The festive period is one of the busiest times for the hospitality and catering sector. Here, Mike Hardman, Marketing Manager at catering equipment suppliers Alliance Online, gives his top tips to help you support your workers over the busy Christmas season.
The festive season is finally here! But, while it’s a time of joy and celebration for many, for those of you in the hospitality industry, the period is full of long working hours and hordes of crowds to serve. In fact, it’s estimated that hospitality staff will work around 28 hours overtime during the festive season, the majority of those workers running on only five or six hours sleep (Big Hospitality). And all this extra work and lack of sleep can take a serious toll on the health and happiness of staff. Luckily, I’ll be giving you my top tips to help you support your staff and keep them happy and healthy during this busy time.
Encourage a work-life balance
Even over the busy Christmas period, staff need to ensure they’re maintaining a healthy work-life balance in order to stay happy. Although they might be rushed off their feet while they’re in work, they’ll need some time to relax with their family and friends over the holidays. So, try to design your Christmas rota to give each of them enough days off over the festive season. Make sure you give them notice about their shifts in advance so they have enough time to plan their Christmas get-togethers around their working hours. And don’t forget, as an employer it is your duty to ensure your staff are maintaining this work-life balance, so try to avoid getting in touch to ask about extra shifts unless it’s an emergency.
Even during their shift, make sure they’re taking a lunch break and regular breaks throughout the day. Employees aged over 18 who are working longer than six hours a day should be given at least a 20 minute rest break and 11 hours rest between each shift (Citizens Advice). They’ll feel a lot happier and more refreshed, which in turn can mean they’re able to work to the best of their ability.
Put together a support system
Even when everything is running smoothly, the busy festive season can be stressful. So, make sure you put together a wellbeing support system to aid staff if they start to feel overwhelmed. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just make sure employees know they can come to you to open up and encourage them to do so. If you emphasise the importance of wellbeing at work, your workers will be more likely to accept support and they’ll feel happier and more prepared to carry out their tasks if they know they can come to you should anything go wrong. It can also help to train management staff to spot signs of stress, like agitation, withdrawal and a lack of focus.
Take on extra temporary staff
With longer hours and extra customers, it can often be a good option to take on seasonal staff to help make things easier. Having even just a few extra staff members can be helpful when it comes to organising your Christmas rota and finding someone to cover a shift, they can take some of the pressure off your permanent employees. Just make sure you hire and train these new members of staff in advance so they can hit the ground running once things start to get busy.
Offer festive perks
Although you’ll want to focus on the experience of your customers, don’t forget it’s still Christmas. Try to offer your staff some extra little perks to keep spirits high over the festive season. For example, you could give each of them a small gift, put up Christmas decorations or organise a party for once the busy period is over. Just having something to look forward to can keep your staff motivated and morale high, so everyone will work hard and stay happy.
By following the tips in this guide, you can support your workers over the festive period. Just remember to give them a break from all those repetitive Christmas songs now and then, too!