Hope For Hospo | How & Why We Are Prioritising Staff Health

17th September, 2021 in Personal Stories

2020 was the toughest year for hospitality that any of us have experienced. What makes us most proud about our industry is our community. That’s why, for National Hospitality Day, we want to celebrate those who are paving the way towards a (well-deserved) healthy hospitality revolution!

Because we’re so used to serving others in hospitality, it’s easy to fall into the habit of prioritising other people over ourselves. In fact, Healthy Hospo was built off the back of this very problem. The fast-paced lifestyle of hospitality work often leads to a neglect of basic aspects of self-care e.g. not eating properly, drinking too much alcohol, inconsistent sleep schedule, too physically exhausted for exercise - the list could go on! The additional challenges caused by lockdowns, restrictions, endless government u-turns and Brexit has only added fuel to the fire.

Brands, companies, groups, and individuals came together, thought creatively, and delivered enormous support for bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops across the country. The sheer power of community and the strength of working together gives us such an immense feeling of #HopeForHospo.

We know that things can (and will) get better. In fact they already have, we just don’t hear enough about it. So that’s why we’ve launched our Hope For Hospo campaign so we can amplify the voices of those on the front line, showcase the steps they are taking and prioritise health and wellbeing in our industry.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your healthy hospitality journey, or you’ve already started to make some positive changes, here are our top 5 tips from some wonderful hospitality businesses!

1 - Remind your staff that they are only human

In a world of perfectionism it's easy to get carried away and be hard on ourselves.

Dan Jeffs, who runs The Chequers Inn in Fladbury, tells us how important it is to ensure that staff feel valued.

“I would express to all business owners to encourage their employees to humanise the work environment. By all meanskeep a standard but ALWAYS remember, you’re only human.”

Often hospitality staff are expected to go above and beyond. To meet whatever requirement a customer requests, to do as we’re told, that the customer is always right. Reminding your staff that they are only human dismantles the negative consequences of these out-dated and unrealistic hospitality values.

2 - Strengthen your working community

Such a big part of getting through any problem is ensuring that you have a healthy support network around you. We are of course always, stronger together.

Dan tells us how he has a “family meal” or a coffee morning once a month to prioritise his team’s wellbeing.

Try scheduling in something fun so that you can boost morale and strengthen your teams working relationships, this also shows that you value their time outside of work, as well as inside, and means that your team are more likely to support one another.

3 - Schedule regular mental health check-ins

Since lockdown Anthony Hart (head chef at Baxterstorey and an ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project) became a mental health and wellbeing ambassador.

Employing someone to take on a role specifically to provide and facilitate support means staff know their place of work is a safe space to talk about how they’re feeling.

Anthony participates in monthly talks and weekly sessions so he can regularly check-in with his colleagues. It’s important that they know mental health is an ongoing conversation.

We agree with him that if you “look after your team, they will look after your business”.

4 - Openly talk to your staff

Being a good leader means being able to communicate with your team effectively. Want to know how to support your staff but not sure where to start? Ask them!

Marc Davies (charity chef and an ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project) tells us about the power in having open conversations with your team.

“Step back. Identify things that can be improved. Openly talk to staff, as a friend as well as a leader. More often than not the answers are there but just not being vocalised. Check in regularly.”

Asking your team for their input also helps them feel like a valued asset to your business - which can only be a good thing!

Deborah Moore (owner of The Wagon & Horses, Langtoft) tells us what she does to make her business a safer space since Covid.

“We always had an open-door policy for staff to talk to us about anything, since Covid we have made a point of more regularly asking how the staff are to open up conversation…As an employer having empathy towards staff will help reduce sick days, burn-out and encourages a happier working environment.”

Thank you Dan, Anthony, Marc and Deborah for your words of wisdom, we salute you!

Happy Hospitality Day to our hospo family!