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As we rush back to normality, take time to consider what is worth rushing back to’ or something along those lines is one of the quotes being bandied about at the moment however is there something to be learnt from this?

Especially as thankfully our beloved Hospitality Industry is set to be awoken from its seemingly eternal slumber (through no fault of its own I may add- but that is a whole different story to be discussed) 

The venues are being cleaned, the outdoor areas are being painted and parasoled up, tentative orders will be being placed and the lights will be coming back on .

 I am wondering if there is some positive changes that can be made in the industry now Hospitality will be back open? 

What am I getting at…? 

The one thing that Operators and Staff a-like are obsessed with…

THE ROTA (who knew that one document could wield such power!).

For team members, it can make or break their week as to what shifts they do or didn’t get and for the bosses, it’s high stakes as it’s all about the P&L and the dreaded words that’s in the emails of every Managers inbox  ‘Labour costs’ 

It’s been a battle that’s been raging on with Managers and Teams since forever about who is working what and when etc.

I have been through it myself whether I was writing rota’s or appearing on them, it’s not the nicest of things to deal with.

(Especially the team member that swears they gave you a holiday form and now somehow all the Host team have booked off Parklife that upcoming weekend – is enough to still bring me out in a cold sweat ).

However delving a bit deeper about staff not getting a regular pattern of shifts, too many hours, or not knowing when they are working with less than 7 days notice is one of the reasons why people leave the industry in droves.

Essentially all humans crave some kind of routine in our lives (the national lockdown has massively highlighted this and we have all had to learn how to adapt). It’s essential to wellbeing and an aspect of mental health too. 

Can we not bring a bit of routine into Hospitality through mindful rota’ing?

(Some places I worked had stand-by shifts so a team member didn’t know if they were working or not and then would be berated on a sunny day if they couldn’t now make their ‘pencilled in / maybe / maybe not’ 12-4 pm shift with an angry GM spitting in their ear down the phone).

I know from personal experience when I worked as a server too, not knowing when I was working without more than a weeks notice meant I could never truly plan my life and it became quite stressful and felt like I had to say no to everything.

The rota lottery still goes on, a favoured team member getting the best shifts, one person always on a close (even if they’ve asked to not do every close) or a hellish open/close shift (that is still a thing sadly) and not being able to always get a set shift.

I know labour cost targets have to be met and there is immense pressure placed on Managers and Business owners to get it in line with their budgets. 

It’s not something that can be overlooked, it’s basic business sense not to overspend to make a profit, however can rota’s be drawn up more mindfully?

With not just looking at figures on the rota sheet but seeing the people behind it as after all they are representing the brand and are real people.

Managers / Operators – Are you listening to your team? Are you rota’ing fairly? 

Obviously you can’t give everyone what they want all the time it’s just not possible. But if some thought and consideration go into meeting the majority of their requirements with Rota’s produced in time periods longer than a 1 week lead up, the opportunity for set shifts and adequate breaks, making for a happier team, therefore, it will lead to more staff retention and keep the industry moving forward positively. 

As the doors are set to swing open, the venue signage ablaze, tables set for service, booking systems are ready to rock with the upcoming reservations and the first customers are due in ( we also need to be mindful that many of the team haven’t worked in so long that it’s like the first day of school for them). This is where a well-organised rota can bring some comfort and routine to the team, meaning they can plan a life outside of work too and help pave the steps towards a happy team.

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