We caught up with Gordon McIntyre to find out about the stressors and anxiety of reopening for your staff after being off for four months. We’ve worked together to create this anxiety toolkit which is intended to help you and your teams adopt positive behaviours and coping mechanisms.
More information and positive mental health support can be found from Hospitality Health
Looking to share with your staff?
Download our PDF below:
August has seen a massive reopening of the hospitality & tourism sector in
Scotland. Quite a momentous occasion, following the closure of about 4 months.
It is, however, becoming clear that not all businesses are able to open,
operating under government guidelines, the social distancing perhaps has
reduced the capacity to a level that makes it unviable to trade. In addition it
imposed the added expense of the PPE, perspex sheeting and signage advising
guests of the one-way system and how to behave. As I cycle around the city it
is still a little spooky and obvious to see which premises have chosen to remain
closed, with boarded windows still in place.
HOw DO YOUR STAFF FEEL?
For staff returning to work, it is a daunting experience, is it going to be safe?
Has their employer taken all the necessary steps to ‘risk assess’ the venue and
provide appropriate support for the team? I am seeing staff wearing face
coverings, some with visors and masks, for their shift in front of house. It reminds
us of how the brave staff in the NHS must feel, wearing masks continuously for
their shift, a most uncomfortable and irritating feeling, but essential for the
safety of all.
HEIGHTENED ANXIETY & STRESS
It is a time of heightened anxiety and stress, are you still employed under
furlough, will you be re-employed, will you be made redundant, where will
your next income come from, all questions that are not necessarily easy to
answer for many. This anxiety is a trauma, that requires to be treated and
supported, as any other trauma would be. When these feelings persist, they
can affect our daily life and lead to emotional distress.
Supporting Your Staff
Most people feel anxious at times. It’s particularly common to experience
some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they
could have a big impact on your life.
Some people may recover in a few weeks on their own, while others need
more help and support.
It’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety early.
These can include:
- dizziness and headaches
- problems sleeping
- dry mouth
- changes in your eating habits
- low self-esteem
- problems concentrating
- temper outbursts
- muscle tension and pain
- tearful episodes
Recognising these signs will help you figure out ways of coping and save you
from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as turning to an excess of
alcohol or drugs.
There are several treatments available, depending on how severe the anxiety
is. It is hoped that it does not lead to prescribed medication, there are self-help
resources, that would be the first step to manage the feelings.
BREAKING THE STRESS CYCLE
Breaking the “stress cycle” is important, negative thoughts create feelings and
emotions, it makes you feel bad and leads to responsive behaviour. This can
lead to reinforcing negative thoughts. You need to break the cycle by
paying attention to your negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones,
this will lead to positive behaviours.
Gordon’s tips for reducing anxiety and stress:
By managing the internal stressors, (things we have control over), we can
develop a positive mindset.
- Make a list of the internal stressors
- Come up with 3 things that that you can do differently and take back control of your mindset and manage your expectations
- Looking after your wellbeing is also a great first step.
- Keep busy
- Keep up a routine
- Keep in touch
- Do things you enjoy
- Stay safe
Gordon McIntyre, is the Associate Dean for Hospitality & Tourism at City of
Glasgow College and Chair of Hospitality Health which is a Scottish charity,
formed in August of 2018 to support staff and students in the amazing world of
Hospitality. It is clear that for several years the Industry has become more
stressful for an extremely hardworking management and staff.
For more information os support surrounding positive mental health, please visit