While it’s difficult to gauge just how hard restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs will be impacted over the long term — as an owner, executive chef, or manager — you can make the biggest impact over a short term. Things might be tough now, with owners and staff to suppliers and farmers being affected, but it’s how you react now that will define you in the future.
As a senior staff member, there is a great deal of stress and anxiety that you will be facing at the moment. While it’s crucial to see that the needs of your staff are supported, you would also need to be in the right frame of mind to be able to manage their welfare as well as your own during this crisis.
Staying up-to-date via reputable media outlets and authorities. Social media may take you down the rabbit hole, unless you are a member of a supportive and positive professional or personal community.
Finding some time to set up a daily physical exercise routine, to ensure that you are releasing a healthy dose of hormones to help maintain your good mood.
Practising mindfulness, as this will help counteract the fight-or-flight response we are experiencing at the moment. Do try the following:
Focus on your breathing.
Pay attention. It's hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world.
Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting, and discerning awareness to everything you do.
Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
You’ve already invested a lot in your staff and you do not want to throw it all away now. So how do you encourage them and earn their loyalty if there is no job in the foreseeable future?
The best way is to communicate with them openly and honestly. If they are to be stood down, give them the assurance that you will get them back in employment as soon as things are back to normal. Check in with them every couple of weeks to ask how they are doing and continue to remind them that you are looking forward to being back in business with them.
Be accessible. Make sure that your entire staff has your number, and you’ve got theirs—even if it is just to send out a group text to check in. Set up a group chat where you can communicate easily and support each other through these difficult times.
Encourage them to look for any casual employment they can find to help them temporarily make ends meet. While it may not be easy to find jobs now, there are some industries that might be looking for casual staff, for example, food delivery businesses and aged care kitchens. Businesses that are deemed essential and remain open, such as food retailers, might be under extra pressure due to possible staff illness or increase in demand.
Guide your staff to resources online where they can find helpful information to assist them through these difficult times. If they need to register with Centrelink, make sure they have the right details about their employment history. You can also help your employees find financial assistance to tide over the current crisis. Leverage the measures taken by the Australian Government and reach out for financial support in your state or territory.