How to manage work/life balance when you work in hospitality
In the hospitality industry, the jobs are fast-paced, fun and full of the excitement when every day brings a new challenge. You’re surrounded by guests out on the town for a special evening or enjoying a well-deserved vacation, relaxing and enjoying your service. It also means long hours, working evenings and weekends as well as special holidays. The hospitality industry all around the world is always trying to give guests the premium experience they expect and to best their competition.
In a 24/7/365 industry, it’s likely you’re often working when your family or friends are off, and you’re home when they’re busy working or handling everyday tasks. You miss out on family time and may feel left-out on special occasions. This is a common cause of stress for people who work in this demanding environment. Shift work adds yet another dimension that can be challenging to your health and well-being.
Hotels are realizing the need to deal with a changing workforce that values their time off and wants a good balance between work and personal goals. While employees want the security of a steady job and are willing to work long hours, they also want to feel they’ve made a contribution, have a sense of accomplishment and that they belong. In an effort to address these issues, some hotels are beginning to embrace flexible schedules in an effort to increase job satisfaction, retain talent and avoid burn-out.
So what can you do relieve the stress of always being “on,” working long hours and missing out on holidays and special occasions with family and friends? First of all, it’s important to know what your values and those of your spouse/family are. Once you understand your priorities, you can more easily determine if the hospitality industry is a good fit for you, and if so, begin to communicate more effectively with management about your needs.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a better work/life balance:
- Today’s technology often makes us feel that we need to be “connected” at all times – even when we’re not working. In order to de-stress and really relax when you’re not at work, you need to set some limits on checking email and texting your colleagues. It’s important to take time for family, friends and personal time, away from work.
- Engage with your manager or supervisor one-on-one, if possible, to explore expectations. If you have the opportunity to express how you’re feeling and work together toward a schedule that better meets your needs, it will go a long way toward avoiding burnout and improving your sense of satisfaction with your job.
- During holidays and other peak times in the business, speak to your team and work out an equitable schedule. Plan well in advance to take much-needed time off so you can return to the job well-rested and restored.
- Another tip for managing the stress of long and non-standard hours as well as the fluctuating demands of the job is to learn to pace yourself. To help you cope with a long day ahead, break up your tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and work through them one at a time. You might want to employ some breathing exercises to de-stress – take a minute to breathe deeply and take a “mental time-out.”
- Ask for help when you need it. If you’re getting overwhelmed, talk to your manager or a colleague and see if you can get a little support during a particularly difficult time.
- Remember to take a break during the day to remove yourself from a particularly busy activity or event. It will give you the time to re-set and come back with a positive perspective.
- Know your limits and don’t try to keep up with others. If you know that something is beyond your abilities or is not a fit for your personality, respect yourself enough to speak up and make an adjustment.
- Set some goals for your career. If you know where you’re headed and are making strides toward fulfilling your future plans, it makes it easier to get through the long, hard days and handle the stress.