism and high employee turnover. 

 

Effective communication is often the first step

Tackling the complexities of mental health undoubtedly requires effective communication between both employer and employee. However a recent study revealed that 44% of UK hospitality workers would not come to a colleague if they felt they had a mental health problem, and in the case of absenteeism, 38% of workers were afraid to tell their boss that stress and/or mental health was their reason for time taken off work. 

Perhaps more surprising is that 90% of hospitality workers believe that being prone to stress and anxiety would affect or hinder their career progression, and 40% believed it was their personal responsibility to deal with any work-related stress or mental health problems. In the most extreme cases, staff members who came forward with serious mental health complaints have, at times, been met with the insinuation that they should resign for the good of the company. 

While society, the media and organizations have done much to tackle the stigma of mental health, there are still concerns that by being open about the challenges we all face from time to time, there is still the possibility that it can seriously impact our career and long term financial security.

Creating an environment in which communication between management and staff is actively encouraged is therefore vital for a healthy workplace. Motivating staff to come forward in a secure environment where they feel comfortable to express their views, requests and grievances creates an environment in which workers feel valued, and are better equipped to perform their roles. 

 

The link between physical and mental health

Hospitality is often linked with physical work, including walking long distances, running and carrying in all sorts of conditions. Although the nature of this sort of work cannot be changed, it is important to ensure your staff are physically healthy. For example:

  • Frequent wellness checks not only provide employees with an insight into their own health,  but allows employers to take proactive steps in order to minimize the risk of absences from work through ill-health.
  • Try to ensure that staff take adequate breaks at the appropriate times, and finding cover for the remaining staff, even during peak times.
  • If you provide free meals to employees (particularly pertinent in the restaurant sector) try to provide healthy options in order to maintain high levels of performance, productivity and wellbeing.
  • Provide adequate equipment and uniform for your staff members for all weather conditions so that they are as comfortable and as safe as possible.
  • Providing out of work activities can encourage staff members to lead a healthy lifestyle, while also fostering a sense of unity and team spirit. This might include access to a gym (if available on site), team sports, regular group meditation and/or yoga sessions. 

 

Support and Respect

The psychological effects (https://click.booking.com/features/2018/06/12/prioritising-staff-welfare-hospitality/) of dealing with rude or even discriminatory customers are just some of the challenges faced by employees within the hospitality industry. We’ve all heard the axiom “the customer is always right” and in such a competitive market, it is understandable that companies are highly motivated by customer opinion, and the effect this can have on profits and brand reputation.

As a result there can be a disproportionately high value placed on customers, as opposed to the opinions of staff that are responsible for serving them. However what’s more difficult to quantify is the impact that unhappy employees can have on the overall success of a business, particularly when they feel unsupported. 

Unfortunately, 52.2% of hospitality workers have actually considered leaving their place of work due to a lack of support. The constant pressure from managers on their staff to maintain the outward appearance of happiness in the face of all kinds of customer attitudes, increases the feeling of discontent and the lack of a support structure. 

However, there are a variety of policies and procedures that if correctly implemented, can ensure that both employers and employees can benefit from an environment that fosters mutual support and respect.

One of the easiest ways to encourage support is through the standardization of procedures concerning customer complaints. By ensuring every member of staff adheres to uniformed company protocols, this can reduce any ambiguity on how a particular situation should be dealt with. This in turn can minimize staff members from feeling undermined by managers in situations that could be deemed subjective. 

Creating staff incentives and rewards can also be a great way to engage staff members, increase productivity, and ease any interpersonal tensions at work. By encouraging cooperation where employees work towards a common goal, tensions can gradually be eased through collaboration and teamwork. 

 

Wellbeing isn’t just a legal duty

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take steps in order to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. However tackling mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress, should not be simply considered as a legal duty; it can be a key factor in building trust between staff and management, reinforcing an organization’s commitment to its employees.

It’s not always easy however, and often requires advice, guidance or training from individuals qualified to deal with complex and often serious issues. In circumstances where you may not have the resources or experience to deal with mental health conditions, it may be advisable to seek external help to ensure your staff have the appropriate level of support they need.

For many, particularly young people about to enter the workplace for the first time, the fast-paced and emotionally-charged environments produced by some hospitality sectors can create a negative stigma surrounding these types of industries. As a result, a growing number of people have decided against a career in hospitality. As society becomes increasingly concerned with the effects of mental health, it seems that a greater understanding of what wellbeing in the workplace truly means may be the key to meeting the growing need for hospitality staff.


Pam LochPam Loch is a writer interested in both physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. Her interests have led her to become the Managing Director of Loch Associates Group, who are experts in Employment Law, HR Management and Health & Safety. She works with both employers and staff to ensure wellbeing in the workplace.


Tags:  Hospitality  Mental Health  wellbeing 

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Health Consciousness and Resilience Training is More Than "Check the Box"

Posted By NWI, Friday, October 5, 2018
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2018

A course in resilience and stress management will not help your staff if they return to a toxic work environment. Empowered Health Consciousness is a route to addressing resiliency work in a conscious, mindful way to stimulate growth and health in the work culture, the work climate, and the work environment. Health consciousness and resilience work together.

 

The Roles of Resilience and Empowered Health Consciousness

Resilience is operable in a window of time; it is the “bounce back” from adversity. Health consciousness is an ongoing process. It comes before resilience, is at play during resilience, and continues after the resilience. If you are not conscious of what’s happening during the stress-inducing event, you are not going to be resilient. Being present and aware during an adverse experience enables you to learn from the difficulty, promoting a resilient response. Resilience and health consciousness work together to create a culture of awareness and learning in which people respond more positively to adversity.

Resilience vs. Health Consciousness

 

Resilience is about preparing for and learning from adversity.

Most of life’s problems are not sudden and overt. They are small daily irritations, or triggers, that over time cause strain and exhaustion. Most adverse incidents that occur are proceeded by these triggers.

 

Health Consciousness enables us to be proactively empowered to recognize the triggers before they accumulate.

Health consciousness helps us to be alert to our tolerance for the problems that arise in life, as well as when we “relapse” into unhealthy behaviors that may cause adversity, or in response to adverse circumstances. Having health consciousness skills enables us to create an environment that fosters resilience, making it far more likely that we’ll be resilient when difficulties arise.

Training for both areas reinforces the skills we can acquire for each, which supports ongoing learning, consciousness and a culture of learning and growing together. 

You can empower people in their own health consciousness, so they can make healthier choices for themselves!

 

Empower health consciousness in others. Register by October 24 for the next online course. Learn More at NationalWellness.org/WellnessAlternative

 

Register Now

Tags:  Facilitator  Health Consciousness  Mental Health  Resiliency  Stress  Training 

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Why Is America’s Suicide Rate Rising?

Posted By Trevor McDonald, Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2018

According to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999. This trend is across all social classes, genders, and ages. Sociologists and mental health professionals have wondered for nearly twenty years: why is America's suicide rate rising?

The suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999.

There are many factors at play when considering this question, but experts believe that the main reasons why we’re seeing more suicides in our country is because of increased stress, a stigma surrounding mental health disorders, increased drug and alcohol addiction, and various life crises.

Increased Stress

We are living with more stress today than ever before. The Great Recession that happened 10 years ago caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes, their businesses, and their income. This caused increased stress and a marginal increase in the suicide rate at the time. But in addition, we need to look at everyday stress. We put ourselves through stressful situations both in our professional and personal relationships, which can really take a toll on our well-being.

If you feel overworked or anxious, seek help from a professional therapist, or figure out the stressors in your life and, if possible, rid yourself of them. For example, if your job has you working 60 hour weeks with work you hate, you might want to find a new job. No pay is worth your well-being and, potentially, your life. Below are also some ways to de-stress after a long day:

Stay in tune with your mind and know your limit with stress, anxiety, and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get help if needed.

 

Mental Health Disorder Stigma

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high. It’s hard to determine this information because many people are afraid to get help or they have an undiagnosed mental health disorder, which can then exacerbate suicidal thoughts.

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high.Although mental health is being more recognized in our society, there is still a stigma surrounding things like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and many others. Some people think that if they have a mental health disorder, there’s “something wrong with them” or that it can be changed. For example, someone with depression might just be seen as sad and may even be told things like “just get over it.” But instead of this view, we should approach mental illness as any other physical illness. If you break your arm, you go to the doctor. No one will say “just get over it.” We know where to get the help we need for our physical ailments. But what about our mental health? Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are professionally trained to help address these mental health concerns. By changing this stigma surrounding mental health, we may be able to slow suicide rates and share the message that it’s okay to get help when you need it, and it’s okay to put your mental health first.

 

Increased Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction and suicide have a very scary link. Many people who struggle with addiction also have a dual diagnosis of a mental health condition, and as we discussed above, people with mental health conditions may be more likely to commit suicide. The three are intertwined, and the stats prove it. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”

The National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”There are key signs to look for if you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, substance abuse, or both. Below are some red flags:

  • Distancing themselves from others or hobbies that they enjoy
  • Lack of ability to complete everyday tasks
  • Constant alcohol or drug use
  • Statements like “I don’t want to do this anymore”
  • Sudden aggressive behavior
  • Prolonged stress
  • A history of abuse

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and takes way too many lives with it. But if we understand the factors that may increase suicide rates, we can do everything possible to prevent it. We can start by removing the stigma surrounding mental illness, limiting our stress or stressful situations, and getting ourselves or our loved ones help if they are facing substance abuse.


Trevor McDonaldTrevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

Tags:  addiction  Mental Health  Stress  Suicide 

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Identifying Mental Health Issues and Taking Proper Measures for Better Productivity

Posted By Toby Dean, Thursday, September 20, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mental health as per the definition of World Health Organization is “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. (WHO, 2007).”  Mental health is vital for any workplace around the world to function properly. It is believed as a workplace asset. However, the stressful work environment has been drastically affecting the productivity of the staff all over the world. In the UK one out of four employees are looking to leave their job, and many frequently are bound to take sick days due to stress, anxiety, and depression. Mental health is causing the UK 70 billion pounds per year, so this is not something that can be taken lightly.

This infographic from Maximillions hows the official government statistics that discloses the impact the employees’ mental health has on productivity and the loss that the companies are suffering because of this. These statistics will help you gain knowledge about the importance of proactive team building is for a better workforce mental health. The infographic also provides some important recommendations for managing mental health in the workplace.


Toby Dean works on behalf of Maximillion in content creation and marketing. He creates engaging graphics and content that help businesses stand out from the crowd. Over the past 7 years has worked with dozens of SME's in both an agency and freelance capacity.

With 25 years of event management experience, Maximillion has delivered over 5000 corporate events and hosted more than a quarter of a million guests across the spectrum of Team Building, Event Management, Learning & Development and Challenge Events.


Tags:  Coping  Mental Health  Productivity  stress  workplace wellness 

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Mindfulness: As a Way to Optimize The Functioning of the Human Brain

Posted By Elisa Laconich, Friday, July 27, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Currently, advances in medicine, using technologies and scientific progresses in the treatment of diseases, have achieved an increase in the world population life expectancy. Nonetheless, mental health is still a pending task, screaming for our attention, especially considering that an altered mind is the main cause of death and incapacity; murders, suicide, car accidents, and psychiatric illness are daily news. In this scenario, practicing a lifestyle that promotes a healthy mind and that increases one's quality of life is more than justified.


In this matter, the mindfulness is the pathway of mental training, tranquility, compassion, connection with oneself and one’s surroundings. However, as everything we want to achieve, learning awareness also implies a degree of effort.  At the beginning of this training, it is not unusual to be distracted by such frustrating thoughts as  “I can't focus”, “I need to have a perfect outcomes”, “I can't stay still”, “I don't have enough time”, “I'm not doing it right”, etc... We should understand that there is no wrong way to focus; the correct way is the one that suits you. There is no correct way of living other than that which adapts the best to us, similar to “My Way” from Frank Sinatra, about a man who looks back on his life with full awareness and without judgment, and is especially proud of having lived his life enjoying every step of the way.

Therefore, despite that the awake meditation may sound difficult; for certain we have all already done it at some point. For example, if you have hung out just thinking about something, if you have prayed, if you have observed nature or someone for a few minutes, then you have awareness moments linked to the present.

In the last decades, neuroscientists have been keen to verify the effectiveness and brain changes that mindfulness can cause. This has lent greater robustness and reliability to this practice, which in turn has contributed to greater diffusion of this practice among society.

The truth is that science increasingly gathers more evidence that small changes in the mind lead to big changes in the brain and therefore into life experience. What flows through the mind sculpts the brain, especially if it is constant, lending credibility to the phrase: “The main activity of the brain is changing themselves,” Marvin L. Minsky.

The main changes in the brain result in neurophysiological modifications translated by the presence of certain brain waves and frequencies denoting synchronicity in the functioning, which means more coherence between connections and areas. According to brain scans, meditation can strengthen synaptic connections, as well as producing more cortical sulcus and gyrus, processes associated with increasing the speed of information processing, decision-making, better memory, and attention.

In addition, the effects of meditation practice are associated with morphologic changes, such as more density in the gray matter, which have a positive effect by improving cognitive, emotional, and immune responses, as well as better self-control, breathing, and heart rate. Moreover, other studies suggest that meditation increases the size of the hippocampus and frontal lobe, resulting in more positive emotions, more emotional stability, and more conscious behavior in day-to-day life. When we talk about more conscious behavior, we come to taste and therefore value manifestations from ourselves and from others, helping to free ourselves from the slavery of automatism—“stolen lives”—in which we live immersed every day.

In consequence, a quiet mind will always be more productive cognitively, and this will facilitate adaptation to change, reducing everyday stress and the impulsive reactions that tarnish our welfare.

 

“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me”

- Albert Einstein

 


Elisa Laconich is a Ph.D. in Psychology with orientation in Cognitive Neuroscience. Partner of the ONG the world peace foundation. She works in the development of the neurosciences and the application of the neuropsychology in Paraguay. She has experience in the application of the neuropsychology to improve the quality of life in people who had brain damage through neurocognitive techniques and mindfulness. She was President of the First Congress of Research in Neurosciences Paraguay in 2015 and President of the Neurosciences Association of Paraguay. Member of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.


Tags:  Meditation  Mental Health  Mindfulness  Neuroscience 

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