Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Handy Hints for Staff Motivation

Handy Hints for Staff Motivation

Staff morale may be harder to measure than sales figures or margins, but it is of equal importance. Unhappy staff are unproductive staff and this will impact negatively on your profits and overall success as a company. The mental wellbeing and happiness of staff is crucial to business success.

In this blog we'll look at handy tips for motivating staff, that are easy to implement and won't break the bank. And if you're self employed, you can adjust these tips to meet your own morale needs!

Individual: Treat every member of your team as an individual and consider their individual needs. Instead of a blanket rewards system, consider little gestures that will be of most benefit or most appreciated by individuals.

Praise: Praise good work and offer regular feedback. Look for positives to focus on. Arrange regular appraisals (every 6 months) to discuss with employees; work, concerns and issues and re-establish the expectations of the company and the employee. If you are self employed you could sit down every six months to look over your successes, what has worked and what hasn't and outline your goals for the next six months.

Lead by example. Embody the ethos/ image of your company that you want everyone to convey. Let employees see you working hard and be enthusiastic about work and projects – enthusiasm is infectious! This is equally important for the self employed, embody the image you wish to project and customers will pick up on your enthusiasm too!

Encourage people to take a break. If staff are not using their holiday allowance they may not be operating to their full potential. Approach people who haven't used their holiday entitlement and encourage them to take a break. If you are self employed it can be tempting to work flat out and not take breaks, but you need to rest to stay on top of your game, and a well earned break is a great reward for your hard work.

Offer benefits that boost morale but don't break the bank. Organise a weekly delivery of fruit or treats, remember birthdays and make time for staff activities/ team building days.

Give ownership to your team. New employees will need guidance but once they are on the right track, loosen the grip on them. Allow them to work with minimal input. Giving your team ownership means they will feel trusted and motivated. As well as being good for employees self confidence, it will shine a light on new ways of doing things, inefficiencies in the system and opportunities.

Run a no blame culture. Don't blame individuals when things go wrong. Look at the working systems you have in place and analyse the exact reason why something went wrong. If you work for yourself use these opportunities to take a look at your working methods and consider what could be better.

Keep open lines of communication with employees. Listen to their ideas. They will feel more connected to the company and therefore more likely to want to contribute to its future and success. Keep employees informed about changes, happenings, successes etc. Hold weekly meetings to allow everyone to get together and discuss/ share what's going on, their concerns and achievements.

Be flexible. Remember that employees have lives outside work; children to pick up, relatives to care for, appointments etc. Strive to work around their commitments as far as is reasonably practicable. 

Consider the little details. Create a great working environment. Smooth, efficient computer and operating systems, well maintained toilets and kitchen facilities and an organised, light working space where possible. The little issues that staff grumble about are usually easy to fix. Listen to what employees say and act on it. The self employed can follow this rule too; give yourself a calm, light, airy place to work where you will be able to focus without distraction. If you spend lots of time driving ensure your vehicle is in good condition, tidy/ nice to be in and gives a good impression when you arrive to see clients.

Right tools and skills for the job. Ensure that your staff are fully equipped with all the skills, knowledge and equipment needed to make sure their work runs smoothly and without drama.

'What does success look like?' Give employees absolute clarity in what success looks like. Help them understand their goals so that they can determine whether or not they are achieving them.




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Halloween Half Term Family Fun

Family Days out this Half Term and Halloween.

This half term why not treat your family to some spooky fun? There will be child and family friendly activities held up and down the country to entertain your little terrors during the school break, look out for things happening near you, or consider the activities listed here.....

For a truly authentic Halloween fright, take the family to a real haunted castle. Warwick Castle has lots to offer for a big day out. There are dungeons to explore and both daytime and evening spooky goings on – depending on how brave you're feeling!

Alton Towers Theme Park is hosting Scarefest for Kids and will be open from 10am until late throughout the event. All the family's favourite rides will be open as usual and there will be stageshows, a halloween playland and mazes for younger children.

In York, join the Ghost Walk York tour, running every night of the holidays from October 26 to November 2nd. Starting at York's famous Roman Column at 7pm, the walk will take you back in time to experience York's murky past and to the site of some gruesome and unearthly events of days gone by.

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, what could be better than telling ghost stories around a campfire whilst toasting marshmallows. Many campsite options are available, or simply pitch up in your garden.
Breck Farm Caravan and Camping Park at Weybourne, Norfolk allows campfires (operate with care!)

Haunted York and camping fun

If you're planning on staying at home, spend some time in the kitchen and cook up some treats! If you're buying pumpkins for carving, you might like to try this simple pumpkin soup recipe, using;

  • 2 tbsp's olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1kg pumpkin, de-seeded and chopped into chunks
  • 700ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 142ml pot of double cream
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the pumpkin and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until starting to soften and turn golden. Pour 700ml stock into the pan, season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft. Pour in the cream and bring back to the boil and then puree with a hand blender. For an extra smooth consistency, push the soup through a fine sieve into another pan.

How to carve a pumpkin.

Pumpkin carving kits are readily available in supermarkets, usually displayed near or with the pumpkins, but if you have a small, sharp serrated knife you can easily do this at home.

  1. Choose a large pumpkin and use a serrated knife to cut off the crown.
  2. Using a serving spoon scoop out the seeds and fibres and discard. Then remove some of the flesh.
  3. Use a marker pen to draw the outline of a face, or the pattern you wish to create, onto the pumpkin. Using the small serrated knife, cut around the pattern ensuring you cut away from your hand incase the knife slips.
  4. Pop a tealight inside the pumpkin, light it and replace the crown.

Try your hand at creating some simple halloween fairy cakes. There are many cake decorating kits available to help you add the finishing touches to little sponge cakes, take a look at these for inspiration...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Avoiding Workplace Bugs

At this time of years, it becomes inevitable that someone in your workplace will share their cold virus with everyone, effectively wiping out the entire workforce. It's one extra workplace annoyance that we just don't need! Below we have listed some simple, handy tips for avoiding coughs and colds this winter.

  • Wash your hands. When someone near you coughs or sneezes, you may come into contact with infected droplets. If you then touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands you could also catch it. Germs can also be spread through commonly touched items such as telephones and light switches, so keep a hand santiser close by.

  • Where possible, avoid hand shaking with someone who already has a cold, or use hand sanitizer afterwards. Whilst difficult, avoiding touching your face will go a long way towards protecting you.

  • Remember to get vaccinated if you are vulnerable.

  • Top-up on your vitamin C, either in handy tablets (some are dispersible) or preferable by eating plenty of fruit and veg. Fill your lunch box with fresh fruit for healthy snacking.

  • Try to exercise and get enough sleep. These things may not strengthen your immune system, but if you allow yourself to become run down you will be much more susceptible.

  • Drink hot water with honey and lemon. The lemon helps towards your vitamin C intake and the warm water and honey can help soothe the symptoms of a cold if you do get unlucky.   

Monday, 7 October 2013

Catering Style

Catering Style

As the catering industry moves into it's busiest time of the year, we take a look at some of our recommended products to offer functionality and smart style to those in catering.

A smart Chefs Jacket is an essential part of the uniform. At we offer a range of options to suit all budgets and requirements.

For those looking for something to help them keep their cool, the Le Chef Professional Chefs Jacket features a Coolmax back panel to increase airflow and user comfort.

The unisex Gourmet Chefs Jacket is a stylish choice, with a reversible double front. Composed of sanforised cotton which ensures the jacket will withstand washing without risk of shrinkage.  

Our popular microfibre safety shoe is ideal for catering. With a non slip sole and shock absorber heel for comfort, they also feature a hygienic antibacterial lining. Machine washable at 40 degrees, it is ideal for environments where cleanliness is of high importance and conforms with European standard EN345 S1 SRC for foot protection.

Available in a range of 10 colours, the Catering Clobber Chefs Skull Cap is a neat, close fitting chefs hat, elasticated for comfort. also stock a range of beard snoods, which you can view here

Ideal for your front of house staff we have a range of smart aprons, such as the half apron with pocket, and tabards.  


               Half Apron                                                                                                    Tabards

Don't forget the little things, handy disposable vinyl gloves for handling raw food and rubber washing up gloves!