Wellness is a buzzword right now, often referred to as a trend and as a term, perhaps used in excess or in some cases, out of context. Nevertheless, within the hospitality industry, it is great to see people getting on board with the idea of wellness within the workplace.
However, if you view the concept of wellness as a whole, how can this be a trend? It is about self-sustainability and the aspect that sets wellness apart from ‘trends’ is that it has been fuelled by global epidemics such as obesity and mental health to name a few. Wellness is time dependent but will and does help individuals cope in the ever demanding climate. Workplace wellness programmes are becoming more of a corporate social responsibility and business necessity than a simple perk of the job. They have shifted attitudes to action amongst organisations globally, raising awareness and entitlement to holistic wellness.
How can employers stay up to date?
Organisations can stay up to date with wellness initiatives by responding to employees but most importantly, global contemporary issues and trends, bringing these into the context of the hospitality industry. Organisations will be able to differentiate between sustainable initiatives such as modern slavery polices and those that are perhaps more fleeting or detached form their brand philosophy.
Does workplace wellness need to be bespoke to each employee?
We use the term ‘bespoke’ too freely now and it feels as if it has been too far removed from its original meaning. Call it personalised, call it bespoke, call it unique, wellness is individual.
As personalisation grows as a global megatrend, we see more hospitality employers looking to redefine their values in an attempt to enhance employee awareness and staff retention. One of the main challenges facing the hospitality industry is without a doubt the recruitment and retention of good staff. This is where workplace wellness will be of benefit, the industry should not only focus on wellness for guests but also wellness for its employees. The second challenge is that in an attempt to keep up with trends, the focus of the business is often lost. However, with clear goals and values, meeting the expectations of guests and employees should have a positive impact on both guest and staff retention.
Can Technology help?
Technology offers many opportunities as despite the emerging generations being YouTube fanatics and learning how to do things themselves from a younger age it is something the industry have not yet utilized to their potential. Everyone in some way wants to track their sleep, steps, food to name but a few, using wearable technology to compete with each other.
However, with an increase in people being seen by healthcare professionals for tech neck and slumping shoulders due to technology, should we look to encourage tech detoxes amongst the workforce? The counter argument here is that within such a fast paced, developing industry, perhaps we should embrace the further use of technology in the forms of wearable tech to encourage our teams to look at how teams can bring their personal wellness initiatives to the workplace.
Wellness is not going anywhere it is becoming a key function of the organisation and therefore as an industry, there are a plethora of benefits this can bring however, as with any organisation function it must be designed in order to meet the needs of the organisation and the workforce in order to become sustainable.
This article has been written by Victoria Rosamond; Senior Lecturer in Applied Management teaching across the disciplines of Hospitality, Spa, Tourism, Events and Culinary Management at the University of Derby. Discover our online Hospitality degree programmes at www.derby.ac.uk/IOH