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It is time to manage your “energy” not your “time”

Happy New Year

It is time to manage your “energy” not your “time”

Working a 12-14 hour day, feeling exhausted, not sleeping well, can’t be bothered talking when you get home, not really exercising, eating on the go?

Is that you?

Well, it’s time for a change of behaviour for the new year! No, I’m NOT going to tell you to go to the gym!

The greater the demands of the workplace will often be met with managers and staff putting in longer hours, which takes its toll on them mentally, physically and emotionally. It inevitably leads to a decline in their input.

To re-energise the team, businesses need to shift the emphasis from getting more out of staff to invest more in them. To make them motivated and bring more energy to work each day.

You as an individual have control over this, consider the following.

  • Go to bed earlier
  • Drink more water
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Exercise more often
  • Enjoy the outdoors
  • Read a book

Businesses can encourage this by creating a culture of being supportive to this investment in time. Allow staff to have regular breaks to recharge, getting fresh air, or peace and quiet makes a huge difference in their overall efficiency in the workplace. A common thought is that taking time out is counterproductive, this is not the case!

Without intermittent periods of rest staff are not able to maintain positive emotions for long periods. Confronted with demands and challenges during service, staff will slip into negative behaviours. They will become irritable, impatient and anxious as their energy is drained.

A great action by a manager to help create a positive emotion is to express appreciation in the work a team member has performed. This may sound easy, but in practice is often overlooked. It could take the form of a written note, an email, a conversation or even a meal as a reward for work well done. Effective leaders plan this action into their day. A thank-you and sign of appreciation goes a long way in keeping staff positive and can even assist in staff retention! I have heard too often that people leave employers because they did not even say ”thank you!”

Make time to think

Warren Buffet, the great investor believes that sitting and thinking is a much more important practice than filling out every minute of his day with tasks.

To Jeff Bezos, the time he values most in his day is the time he spends doing nothing, (at least nothing scheduled!).

He sets his first meetings no earlier than 10 am because he values the time, he has to just potter around. That valuable time with his family is his first priority in the morning.

By doing this, he protects his energy levels and can maintain the necessary capacity to get stuff done.

I know many people who always start the day with exercise, even if they didn’t sleep much the night before.

For them, exercise provides focus and energy. It allows them to better enjoy the rest of the day and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

That time when you think you are doing nothing, is important re-charging time and helps you get through the day, the phrase “Pit stops can win a Formula 1 Grand Prix” comes to mind. We need to embrace that more often, manage the energy better.

Finally, imagine a work-life where you start developing an instinct for increasing other people’s happiness: that is hospitality. It’s a big part of the reason the industry is so addictive to so many of us, and it makes hospitality stand out from almost any other job.

Hospitality’s main flaw, historically, was that it wasn’t very good at making its own people happy. Conditions could be hard, pay mediocre, and management and training limited. Sadly in some areas of the industry, this is still found.

The best hospitality businesses now follow a simple philosophy: keep the people who work with you happy and let them take care of making guests happy. That has seen working conditions improve, pay rates increase and things like benefits, training and development rise across all kinds of venues.

There’s still room for improvement. There is more work to do on mental and physical health. We need an industry that has genuine equality of opportunity (for pay, development, promotions) for all.

So let us support our teams to manage their energy better, which allows time to be managed better, and to be happier in the long term.

Gordon McIntyre

Chair, Hospitality Health

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