Is hospitality one of the most stressful industries to work in?

The Staff Canteen

Stress in the hospitality industry: How is this affecting you?

For those working in hospitality, work is by far the most common cause of stress (64%). Yet over half (64%) of workplaces do not offer anything to help alleviate this, according to a study of 3,000 UK workers.

andrew clarke
Andrew Clarke

The hospitality industry can be a fast-paced, stressful industry which often includes working very long days.

What percentage of hospitality workers suffer from workplace stress?

New research by Perkbox has shown that 64% of hospitality workers suffer from workplace stress and it is the fifth most stressful industry to work in (with finance being the most stressful)

The report also reveals that hospitality is the industry least likely to offer measures to help staff deal with their workplace stress levels, with 64% saying that hospitality businesses are not doing anything to help workers with stress which is 42% above the UK average.

The impact on mental health

Not only does this cause significant ramifications for the workers themselves, with one in three reporting that they are losing sleep and 39% of hospitality workers surveyed said that they suffer from anxiety. Depression is another common condition within the industry: 51% said they suffered from depression due to overwork. Last month chef Andrew Clarke launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of mental health in the hospitality industry. His campaign is called Pilot Light and he has been vocal about his battle with depression and the impact that this has had on him. 

“The first step to getting help is recognising you need help,” he said. “But people don’t say anything they just keep it in. I want to get as many people as I can to tell their story, with a short simple post like mine on Instagram.

“I’m starting with hospitality because I know people in the trade but I don’t want it to be limited to it. I don’t want to portray the industry in a negative way, I want it to show us as an industry with a lot of strength.”

quote stress

Losing sleep

Not only can stress cause significant issues with overall wellbeing, it can also affect workers physical condition as well.  Workers who have constantly changing shifts or who work irregular or long work hours can suffer from disrupted sleep patterns which may eventually lead to chronic fatigue issues. This, in turn, can impair people’s judgement and can reduce their ability to function normally in daily life, both in and outside of work.

A survey by Unite conducted a survey of professional chefs in London and its findings showed that almost half of those surveyed regularly worked between 48 and 60 hours a week. Seventy-eight percent reported that they’d had an accident or a near miss through the effects of fatigue.

Finding ways to cope

With one in five hospitality workers (21%) of hospitality admitting that they are looking for a new job in a bid to alleviate stress, there is clearly more than needs to be done to combat workplace stress in the kitchen and beyond. 18% of workers surveyed reported that they ‘don’t do anything at all ‘to help de-stress.

Some hospitality workers are using alcohol and other substances to allow them to ‘wind down’, often indulging at higher levels than is recommended. 

bottles of alcohol
Alcohol abuse

The Unite survey reports that more than a quarter of chefs surveyed were drinking alcohol to get through their shift, a figure which doubled to 56% when it came to taking painkillers.

The wider ramifications

However, workplace stress also has a direct impact on the restaurants and companies that they are working for. The survey also shows that one in four workers in the hospitality sector (27%) have said that they struggle to be as productive at work when stressed, and 30% said that they find it difficult to concentrate as a result.  Almost one in ten workers (9%) saying that they would consider calling in sick due to suffering from workplace stress.

Workplace stress can have “hugely damaging effects on morale, productivity and sickness absence – all of which ultimately contribute to a company’s overall success,” says Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox.

He continues “It is important for bosses to recognise the contribution that work makes to employee stress levels.”

By Emma Harrison

What do you think - Have you personally experienced stress in the workplace? What do you think should be done about it?

Join the debate on our Facebook page or let us know in the comments.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th April 2018

Is hospitality one of the most stressful industries to work in?