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Tips on how to avoid burnout at work

A pandemic, job insecurity and a chronic staffing crisis has left many hospitality workers at risk of burnout

A term first coined in the United States, ‘the great resignation’ saw hospitality workers quitting in record numbers. While data is yet to be collected in Australia, it is believed that a number of pre-COVID hospitality workers have left the industry for good, likely exasperated by job insecurity.

Edith Cowan University Associate, Professor Ben Farr-Wharton specialises in employee wellbeing and compassion and believes that the current climate leaves hospitality workers at risk of burnout

Dr Farr-Wharton said Australian hospitality workers faced tough conditions, with pay rates remaining low, and the diminished workforce leading to an increased workload for staff.

He also said that increased costs were an added stress, with managers struggling to budget staffing needs with the cost of goods.

“Hospitality firms of all sizes are really struggling; not only is it really hard to find staff who can work, but costs are also increasing,” Dr Farr-Wharton said.

“Hospitality firms are confronted with the decision – do I increase the price of my products (perhaps significantly) to pay my staff more and to continue to afford my wholesale goods?

“Or, to I try and run lean, ensuring that customer demand is not affected?”

To help hospitality workers in these challenging times, AccomNews has put together a list of tips to help prevent burnout.

  • Recognise the signs

The best way to prevent burnout is to recognise the early warning signs:

Are you feeling irritable?

Have your sleeping or eating habits changed?

Are you lacking motivation?

Are you struggling with feelings of anger, despair or depression?

If you recognise any of the above symptoms, it’s crucial that you take steps to prevent burnout. Talk to your manager at work, and see what help is available to you. Many hospitality businesses have EAP Benestar available to staff, a confidential counseling service that can help you through any personal or professional issues.

  • Rethink your rostering

Working hours in the hospitality industry can be tough. To help create a happier work environment for all, ensure rostering is a collaboration between staff and management. It’s also important to ensure that workers are taking all rostered breaks, and avoiding overtime unless absolutely necessary.

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

To help maintain overall wellness and prevent burnout, it is important to prioritise exercise and nutrition. Make sure to eat nutritious food throughout the day and drink an ample amount of water. Heading to the gym for a workout is also a great way to blow off steam if you’ve had a tough day!

  • Prioritise sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge for hospitality workers, who often work late or have an early start. If you work until late, try investing in a blackout blind or an eye mask to help you get a full eight hours.

Despite the current challenges facing the hospitality industry, Dr Farr-Wharton believes that hope is on the horizon.

“The  Federal Government is working hard to speed up the processing of temporary and permanent visa applicants,” he said.

“Pre-COVID, So much of the hospitality economy has relied upon temporary visa holders.

“Whether our firms can hold on amidst rising costs, and diminished supply of labour, until relief comes in the form of access to temporary visa holders, is the perennial question.”

And for those of us working in other industries, Dr Farr-Wharton said there are ways we can support our local hospitality workers.

“Spare a thought for your local barista, bartender, or tour guide the next time you use their service and be generous,” he said.

“When I can, I also intentionally invite friends to meet at local establishments for catch-ups, just to boost business (albeit in a very micro way).”

Sarah Davison

Sarah is a multi-platform journalist with experience across print, digital, and radio.

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