Happy coffee men colleagues in cafe bar working indoors.

Smart Wellness Program

Considering optimal management practices. How do we take our employees into consideration to ensure workplace wellness, what is the workplace going to look like? 

The first touchpoint that I want to discuss is the one thing that always suffers while working in a restaurant is our FEET! 

Safe and comfortable shoes, that air and do not allow excess sweat build-up. No-slip soles that are gummy enough to be soft and gentle on the soles, they should be wide enough and close your feet to ensure safety against possible hot fluid spills however leave room for movement. 

There are various sock options however the only two that work for my sweaty feet are bamboo socks that are anti-bacterial and mohair socks that are not only comfy but wick the sweat away from the skin. 

Regular stretching before the commencement of the shift and stretching afterwards will improve blood flow and oxygenate the body and assist with active recovery during long days on the feet. Consider a basic fitness program where all employees meet in the morning before work and do a sedentary Yoga mixed with Pilatus workout together. Ensure that it is not too intense and that you include everyone. The idea is not to make your employees sweat before the commencement of their shift, however, you want to get the blood circulating and get them awake with a smile on their faces. Not only will the employee’s health benefit, however, the morale in your store will also improve and their immune systems will get a great boost.

Now that we all have happy feet and excellent blood circulation going, we will venture further along with our wellness at the workplace journey. I call this a journey, as it will be a challenge to implement this complete OPTIMAN Smart wellness program in one go. My suggestion is that you discuss the program with your team. Decide what will work best in your specific environment, plan implementation step by step and implement your chosen wellbeing elements.

  • Poor immune systems
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Income protection 
  • Education cost protection
  • Break time at the workplace
  • Nap room
  • Long Hours
  • Rest and recovery
  • Healthy meals
  • Tele-health or Doc-online

The restaurant industry is notorious for extremely long days and in some cases double shift after double shift. The staff becomes tired and goes on autopilot. This state of autopilot is quite dangerous as concentration slips, accuracy and care lapses, productivity is out the door and you have the elements for a perfect storm, an accident looking for a place to happen and your hard-earned profits are being wasted. How do we deal with these challenges? Rental space is costly and normally the staff hang around and sleep sitting on an empty crate, even lying on the floor on oily dirty cardboard boxes. 

Would you like to know that someone doing that is lying on the floor on dirty boxes is actually preparing your next meal! I am sure not! Double up your office as a nap room for specific times and staff can actually lie down and sleep for an hour or two before they commence their second shift. You can invest in a fold-away bed against a wall or a stretcher for someone to put their head down and recharge.

Mental health issues are rife amongst restaurant staff and if you care about their sleep, comfort, and recovery this will contribute largely to steer them away from substance abuse that normally begins purely due to the fact that they cannot keep up with the required load bestowed upon them. In many instances, substance abuse, alcoholism, and poor self-image go hand in hand with mental illness challenges.  Advertise the fact that the employer supports substance abuse recovery and assistance, put notices up around the workplace where it is visible to the employees.

Tele-health or Doc-Online is a fantastic new concept that you can drive from your workplace and assist employees with their physical and mental health challenges. Apart from the fact that you gain easy access to the internet, you can prevent the onset of more serious conditions if you keep your attention on the smaller niggles. The cost is significantly less than visiting a doctor, no transport required, and because you catch the niggle before it progresses into a serious medical challenge. When medication is prescribed you can make an arrangement for a local chemist to deliver the prescription. Both the employee and the employer gain and contributes to the well-being of each other.

No car can drive without fuel or water. People cannot work without sustenance. Especially when you require your staff to work long shifts it is your responsibility to ensure that they get proper food and that they remain hydrated throughout the duration of their day. A cup of tea or coffee will do no harm in between and gain you the employer’s massive brownie points especially on a long busy day.

Children are such special little people and the mental state of any parent will be divided if he or she knows that his or her child is not taken care of. The workplace can negotiate a special rate on behalf of its employees with a local school and aftercare program where the employees can take their children. The next step could be that the workplace could subsidize the cost of school and or aftercare as an employee benefit with a limit of one child per staff member. You need to decide for yourself how you will practically implement this strategy into your workplace. Stepping up the benefits of your core employees. 

In the case of injury or serious illness, it is imperative to have your employees income insured. Not only for the person who becomes incapacitated however also for the employer to find someone to work in that employee’s position until the employee is fit to return to work. It is a very basic request, to request a quote to add the employee’s children’s cost of education to the income insurance policy.

Implement a wellness competition setting it up in such a manner that employees want to discuss their wellness and their participation in the wellness program. Step climbing challenges, mindfulness meditations, and prayer before shifts start. Some excellent strategies to create an entry into your fun-filled wellness program. 

OPTIMAN SMART WELLNESS STRATEGY will get you and your staff smiling!

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

Founder of Restauranthub.co the first true community for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

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