Tourettes Syndrome In Hospitality

21st June, 2022 in Industry

Last week marked the closing of Tourettes Awareness Month.

Throughout that month we have been growing our knowledge of Tourettes Syndrome (TS) and researching ways we can help hospitality staff members with TS.

Fellow colleagues, team leaders, managers, business owners, supervisors, this is for you.

What Is TS?

  • Tourettes Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements, these are called 'tics'.

  • Over 300,000 people are living with TS in the UK.

  • People with TS often have other conditions like ADHD, OCD and Anxiety.

What Are Tics?

Tics are involuntary sounds and movements.

  • The regularity of tics fluctuate and may increase during periods of stress, anxiety and tiredness.

  • Eye rolling, whistling, head jerking, and uttering words or phrases out of context, are a few examples of tics.

  • Although it is true that involuntary swearing (Coprolalia) is a symptom of TS, it only affects a minority of people. 90% of people with TS do not swear in public.
"People need to know that Tourettes Syndrome is involuntary. We don't need pity but some will always need help, support and understanding." - anonymous from tourettes-action.org.uk

TS In Hospitality

Because many people with TS have amazing streaks of creativity, they are highly admirable employees and work in a variety of different sectors - hospitality being one of them.

The fact that the regularity of tics increase during periods of stress, anxiety and tiredness, working in hospitality can sometimes be hard work for employees with TS.

Here's some things you can do to help your staff or colleague feel supported, seen and more comfortable at work.

Supporting Colleagues and Employees With TS

  • Ask What Their Needs Are

The support each person needs will vary depending on their symptoms and their job position. This is why it's important to ask your colleague or staff member what their needs are. Every need is valid and important so make sure they are prioritised.

  • Be Mindful Of Other Challenges

Because those with TS often have other conditions like ADHD. OCD and Anxiety, ask if this is the case and whether you can do anything more to support them. If you are a team leader, reassure them that they can come to you with any concerns throughout their employment and check in with them regularly.

  • Responding To Tics

The best advice when reacting to a tic is to completely ignore it- this doesn't mean ignore the person. At the same time, every person has a different preference to how they like people to react, so directly asking this isn't a bad idea.

Supporting Employees With TS - for leaders

  • Reduce Stress At Work

Hospitality can be an extremely high stress environment and can trigger anxiety - the following is important for all of your staff members, including yourself.

Work on stream-lining your systems of service e.g. by allocating different sections of the bar/restaurant to different team members, prepping better for busy periods, or setting aside time at the beginning of a shift to prep your team on bookings.

A big way of reducing stress and anxiety is simply by employing more staff. Show that you are a business that prioritises your staff's well-being and you won't struggle to find new skilled employees.

  • Be Mindful With Your Rota

Because tics can fluctuate due to tiredness, it is important to be mindful of your team member's sleep - this goes for yourself and all of your other employees too, by the way!

Ensure that your rota is mindful of sleep and that you're not scheduling the same person who did the night shift to do the morning shift the following day. Scheduling consecutive days off for staff allows for more productive rest.

  • Train Neurotypical Employees

Train neurotypical employees in sensitivity awareness to better understand their neurodivergent co-workers - this includes those on the autistic spectrum, with ADHD, and dyspraxia. On top of this, have a 0% tolerance to bullying and enforce it.

VOCABULARY CHECK

Tourettes Syndrome - Tourettes Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.

Tic - Tics are involuntary sounds and movements. They must be present for at least 12 months to meet the diagnostic criteria.

Neurodivergent - A person who has a neurotype different to that of the majority of society. Includes autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, TS etc.

Information in this article has been informed and cited from www.tourettes-action.org.uk.

Special thanks to Tourettes Action.