By Michelle Estevez
The hospitality industry was badly hit by Covid-19, but there are signs that it’s slowly starting to build back up. The Global Business Travel Association points to business travel as a promising trend next year, which means that those in the hospitality industry should start working to meet this demand right now.
However, meeting this demand won’t be as successful if hospitality staff don’t receive the care they need. It’s safe to say that the current pandemic has exacerbated the mental and physical health problems of people across the globe, but the truth is that work still goes on despite the pandemic.
Here is a six-step self-care plan to help hospitality staff begin ramping up operations while still maintaining their health.
1. Host weekly mindful check-ins
Management plays a key role in cementing self-care as part of your company’s operations. Any good hospitality manager should already be leading regular check-ins for staff members to realign with one another. Rather than simply using these meetings to touch base on tasks, this time can also be used to allow staff members to air out their struggles or else talk about some wins they’ve had that can help give everyone else a much-needed motivational boost.
Alternatively, you can also opt to have separate mindfulness meetings, and you can also opt to have these held for each team so that people are more comfortable sharing their thoughts. The important thing is to make sure that these spaces are open forums for your staff members,
2. Make staff meals a priority
Hotel chains like Hyatt are already offering free meals to staff members, but you can take this one step further by making staff meals a priority. Eating meals is a great way for people to get together, and can be the perfect opportunity for people across different departments to get to know one another.
You don’t even have to do anything special during these meals; even the simple act of having a set time when everyone can unwind is more than enough. Having this regular routine can become something that your staff members look forward to even on their busiest days.
3. Encourage staff to be open about their boundaries
The hospitality industry is certainly hectic, but managers who take self-care and mental health seriously would do well to encourage a culture of openness within their team. Case in point, labour and employment attorney Andria Ryan highlights that managing religious accommodations (i.e. when employees ask for days off due to religious reasons) can become an extremely thorny issue when not handled properly.
Encouraging staff to be open about setting certain limitations and boundaries around work will only be successful if the managers themselves are open to these conversations. The trick is to always keep an employee-centric approach in mind, and constantly remind yourself of the fact that at the end of the day, it’s your employees who end up contributing to your company’s success.
4. Include physical stretch breaks throughout the day
Working in the hospitality industry takes a huge toll on one’s body, which can then lead to serious health problems in the long run. Travel and lifestyle writer James Gonzales recommends yoga as a way to both calm the mind and strengthen the body. Yoga can also promote better sleep, which can help hospitality staff manage hectic work schedules.
Since it can be difficult to host a team-wide yoga session, simply making this information available through posters or having a quick stretching break during your check-ins (see point above) can equip your staff with the knowledge they need. The great thing about stretches is that they can be done either sitting down or standing up, so no yoga mats are required.
5. Spend some time outdoors
Time moves quickly in the hospitality industry, especially on busy days. However, this also means that you can go for entire shifts just cooped up indoors without realizing it. This can in turn be detrimental to both your physical and mental health; even the Canadian government maintains that exposure to sunshine allows you to get your necessary vitamin D intake while also boosting your mood!
Indeed, even just five minutes of sun exposure is better than nothing. If your staff members are preparing for a busy shift, encourage them to spend a bit of time outdoors before clocking in to ensure that they’re starting work on the right note.
6. Get moving on your days off
Last but not least, encourage your staff members to get moving on their days off. This encouragement can take the form of gym memberships or discounts to fitness studios in the area, or even schedule a day off for a fun sweat session with your team. It’s important to remember that all movement can be good, so that includes just a quick stroll around the neighbourhood.
Our previous post on the Marriott’s hotel openings for 2021 proves that those in the hospitality industry are going to have a busy year ahead. Taking employee health seriously will ensure that next year starts off on the right foot.
Michelle Estevez is a management consultant with a focus on the hospitality industry. Her focus lies in helping hospitality managers look after their employees to ensure long-term and sustainable business success. Outside of her work, she enjoys trying her hand at cooking new recipes and brushing up on her French. Michelle has just moved to Ontario with her partner, three kids, and four cats. Her 2021 resolution is to be able to do inversions in her yoga practice.