Why is it that we discount work-life balance as a serious problem in Hospitality? There is a definite cost to holding such a view: on an individual level, our work eventually suffers when we neglect the other aspects of our lives. On a bigger level, it compounds the skills and labour shortages we already struggle with in this industry.
The Centre for London found work-life balance to be one of the biggest causes of high turnover amongst chefs. Greater numbers are choosing to leave the profession every year. Some others opt for jobs that they are overqualified for, just so that they can enjoy a more healthy pace of living. I found in my own research that young chefs joining the trade not only valued work-life balance (as is commonly reported in our media), but were finding the actual ‘living’ to be a challenge – in particular, making ends meet on a starting salary in a big city.
Somewhere in all there is a sense that work-life balance presents an inconvenient truth for both the individual chef and for Hospitality employers: that to enjoy it means that they have to take personal and collective responsibility.
And all the while, this ambivalence is costing us. Greatly.