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Staying motivated within the hospitality sector will be less of a problem if we’re able to satisfy our social needs

Commercial kitchens are hot and steamy melting pots of creative, competitive people all trying to keep on top of the hectic pace. This is not only part of kitchen culture but is essential if you aim to get the job done to a high standard. And on time. For most, the work is unglamorous but thrilling and energising at the same time.

How do we balance the stresses of kitchen life and manage to maintain a social life outside the workplace? How does the young worker new to the hospitality industry stay motivated and willing to meet the high demands on their time? (And often for little money).

These two questions are often thought bubbles inside many young cooks’ heads. Keeping those connections with friends and sporting activities is important but often overlooked. But it would be so useful to help maintain that balance we crave. With a little effort it can be achieved. It just requires a bit of creativity to negotiate with the workplace to have that rostered day or evening off when it best suits you. The workplace also needs to be aware that happy employees are creative, motivated and productive workers.

Staying motivated within the hospitality sector will be less of a problem if we’re able to satisfy our social needs and are given opportunities to maintain a healthy social life. As a chef and teacher of young workers at TAFE, I often find that very little has changed in the industry. Young workers are spending long hours on the job (as I did), have inconvenient days off (rarely Saturdays or Sundays, which limits social opportunities outside the kitchen), and all for a low wage.

There is often a disconnect with family as well. This can be difficult and problematic because parents of young cooks just don’t understand the work pressures that are placed on their children. But that’s the industry, you may be thinking, we all did it and we survived. But do we really want to continue a culture just because that’s the way it’s always been? Or do we want to try and motivate, inspire and slowly bring about positive changes? This would eventually mean we keep staff motivated to stay and contribute to our fantastic industry.

What are your thoughts?

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