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Is There Work-Life Balance in Hospitality?

Work / Life Balance in Hospitality: How to Give Yourself a Gut Check As a First Step 

Hospitalians are unique.  Unlike other professionals, we work, breathe and live our craft. This can make work-life balance challenging.  Ask a chef what their hobby is.  They are likely entertaining family or friends, traveling to explore other restaurants or cuisines, or cooking in a competition.  How does a wine director spend their time with family?  You may find that they are taking their kids along to the vineyards they are visiting.  Connect with a GM about what they did on their week of PTO, and it's no surprise that they were also doing something connected to food, wine and/ or entertaining.  I have yet to meet a surgeon that says they practice surgery on their time off, or an attorney who looks forward to researching case studies while they enjoy their beach vacation.  Add the fact that in today's world, emails run 24/7, and work can literally follow you anywhere. How do you find time to reset?  

In the work we do at LA Consulting Firm, we often work through this challenge with employees at every level.  In the policy we advocate for, the coaching we do, and the culture we help businesses create, our message is always to prioritize balance.  It is also complicated.  Operators are so committed to their restaurants, and connected to their guests.  How can they possibly step away and risk something going wrong?  Miss a big event or an important guest?  We often respond by asking, "how can you not?"  The main thing is that we recognize the challenge. We are trained to put our heads down, keep the eye on the prize, and keep going.  The expectation is to do so through the holiday season, through the slow season, and sometimes through the events in our lives going on outside of work.  We miss weddings, graduations, births - all to support others celebrating their own occasions.  So how does one even begin to find balance that is meaningful and fulfilling?  It's tricky, but this is what we suggest.

Give Yourself a Gut Check 

How are you feeling?  What is volume like?  What is the team looking like?  What do you need to do to prepare your team for your absence? We have all been in a position when we were tasked with holding down the fort alone for the first time. It's a great opportunity for your team to show you what they're really made of.  If you take the time to really evaluate the logistics, we find it helps to move on with planning ahead with your team while also setting an example for them to take time away. Set some goals and plan ahead to prepare!  

Look at the Calendar

Not just for the week or the month, but the next 6 months, even the rest of the year.  Ask your team what they may have coming up, and give them a long notice period for when you are going to be out of the business.  In the scenario that there is a conflict with others’ plans, it is much easier to work through the details ahead of time. Once you've taken inventory of all the things going on, choose some dates that work. This could mean a variety of things: is it a 3 or 4 day weekend, a few times over the next few months? Is it 9 days out of the business? We have found that it is so much easier to follow through with booking the time and communicating to the team if you peg a date in the future with plenty of notice.

Book It

Don’t wait until everything is “fully baked” to make your plans. Follow through with the dates you have pegged, and take the first steps to make the plans. Even if this isn't buying plane tickets and reserving hotel rooms, having the dates and the plans worked out feels great and gives you something to look forward to.  

Bring Inspiration Back with You!

Upon returning to your business, share your experience! When you come back refreshed and ready to bring your own inspiration to the team, everyone wins. You can bring back trinkets, or food from a different region. Perhaps you can bring back technique to the kitchen, or ideas for going the extra mile for your guests in your dining room. We thrive by sharing our experiences and stories, and learning more about each other by hearing how others may have been where you went or want to go some day.

Connect with us at LA Consulting to explore strategies tailored to hospitality professionals. Reach out to learn more about how we can help you to create and foster a healthy culture!



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