As the reopening countdown begins, we’re seeing creative re-invention and ways to work within the social distancing regulations. We are bringing back employees from furlough, re-engaging with marketing and social media with renewed commitment and we are addressing business sustainability. All the practical and financial requirements to re-start our industry.
But the biggest factor by far (as the regulations relax) is re-gaining customer confidence. Very few people are coming out of lockdown, the same as they were when they went in. Instead of having FOMO, we now have FOGO – fear of going out.
Whilst some people are scrambling to make their first restaurant booking, months of being indoors and outside of social environments have meant that some people will be finding the thought of re-emerging in to a world of masks and gloves a scary prospect.
Last week, Nuffield Health reported that around 80% of British people working from home now feel lockdown has had a negative effect on their mental health with a quarter struggling with the emotional challenges of isolation.
As an industry, we will have guests and team members who are Covid-19 sceptics and those who are more anxious. Here are our 5 top tips for addressing anxiety in your teams:
1) Encourage Mindfulness – the lovely Meryl Kammerling at Me, Myself in Mind has all of the tools and training you need to make your teams more aware of how we can calm the stress responses.
2) Cut out unhealthy habits – we are notorious for providing carb-led staff meals and beers at the end of a late shift. Help your team stay full and focussed, not hangry, by providing protein and lots of green veg at break times.
3) Create a support network – ensure your team know there are people in the organisation that they can turn to for help or just talk to when they need to. Think about having a Mental First Aid team in your organisation that can spot signs of stress and mental ill health. Tobie-Anna Clare at Kelly’s Cause Foundation offer insightful mental first aid training.
4) Ensure that the safety and operational systems you put in place are solid – running out of cleaning supplies or consumables during a busy service might cause added stress to individuals who are already working in tights teams. There won’t be spare bodies to deal with things like that. It’s all about MISE-EN-PLACE.
5) Alternatives to public transport – the idea of taking public transport will probably be an added trigger. Sign up to a Bike-to-Work scheme. Take an active interest in where your teams live and see if groups might consider walking together. Where possible roster staff to minimise rush hour commuting.
As part of the Recovery Collective, we are hosting a free webinar workshop on dealing with some of the issues related to anxiety and re-opening. Lewis Burton at Electric Mayonnaise holds a BSc in Psychology & Management and is completing his MSc in Organisational Psychology. While studying he has had a successful career in hospitality, working as AGM at The Good Egg and Operations & Development Manager at the Social Enterprise Kitchenette Karts.
Webinar: Overcoming Post-Lockdown Anxiety
Date: Tuesday 30th June at 8pm