The Hospitality industry is notorious for high rates of employee burnout. With most job roles being highly labor-intensive and emotionally-consuming due to intense interpersonal relationships, Hospitality employees encounter higher burnout rates than most other industries.
Mayo Clinic describes burnout as a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. Some burnout symptoms include loss of sleep or insomnia, lack of satisfaction from achievements at work, cynicism towards your job, a decrease in energy and productivity, and difficulty concentrating.
Despite its prevalence in hospitality, a significant amount of research has been invested in understanding the nature of burnout and how it can be avoided. Below are a few useful suggestions to help prevent professional fatigue and mitigate overwhelming feelings of burnout.
1. Build a Strong Social Support Network
A 2019 study that focused on burnout and employee performance in Hospitality looked directly at the role of social capital. This social capital construct can be simplified as the goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse an individual has in their daily life. The OECD defines social capital as networks that combine shared norms, values, and understandings that facilitate cooperation within or among groups.
So how does social capital play a role in Hospitality employee burnout? The study mentioned above revealed that social capital has a substantial negative influence on job burnout and a significant positive impact on employee performance. In other words, cultivating greater social capital can pay dividends in mitigating burnout while maximizing performance.
Social capital can be translated into social support or the people that make your social connections throughout your day to day life. This includes the people you work and cooperate with on the job as well as the individuals you enjoy life outside of work.
The Harvard Business Review compiled expert advice that outlines many actionable things you can do to build the social support needed to thrive at work. Some of these include:
- Starting small. Develop closer relationships with one or two people at work to start.
- Making the time. Put forth a conscious effort to set aside time for relationship-building.
- Asking questions. Make it less about you and more about developing a shared connection.
- Using the time before meetings. Embrace the intention of not just getting the work done but connecting.
- Being authentic and realistic. Be sincerely interested in cultivating relationships and mindful about approaching people in a way that aligns with your personality.
In addition to working in the Hospitality industry, research shows that developing a strong social support network — having people in your life you can talk to, spend time with, and get help from — makes people mentally and physically healthier.
2. Get Sufficient Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is one of the most common contributors to burnout. If you are burning the candle at both ends, burnout is ultimately inevitable. Difficulty sleeping can also be an indication that your body has too much adrenaline built up.
The Dalai Lama’s saying that “sleep is the best meditation” is widely repeated and for a good reason. Sleep gives the body and mind a chance to recover from the day and to rejuvenate for the day ahead. There are many ways to improve your sleep habits but start with the basics to avoid burnout.
- Maintain a consistent routine. This is the recipe for quality sleep and overall health. Have a bedtime and a waking time and stick to it as much as you possibly can.
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol immediately before bed. This does not have to be a rule for every day of your life, but the more you can do this, the better you will feel.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation>, sleeping less than six hours each night is one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout.
- The bed is a sanctuary for sleep and recovery. Don’t use your bed as an office or living room, and try to avoid scrolling through emails and social media before sleep.
For more ways to optimize sleep to minimize burnout, check out some of the tips Alicia Potts offers in this post.
3. Know What Recharges You
In addition to sleep and social support, you need to be in-tune with your personality and what best restores you as an individual to prevent burnout. Put simply, you need to know what recharges you and invest in those activities to avoid burnout.
But what fulfills these needs for you may be very different than what meets those needs for someone else. For example, someone who is highly introverted may require time alone to recharge. Someone who is highly extroverted, on the other hand, may need to spend time with friends or family after work to buffer feelings of burnout.
According to Robert L. Bogue, co-author of “Extinguish Burnout: A Practical Guide to Prevention and Recovery,” self-care is primarily dependent on the individual. “It is based on what helps them to feel more like they’re in their natural state, which is the thing, place, or feeling that would happen if there were no pressure on them — the thing they would want to do.”
For many Hospitality professionals, recharging might take the shape of an outdoor adventure, such as a long bike ride, a hike in the woods, or a paddle along the lakeshore. But for others, ideal restoration might involve more calming and meditative activities, such as journaling, gardening, or painting.
Bogue sums it up best when he says, “the more you know what truly aligns with who you are and honor that need, the less drained you will feel and the less likely you will burnout.”