Holiday season

How Restaurants Can Tackle Employee Burnout This Holiday Season

Employee burnout is, without a doubt, one of the top business news of the year. In a recent report by benefits provider The Hartford, 61 percent of American workers reported burnout at work, of which 68 percent were women and 52 percent were men. With the continued stress of the pandemic, the Great Resignation and now the holiday season underway, restaurateurs should make reducing burnout a business priority.

With symptoms that can be the same as other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, burnout is often more than an individual problem. It is an organizational problem that affects every part of your business. From lost productivity and employee turnover to an estimated $ 125-190 billion per year in health care costs, burnout can wreak havoc on your bottom line.

However, the other side of the story is very different. Compared to exhausted and disengaged employees, happy employees are 20% more productive and can increase sales by 37%.

How to fight against burnout

No matter how much your employees enjoy their jobs, they will have a hard time once they start experiencing burnout. This is especially true in our pandemic-weary world where, in a recent Limeade poll, more than half (52%) of those in the restaurant / hospitality industry indicated that burnout was their main motivation for quitting. their previous job. Equally concerning is a Joblist survey which showed that 58% of restaurant and hotel workers plan to quit their jobs by the end of 2021.

Fortunately, there are steps quick-service restaurateurs can take to combat burnout, help those in difficulty, and retain employees, such as:

  • Talking and listening to employees can seem like soft skills that are just nice to have in a manager. But according to Gallup research, employees who have a manager who is always ready to listen to their work-related issues are 62% less likely to feel exhausted.
  • Challenging customer behaviors are at an all time high, and your frontline employees may not have the knowledge or skills to deal with it. Equip these mission-critical employees with conflict resolution techniques that can calm spirits and restore order.
  • Try to address all of your employees’ work concerns, especially when it comes to vacation planning. Check one-on-one with employees if you think they might be struggling during this busy time of year.
  • Since employee burnout is directly related to mental health, it is imperative that you provide your employees with resources and education on how to deal with personal and professional issues and how to deal with stress. Managers need to be trained on what to look for in employees who might need help or encouragement.

Avoid just-in-time programming

Writing up work schedules in the fast-paced service industry has almost always been an ordeal for managers, which is one reason many workers learn what their hours will be a few days before a new start starts. Work timetable. It has been proven, however, that the unpredictability brought about by “just-in-time scheduling” can have a long-term negative impact on hourly workers, ranging from destabilized income to the ability to organize child care. , go to school or take a second job. Having little control over the management of work schedules versus living schedules can be a major contributor to employee burnout.

This problem has caught the attention of lawmakers across the country and is leading a growing number of cities and states to impose what is known as predictive planning. As the term implies, predictive planning (also known as fair work week ordinances) requires companies to give hourly employees their schedules with a reasonable amount of time, usually two weeks, and employers are penalized. for last minute schedule changes.

To date, several cities, including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago and one state, Oregon, have implemented predictive scheduling laws. To get ahead of the legislation, forward-thinking operators, who also want to minimize the risk of employee burnout, are adopting a similar staffing system known as flexible self-scheduling.

Leverage the power of flexible auto-programming

Using practice, managers first create shifts, preferably using workforce management software, based on customer traffic and other factors relevant to the business. Employees receive an alert when new teams are available and can log into an app to select the hours they want. They can also use the app to communicate with each other and switch shifts as they wish. (Managers can assign shifts that still need to be filled later, after employees have selected what they want, and some self-planning platforms also allow managers to set limits on employees so that they can ‘they do not accumulate overtime.)

An important advantage of self-flexing for the employer is that when employees choose their own schedules, they are more likely to show up. No-shows happen for many reasons, including scheduling conflicts, the desire to avoid working with specific people, and illness. Self-planning allows employees to swap and switch shifts to prevent these barriers from being addressed.

Self-flexing can go a long way in helping employees avoid burnout, as it allows them to choose shifts that fit their lives based on their personal schedules, hours they can physically handle, qualifications or other considerations. Additionally, research shows that the association between flexible working hours and employee happiness is actually stronger among hourly workers than among salaried workers.

The benefits of flexible self-scheduling for employers and employees are real and have been experienced, not only in day-to-day operation, but also during times of stress, like vacations, during a pandemic.

We can’t completely eliminate employee burnout in the Quick Service industry, but there are steps you can take to alleviate it. The key is to continually stay on top of these issues and work to prevent and manage them effectively, so that ultimately it doesn’t burn your employees or your business.

Martin hartshorne is CEO of When I work, a market leader in workforce scheduling, providing a fully integrated team planning, time tracking and messaging solution to more than 200,000 workplaces.

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