How can we help our teams find more balance?
From my experience in the kitchen, I saw some of the consequences chefs face from the lack of balance in the cheflife:
— the unravelling of personal relationships
— chronic stress leading to physical or mental health issues
— substance abuse as a coping mechanism to deal with stress
My research revealed that this was not simply a result of their gruelling work schedules or the lack of free time: many chefs struggle to unwind even on their days off. Some choose extreme measures when those consequences get out of hand: quitting their brigades, choosing less demanding jobs for which they are overqualified or leaving the industry altogether. The Centre for London in their recent report found work-life balance to be the biggest factor affecting retention in kitchens.
This is a scenario that we can no longer afford to ignore as an industry.
How can work-life integration help?
Our culture teaches us how to serve, but it does not address how to condition ourselves for service. Our craft – whether it’s cooking, preparing drinks or serving – has become more complex over the years. Internally, we are challenged with a staff and skills shortage, while externally, we face increased competition and more demanding customers. Given that the nature of our work will not change overnight, we have to take a pragmatic approach to solving the problem.
Rather than trying to strike a balance between our careers and other aspects of our lives, we can instead integrate them so that they complement and support each other. Not only will this impact how we show up to every shift, but work-life integration will also ensure that we enjoy long, successful careers.
If nothing else, it’s a more achievable goal for those of us in Hospitality.
Work-life integration in your restaurant
I visit restaurant teams to deliver workshops on work-life integration, and also to raise awareness of what they can do to implement it in their lives. Although as a former pastry chef I examine the issue through the lens of our kitchen culture, the teachings are seen to be valuable for the entire team – the challenge chefs face is universal to all sections of the restaurant.
The series comprises two workshops:
1. Introduction to work-life integration – 1 hour – £150
How hospitality professionals can find more balance in their lives
(Audience: The entire team: BOH and FOH)
2. Work-life integration for leaders – 1 hour – £300*
Themes addressed include:
I. Culture & Environments
II. Personal mastery
(Audience: Leadership, emerging leaders)
*(Please note that this talk is delivered only in combination with Workshop 1.)
(Workshops are currently delivered only on Mondays. Travel expenses will be added to the costs for venues outside London.)
What benefits do they offer?
— Start where you are – the workshops show Hospitality professionals how to start where they are, even without a spacious or flexible schedule
— They do not impose any practices on team members – the teaching is designed to help them realign with what works for them
— The advice offered is not generic – the content is created and delivered by someone who understands the industry and our culture
— The workshops address practices you can implement as a team, and what leaders can do to positively impact employee morale, productivity and retention rates
“It has helped me go back to the basis of what got me to where I am in the first place. It helped me to see how far I’ve come and that I can get through whatever I’m going through” – George P., restaurateur
Invite Ishwariya to speak
To book a workshop, make enquiries or to request a bespoke workshop for your team, please send an email.