8 out of 10 hospitality professionals wouldn't discuss work-related stress or mental illness with their managers or peers

The  Staff Canteen

The UK's 3rd largest private sector employer, which contributes £130bn to the economy every year, remains a sector plagued with issues of high stress and mental health problems. 

The Burnt Chef Project is trying to change this. Making the most of the industry being at a standstill as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, founder Kris Hall surveyed more than 1200 professionals about "the key causes of stress, anxiety and frustration" inherent to the trade which may lead to mental illness. 

Additionally, the report seeks to give employers some of the necessary tools to prevent and cope with mental health issues within their teams, to break the stigma and foster constructive discussions for a more positive future within the industry.

An opening statement reads: "The term 'Badge of Honour' is often used and refers to an individual who will suffer in silence at personal cost over letting the team down or to save being singled out. We want to change that on its head and redefine the term."

The top 6 reasons for which respondents reported feeling stress or mental health issues were as follows: no time for work life balance (64%), pressure inherent to the role, (63%), wages not matching the job role (48%), unpredictable work hours - and, as a result, unpredictable income (45%), over 50 hour working weeks (45%) and little to no emotional support available to help them address any problems (40%).

The biggest effects of a role in hospitality were found to be a poor diet, little time for relationships, increased stress, fatigue, anxiety, disrupted sleep, and, majoritarily in the case of front of house, reliance on alcohol.

And while an increasing number of hospitality professionals see their employers making active efforts to improve their working conditions, many would like to see an increase in general mental health awareness and mental health first aid training in their workplace. 

Finally, the survey looked at what hospitality professionals do to nurture their own mental health - as we know, an important factor of stress and mental illness management regardless of employers' contributions. Among the most frequent were regular communication with friends and family, exercise, adopting a healthy diet, learning new skills and practicing mindfulness and/or meditation. 

Based on the results of the survey, a number of practical solutions are provided to tackle stress and mental illness at work - including upskilling staff to ensure even workload, offering flexible working hours to those with families and young children, Regular breaks away from the working environment to reduce fatigue and stress.

Ultimately, however, it stresses more in depth training, both for employees and employers is the only way to see the positive changes we are already witnessing in the industry improving still. 

"We feel we are only just beginning and will continue to develop new initiatives for the industry in order to stamp out mental health stigma for good."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th May 2020

8 out of 10 hospitality professionals wouldn't discuss work-related stress or mental illness with their managers or peers