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Wellness works – avoid employee burnout in the travel industry

The 24/7 travel industry has higher-than-average rates of employee burnout. Providing a service to guests can lead to a mentality of prioritising others’ needs before your own, and the non-stop nature of the industry further intensifies this. 

Although burnout is a risk within the industry, effective leadership with a focus on wellness can mitigate these risks and create a healthy work environment with optimal employee performance. Here are four ways to support people with mental health and wellbeing, from wellness expert Sonal Uberoi.

Prioritise your people

The travel industry is one of the largest service industries. People are at the core, and the way in which they connect is important. It is noticeable when staff are stressed, and it affects everything from the level of service to the overall atmosphere. Issues such as teams being understaffed, and employees being asked to work 14-hour days are unfortunately too common within the industry and can lead to negative outcomes such as higher rates of staff turnover and low team morale. Staff are your biggest asset, and therefore creating an environment where employees feel valued, and wellness is prioritised is essential. Simple strategies to implement could include ensuring staff take regular breaks and are offered flexibility with shift patterns where possible. Helping employees to prioritise their workloads could also help to relieve pressure – not everything is urgent. These steps will benefit your guests too, as they will be able to deal with people who are happy, healthy and pleased to be there.

Focus on balance to mitigate burnout

Although burnout can be a risk in any industry, the travel industry has certain characteristics that increase this risk for employees across all levels. The key aspects of burnout are feelings of being physically or emotionally drained, so it is understandable that the long shift patterns and unsociable hours in an industry that never stops can take a toll. This is evidenced in the data – with an estimated one in seven hotel employees experiencing burnout. 

In an industry centred around guest experience, it is important to find ways for staff to consider their own needs and achieve a balanced approach to their work. Finding ways to prioritise staff wellness will mitigate some of these pressures and lessen rates of burnout within the industry – which is good for the individual and good for business. Let people have a mental health day if they need it. Offer them access to mental health resources. In a spa or wellness space, have an after hours session where staff can use the facilities.

Empower your leaders to support teams

Leadership is key when it comes to creating a healthy work environment. A holistic approach where wellness is prioritised just as much as skills and processes can benefit the business. It is important to set the tone and build a culture centred around empathy and respect. Clear and respectful communication with employees will further build an environment where everybody feels valued and comfortable.

Lessen the load

Ensuring that all members of staff have enough time off without the pressure to cover additional shifts will enable them to have a healthy work/life balance and lead to enhanced performance within working hours. Reducing unnecessary stress will enable employees to better deal with the unique pressures that come with working in the travel industry. The world won’t stop if a service is a minute late. 

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  Contact   Francesca Baker And So She Thinks [email protected]   About Sonal Uberoi   Sonal Uberoi is a global wellness expert and the founder of Spa Balance, a boutique consultancy specialising in wellness concepts for luxury hotels.    Sonal Uberoi is the author of the best-seller The Wellness Asset: How to Transform and Futureproof your Hotel as well as the ebook How to Open a Smart Spa, a comprehensive guide on the intricacies of opening a spa. She is also the host of the Wellness in Hospitality interview series where she has interviewed more than 80 hoteliers worldwide. She has sat on the Board of the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA), where she helped develop and maintain internationally recognised standards in spa education in Africa. Sonal is also part of the Global Wellness Institute’s Consultants Initiative.   She has deep knowledge and insight of the wellness industry gained from over 15 years of experience of having worked on 40+ projects in 20+countries and four continents. A unique finance background from Goldman Sachs and a cross-disciplinary skill set combined with worldwide experience make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Her clients include the award-winning Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, SHA Clinic’s urban wellness concept Esenza by SHA, Natura Bissé, Indiba, Sofitel Luxury Hotels and Meliá Hotels International.   She is known for delivering award-winning and profitable spas around the world, particularly under her branded concept Spa Sommelier.    Sonal’s proven track record and global outlook make her a popular speaker at international trade conferences. You can follow Sonal on LinkedIn where she regularly shares expert industry insights.   About Spa Balance   Spa Balance specialises in developing wellness assets for small, independently-owned hotels. Spa Balance is a Madrid based boutique consultancy that specialises in developing wellness concepts/assets for small, independently-owned hotels. Over the last 15 years, Spa Balance has worked with private owners of unique properties to help them create the legacy they want to want and make the impact they want to their people, their guests, their community and their environment for generations to come.  The boutique consultancy helps hotel’s tap into the full potential of your their wellness offering and bring in a more discerning guest, build a loyal and committed customer base, attract and retain quality talent and increase profitability, without breaking budget.Spa Balance is known for delivering award-winning wellness assets under their branded concept, Spa Sommelier.

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