Reduce stress levels in hospitality

6 mins read
Reduce stress in hospitality

The summer is coming and with it, the high season for hospitality starts driving hospitality workers crazy. Hotels, holiday parks, restaurants, and bars are at their brightest moments. However, that is not always good for everyone. Hospitality employees must now work harder and longer and, sometimes, that can cause high levels of stress, and even anxiety or depression. In this article, I have collected multiple tips that will show you how to reduce stress levels in hospitality.

Gen Z and Millennial employees are demanding a healthier workspace. If they don´t feel their work is supporting their mental health, they will likely leave to find a better job. Therefore, it is very important to listen to your employees’ demands if you don´t want to see yourself with 0 staff in the middle of a high season. However, because it is an immediate service, the hierarchy is pretty obvious, and the there are constant complaints from customers, hospitality is one of the most stressful industries and one of the hardest to cope with. But don’t worry! There are some tricks that can make a difference!

Prioritize work-life balance and flexible work

According to a medical study by the Medical Sociology at the University of Manchester, flexibility at work and a good work-life balance are proven to reduce stress levels in employees. It is important for everyone to have a life outside the workplace. And this also goes for hospitality workers.

Stress levels can be very high in hospitality. The shifts are very long and intense in high seasons, and often employees must work 5-6 days a week. Give your hospitality employees the opportunity to approach you to ask for a day off. And, whenever it is possible, accommodate the schedule for them so they can they that family event, or give them a sick leave for mental health when that´s needed.

Encourage small talk during shifts

When I worked in hospitality, I used to have that manager that was aways complaining about employees ´having fun´ at work. But, he was making a big mistake. Trello blogger Lauren Moon (2017) has collected several scientific studies that proof that small talk at work can reduce stress levels considerably. This is not very surprising when employees need to work 8 hours without a break. In the middle of such a long shift, having a laugh with their colleagues can help them improve their mood and also their performance. Of course, make sure that this is just small talk and not a long conversation that can distract other employees.

Allow your employees to make a joke or have some small talk during shifts. This will make the shift a lot easier for them and will also improve the quality of work.

To encourage this small talk, it is important to bring the employees together and give them something to talk about. You can do this by organizing after-shift drinks, by creating a space where they can all have lunch together, or by organizing other team-building events outside working hours.

Boost their creativity

In other industries, employees often have some freedom to create and innovate. Employees in big coorporations often can enjoy brainstorming sessions, where they can give their opinion and ideas. However, this is not so common when it comes to hospitality. Chefs, and bartenders usually must follow the stablished recipes and they don´t have much room to create their own. Moreover, they often need to follow very strict rules and procedures. This can be a bit furstrating and several hospitality workers report to feel ´just like a number´. Hence, it is specially important to give hospitality employees some freedom to create and, mostly, to feel like they matter.

´´Creativity reduces the levels of cortisol, a hormone that our body releases when it is exposed to stress.´´

American Art Therapy Association

Encourage your hospitality employees to share their recipes ideas, or to give their opinion about the work procedures and management style. For example, you could organize brainstorming Mondays, when you have an informal gathering with all employees to discuss their ideas. Also, notice the needs of your employees. Ask them how they feel about the work and about your management style. Make them feel like they matter, because they do.

Don´t punish their mistakes, reward their achievements

Everyone who has work in hospitality knows how bad it can be for an employee to just break a single glass. Hospitality environments can be very stressful for everyone. But, as a manager, you need to care for the employees wellbeing. Making a big drama out of a small mistake will only lead people to keep making mistakes, due to the stress of being blamed in front of others. Instead, let your employees know that it is human to make mistakes.

The clinical psychologist and leadership consultant Natalia Peart (2019) has gathered clinical data that shows that when employees feel their workplace as a threat, they are exposed to the highest level of stress. So, make the best of you to show them their workplace is a safeplace and they are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. When they break a glass or drop some food on the floor by mistake, don´t take it serious. Let them know they need to be careful next time, but do it in a friendly, supportive way, and you will see the difference!

Publicly recognizing the hard work and contributions of team members decreases feelings of stress and increases feelings of connection and belonging.

Natalia Peart (2019)

Instead of punishing their mistakes in front of others, recognize their collective and individual achievements. When you hear a guest talking well about a waiter, go and congratulate him in front of his colleagues. If the entire team does a good job, why don´t you organize a nice dinner to thank them for their work?

Follow this tips and you will see how the performance and overall mood of everyone will increase! Do you need help in finding and managing employees? Contact us now!


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