Comment: Are hotel staff getting enough holiday?

Comment: Are hotel staff getting enough holiday?

Gates Hospitality founder Naim Maadad explains the benefits of letting staff escape 

People working in the hospitality business are known for being 'workaholics'. The hours can be long, shift patterns are anything but a nine-to-five and high-pressure environments exist in virtually every kitchen and hotel lobby in the world.

And yet, for many, it’s a calling; a calling for those who love to put smiles on guests' faces.

While this will always be at the epicentre of our industry, it’s equally important that we make sure hospitality industry employees who are responsible for delivering those smiles, have smiles on their faces, too.

One of the best ways to do this is by ensuring that all colleagues take their well-earned breaks. Not a ‘finish at 11pm and come in at 5pm tomorrow’ kind of break, but an extended vacation that gives colleagues the opportunity to completely switch off, step away from responsibilities and catch up with friends and family who very often will be far away from an employee's place of work.

Indeed, just planning a vacation increases dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters, two neurotransmitters that are responsible feelings of well-being. 

Taking regular vacations has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of heart attacks

Even if that vacation involves staying near work and exploring all that their home city has to offer, activity that is different from normal life will be beneficial. 

A change of scenery also allows our colleagues to get fresh perspective on life, prioritise what’s important and think about their purpose. 

As employers, this isn’t something we should be afraid of. While, of course, the financial success of our business is important, we also have the responsibility and the privilege to help shape people’s lives. 


Employees have a right to spend time with their loved ones and assess their life away from work. If it takes a vacation for people to realise that they want a career change, then that too is something we should embrace.

However more often than not, it is quite the opposite, with those returning from breaks making a mockery of the term ‘holiday blues’, instead coming back more focused and productive than ever before. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise considering that studies have shown that chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve certain tasks. 

Avoiding burnout before it's too late is ultimately good both for employees and for business

It's because of this, that creating a workplace culture that celebrates taking time off is so important. Those who go away shouldn’t feel guilty, nor those who are left behind feel a sense of trepidation that they are a colleague down. 

While effective workplace planning should ensure that vacations are covered (with appropriate flight allowances), they can also create the opportunity for someone to step into their shoes, learning and adapting while that person is away, allowing them to come back with renewed creativity after some rest.  

And, finally, for a leader, there is no greater trust than trusting operations will continue at the required level in their absence. 

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