Tipped service workers are at higher risk for depression
, sleep issues, and stress when compared to non-tipped employees. It also impacts women more than men which is significant as women make up 67% of all tipped workers. This study was published in pre-pandemic 2018.
On top of tipped wages and the associated customer service related mental health issues, there are also cross-sections of race, gender, gender identity and expression, and far more to consider.
It goes to reason that between all of this, it’s difficult to work in a cafe and/or operate one. There are many ways to alleviate some of the stress but that unfortunately still takes time and groundwork.
I’ve listed some ideas below and I imagine a little role playing of scenarios, especially if some aren’t feeling confident in speaking out against a customer, could be useful.
- Adding protocol for difficult customers in your employee handbook
- Empowering staff to make a decision to warn or ban a customer, knowing that they have your full support
- Have ready answers for why certain measures are being taken and why someone won’t be allowed in if you don’t follow them (depends on the state/country)
- Put up signage reminding customers to be respectful - this might seem like overkill but I tend to err on the side of over communication
Read up on strategies for an employee-first culture
- If your staff is unemployed, let them know that Headspace, the meditation app, is offering a full year subscription for free to US-unemployed workers
And lastly, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. If you scroll down this issue, you’ll find a link about mental health concerns for business owners. I have to constantly remind myself that we are in a pandemic and that productivity should not be a goal. Rather, I try to take one day at a time and take a deep breath for the next day.