Running out of energy: An underestimated threat to a "people's business"?
— 10 experts shared their view
We are currently experiencing an energy crisis of a different kind - an industry-wide feeling of exhaustion, anxiety, stress, frustration, and fear. We are running out of energy. There is no doubt that the effects of the pandemic and resulting restrictions will have an adverse effect on people's wellbeing. Scientists call for action for mental health science research with regards to COVID-19. For the hospitality workforce, passionate about and specialized in social interactions, the measures of isolation have been tremendously impactful and to some extend traumatizing. The economic hardship coming with temporary and permanent closures, reduced salaries, lack of job vacancies, and a general unpredictability further exacerbate the situation. Our industry employs large numbers of people from vulnerable societal groups who are already at higher risks of mental health issues. It is about time to put the mental health fallout of COVID-19 on the sustainability agenda and kick start a dialog on the subject.
What measures could be taken to restock on energy and facilitate mental health during hardship? How can human connections be fostered and kept intact between frontline, remote, and furloughed staff? How can different companies come together and support each other? What is and has been your personal emotional journey through the last months?
CEO of Kerten Hospitality
Local community build has become a staple and a key demand for the recovery of the hospitality industry and rebuilding the team's morale in the last 6 months as stories of mass layoffs and furloughed staff amidst closure of properties flooded the public space. Keeping teams engaged and hyper-connected to jointly build a strong support system with cross-industry collaborations has been critical for keeping sanity in everything we have been going through as an industry. A primary focus that helps fosters human connections, seemed to be the creation of lifestyle spaces, meditation corners, laughter yoga workshops and art community forums that bring people to create, remain in a safety cocoon even if for a while before going back to face the surrounding environment.
WhatsApp groups, coffee brainstorm sessions over Zoom and drawing maps of the next Team building exercise and starting to plan have done mindset miracles! Working out in groups on Skype, following shared diet regimens with healthy recipe exchanges and weekly plans have kept multiple “grounded” teams closer together. From Keto bowls we have all shifted to Kerten Bowls with our Executive Chef Jaume riding the fresh produce trend with tips and advice in a large online cooking session for all. Lunch meals of the teams around the world became a sanctuary.
Today, more than ever, wellbeing, health and wellness have been placed high on the radar of the leadership in the hardest hit industry. Amidst the uncertainty, changing consumer habits and eroding travel and tourism projects, wellness and health-related initiatives were planted as the most potent occurrences of the year. A focus on the corporate and individual wellbeing of a team was seen as a recipe for positive outcome and for the only possible outlook for all. And for us, at Kerten Hospitality, staying connected when apart has not been a novice considering we have 35+ projects around the world with teams supporting each other from afar for 5 years till date.
The pivot was: Establishing a local supply chain as a pillar of support and mastering the reform in changing habits and engagements for the benefit of the team, our families, owners and guests. What was essential in those unprecedented times was to remain agile, adaptive and future-focused knowing that the rocky road will soon come to an end and the planes will start taking off bringing our guests and residents back home. This has been a journey of discovery on what we can do collectively and individually to support each other and learn to disrupt together.
A personal takeaway has been the journey of self-discovery, reflection on more adaptive learnings, redefinition of team dedication and growth, reliance on the future generation of hospitality professionals and a great deal of new operational models that deliver scale and meaningful ally-ships. Keeping a positive futuristic outlook and learning from history's worst periods of time have prepared us for the new marketplace. We have fought off the hardship with resilience. Now, we just need to not forget the lessons and focus on the essentials: that health has become the new wealth.