April is Stress Awareness Month, and after a number of publications last year reported that 57% of hospitality employees regularly experience high levels of stress, we want to ask if hospitality really is the most stressful industry in the UK?
The most stressful industry in the UK?
In July last year, a report from addiction and rehab specialist Delamere, on the toxicity of the hustle culture, gave a breakdown on stress in various industries. This report was picked up in a number of other articles at the time, and presented hospitality as the most stressful industry in the UK. According to the report, 57.1% of “Accommodation and Food Service” workers reported poor mental health, more than Health and Social Care and Manufacturing which rounded out the top three places. The data to back this up were attributed to Lifeworks’ monthly Mental Health Index. These figures tend to vary by month and while Hospitality is no longer considered the worst offender in terms of workplace stress, it still rates consistently low in areas such as Average Hours Worked and Work-Life Balance.
The impact of stress on retention rates
Long Hours and Work-Life Balance, contribute highly towards levels of stress, which can eventually lead to burnout, especially if the level of commitment to the business and its culture begins to wane. Inevitable this can lead to reduced productivity and employee retention levels.
Last year, we published The Battle for Retention which looked at a number of other factors that can affect employee turnover.
Advice on how to tackle stress in the workplace consistently revolves around how to spot it in yourself, and in your employees. As individuals, we all have a responsibility to ourselves to recognise when we are working too hard or neglecting our personal commitments. Hospitality Action is a charity that supports hospitality employees both inside and outside of the workplace. In their Advice Hub, they share expert advice and information on how to get further support on a range of issues, including Stress.
Signs of stress can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling irritated with family, friends or co-workers
- Drinking more than usual
- Struggling with work deadlines
- Feeling isolated and lonely
- Physical symptoms such as: panic attacks, headaches, chest pains, indigestion, dizziness, nausea, sweating, breathing problems
Mental health charity Mind recommends some ways to manage it including:
- Identify your triggers – Try to prepare for stress by recognising what sets it off
- Organise your time – Make a list of your tasks and approach them in order of urgency
- Be clear about your limits – While it isn’t always possible to say no to things, let people know if you don’t have the capacity to fulfil their demands
- Try to take a short break – it may seem counter-intuitive to take a break when you are stressed but if you can allow yourself one, this can help how you feel
- Develop interests and hobbies – Outside of work, try to make time for what you enjoy to take you away from stress
- Get enough sleep
- Stay physically active
- Eat a balanced diet
- Spend time in nature
- Build a support network – having friends and family, or finding support at work to talk through why you feel stressed can make a big difference
Employers also have a duty to instill a workplace culture that can help spot the signs of stress and empower them to engage with employees on a more personal level, especially if they are seeing symptoms of stress in the team or in individuals. According to the Health and Safety Executive, signs of stress in a team can include:
- Increase in arguments amongst staff
- Higher staff turnover
- More reports of stress
- More sickness absence
- Decreased performance
- More complaints and grievances
In individuals, leaders may notice a change in the way people act or feel, such as:
- Taking more time off
- Arriving for work later
- Being more twitchy or nervous
- Mood swings
- Being withdrawn
- A loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
- Increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive
In addition to the free support for hospitality employees, Hospitality Action also offers a number of support packages including Stress and Resilience Training, designed to bolster the resilience and wellbeing of your employees.
If you would like support with your people strategy in 2023, Hospitality People Group are here for you. With a superb track record in finding the right people for the right role, we have long standing relationships with clients and candidates and we can help guide you through challenging and sometimes stressful times.
If you would like to chat about your people strategy, please contact us on +44 20 8600 1166.