The Hotel Industry is moving towards flexible working

The hotel industry, with its huge variety of job roles and its 24-hour way of life, is leading the pack when it comes to implementing flexible working practices (FWPs). 

The traditional shift pattern is fundamental to the operation of the hospitality industry, with shift-swapping almost a way of life with employees. Other working practices include part-time hours, banked hours, time off in lieu, term working, flex time and annualized hours.

But there are new patterns emerging. Career breaks, secondments and sabbaticals are all being embraced, while requests for paternity leave have also soared in recent years, a figure set to increase further if the government brings in plans entitling new fathers to take up to six months of paid paternity leave.

Women remain the group most likely to request a flexible working pattern. On average, 62% of requests for flexible hours come from women seeking to fit work around their childcare arrangements after maternity leave.

Caterer.com’s report shows that an incredible 40% of hotel employers say the number of people requesting the right to work flexibly has gone up in the last three years.

Given this remarkable increase in the number of people requesting flexible hours, how should an employer respond to the growing need for more accommodating work models that don’t interfere with the smooth running of their operation, and how should you — as the employee — approach this?

Flexible working: who benefits?

Many hotels encourage flexible working as a way of retaining staff. After all, no company would want to lose you if you’re, say, a valued manager who knows the business and the brand inside out, just because you wanted to work a slightly different pattern, would they?

Other factors that drive the movement towards implementing flexible working are employee motivation and loyalty, which, when combined with retention, can lead to measurable savings in business recruitment costs.

At Caterer.com’s recent breakfast briefing in London to present the findings of its survey, representatives from the hotel industry gathered together to hear from a pioneer in implementing FWPs — Lorna Bryson, HR manager at Tesco. Both the hotel industry and Tesco work on a 24-hour timetable, so their best practices are easily interchangeable.

Lorna takes a proactive rather than reactive approach to flexible working, by supporting employee attendance rather than managing absence. Her “just ask” campaign was born out of a realisation that staff were taking sick days for reasons other than illness — like religious holidays, study or childcare.

By reassuring staff that it was OK to “just ask” for time off, which they can make up later, Tesco has seen its absence rate drop dramatically from 7% to 4% in the space of just one year.

The challenges faced by employers

Many companies offer a formal policy available to all staff, while others operate a more informal setup, addressing each case individually. However, the impact on operations is still a key factor for companies that feel unable to accommodate flexible working practices, so you should consider this when you put in a request.

If flexible working is to be a success in any business, employers first need to adopt a flexible attitude themselves, although the motto of “Let’s try it, and if it doesn’t work, try something else” needs to be carefully considered.

Above all, an employer needs to communicate a positive mesage to its workforce. After all, it stands to reap the benefits many times over.

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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!

    Chris Giles was very helpful throughout this whole process. First he helped me get my resume polished to send off, he was very patient with me during this. I was very busy with my job search and interviews, but he always made sure to follow up if I didn't get something back to him and was always patient with me. Once we had my resume updated he got it sent off and set up my interviews, he was very helpful in coaching me and making sure I was prepared for the interview. Chris was always there to answer any questions I had and touched base frequently as we were waiting to hear back about things certain things. If I hadn't heard back from one of the hiring departments he would contact them and I would hear from them later that day. Now after getting hired and starting the training program he checks in with me weekly to see how things are going and provides a listening ear if I need to vent about anything. He has been very encouraging and has helped me be more confident going through this hiring  process. Thank you Chris!   Charissa Hahn     Have a Hospitality Recruitment Specialist work for you for FREE Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!
  • I would like to thank Frank Rondeau for leading me through all the steps required to land  a great job opportunity. Frank took the time to ask questions about my career goals and personal plans to create a personal resume, based on my career and work experience, in order to connect me with a great job fit for myself- and for my future employer. The end result was getting my interview process handled, and giving me appropriate advice on how to handle the interview for it to be successful... and it sure was. Thank you Frank and Patrice and Associates for helping me get started on this exciting next chapter of my life! -Elaine Garcia   Started on this exciting next chapter of my life!
  • Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!

    Karl was the best asset in securing my new position. He was there coaching and teaching me every step of the way. I have been working in the food industry for 20+ years and this is the first time I have used a recruiter. I have been on both ends of the hiring process and Karl has helped to know what people are looking for and what I should be looking for when hiring new employees. I look forward to meeting Karl and shaking his hand. If needed I would seek Karl out again!         Mahmoud Elkhyati         Need help with your resume – Have a Recruitment Specialist help you for FREE       Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!
  • Hospitality Recruitment Works!

    My interactions with Mr. Richard were professional. He was very accommodating to my wants in needs when it came to the company I was looking to become a part of. I had tried myself to obtain a position with this company, but I was not able to do so on my own. With Richard's help I was able to land the position.  He kept me in the loop when it came to every interview that I had from beginning to end and kept me very upbeat and positive about the experience. I believe this is how a head hunter or recruiter should perform when dealing with clients very professional and had integrity in everything that he did.     Albert Jones     Hospitality Recruitment matches YOUR skills with the perfect job Hospitality Recruitment Works!
  • Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help

    Daniel was a great help to me on my job search. From the first time I was contacted by him I felt he was here not only to help the company find the right candidate but he was there to make sure I was right for the position.  Daniel is very persistent when he is working with you.  He knows that time is of the essence and he helps you adhere to a very strict timeline to be successful.  Daniel is there for you when you are feeling unsure and is always available to discuss just about anything.  He has a wealth of FOH & BOH knowledge and that really put me at ease because I have not met many recruiters with FOH & BOH experience. Talking to someone who has been where you have been really puts you at ease!  I am very appreciative that I had the chance to work with Daniel on this occasion.  I am thankful he was understanding, attentive, communicative, and seems to generally care about you as a person and a perspective candidate! Katherine Woods         Career Coaches that help you for FREE Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help