Coming up to the silly season can often be a stressful time for employers, with busy businesses, staff leave and managing stock levels – it can lead to increased stress. If event the thought of this stresses you out. You’re not alone – a recent survey suggests that 62 percent of business owners have increased stress levels at work at time of year. And if you’re a small business owner doing multiple roles in the business you are even more likely to be stressed!

Many old school philosophies are based on the principal that if you’re not stressed, you’re not working hard enough. However, there has been a revolution in the world of business recently with many influential leaders speaking up about how important it is to take time out and ensure you have a balance in your working life. Obviously it’s a little difficult to take a holiday when your business comes into a busy and profitable time of year. We need to make hay while the sun shines but here are a few strategies to remember that might make life a little easier for you along the way.

Have a plan
Make sure you are well equipped for your busy period. Forward bookings, past bookings and analysis of past records can potentially assist you in predicting when you will be at your busiest. Of course these methods do not always work because often there is no rhyme or reason to the ebbs and flows of customers but at least this may provide some insight into any patterns that may emerge. For some of you located in the summer holiday hot spots this will be more straight forward. Ensure you have enough people on to cover these days. With clear systems everyone will be able to cope better and customers will get the best possible service.

Know your Limits
When you have a surge of guests coming into the restaurant or cafe know when the right time to make a call about not taking any more customers is or have someone managing that has the skills to be able to see this happen before disaster strikes. Sometimes making a call about whether or not you will turn guests away is tough but even if you pause your intake for 20 minutes this can often ease pressure and create a small window for all to recover and get ready for the next wave. It will often be better to turn customers away and have them thinking wow that place is really pumping then for them to enter a chaotic business, leave with a sour taste and tell ten friends or post something on social media.

Train Staff
Creating a training plan is imperative and hopefully there are already systems in place for this in the business. Gilda XX covers off a few great tips for training seasonal employees in the business in this issue.

To-do lists are a tried and true stress management technique, especially with the right focus and direction. First, think of the tasks you need to do today, and then determine which ones are both important and immediate. Then, instead of throwing every single project on your list, only put those important and immediate tasks on it. Then, tackle each task one at a time.

Get away from technology
No one can argue that wireless communications have helped increase efficiencies across the board. The downside? It’s also made it significantly easier for work to leak into your time out- time, and much more difficult to separate yourself from your business. So try taking some time when you can to completely unplug. Whether it’s half an hour or a couple hours, give yourself that distance from technology and use it to really be engaged in the world around you. Without the distractions of your phone buzzing or iPad notifying you of an email, you’ll find it’s much easier to be fully ‘present’ which can put a refreshing take on even the most common of occurrences.

Get help if you need it
At the Association we are always here to assist with anything you may need. We may not be able to help you but we will know someone who can. Believe it or not, your stress can pass over to your employees, co-workers and loved ones. To help prevent spreading a problem, try some of these tactics to lessen the stress levels over the silly season and beyond. In this whirlwind of an industry we call hospitality working smart helps you succeed better than working hard sometimes.


By Marisa Bidois, CEO, NZ Restaurant Association