There is more of a push now than ever before to see how businesses can help support their staffs physical and mental needs. We have seen huge campaigns on how office workers can be helped or the small changes retail establishments can make to help their workers, but unfortunately restaurant and catering staff are the ones who can be easily overlooked.
Nestlé Professional have also carried out their own research and this showed that the main factors currently contributing to stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%). The lack of daylight in many kitchens was also brought up, with over 40% saying it had negatively impacted on their well being.
Commercial Kitchen Fabrication
Of course, it goes without saying but every single kitchen is set up and ran differently. That means in each kitchen there will be different stress inducing factors. But on the other hand you can say that every kitchen will have a huge amount of similarities and these similarities can be worked on to make sure that they are as stress free as possible and add to a positive vibe in the kitchen for all staff, front and back of house.
So where do you start with these changes?
Well, nine out of ten chefs stated that their creativity and freedom in the kitchen was being stifled, and this was leading to increased amounts of pressure. But with recent times, this innovation and creativity is becoming an afterthought as there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the working day with everything else that needs to be done.
So how can you create more time for creativity?
The first place to start is by trying to see where you can be more efficient, and where you can save time. We would suggest having a look at your commercial kitchen design and your primary fuel source. Many traditional kitchen use a gas fuel source for the hobs, hot plates, griddles etc however, when looking at it overall, this is a very wasteful source of energy. In order to heat everything up to a high enough temperature, the gas needs to be left on to build up and gather heat. Then at the end of service, there is a waiting period in order to allow the appliances to cool down enough to be cleaned. And talking about cleaning, when food is dropped onto a gas heated hot plate, it can actually burn on and make it even more difficult to clean off.
Whereas if you upgraded to induction cooking technology, you could save time not only in heating and cooling but cleaning after services. Induction technology means only the cooking utensil is heated and not the surrounding area. Another positive with induction cooking technology is the complete reduction of burns or any heat based injuries which will in turn have a positive effect on kitchen staff and reduce some accident based down time.
Having the right commercial kitchen set up is the starting block when it comes to create a positive workplace for all. The quality of air can really have an effect both on physical and mental health. It’s key that your commercial ventilation system is up to par, and is able to make sure that your kitchen is a safe working environment.
As well as the air it brings in, it’s worth factoring in the noise levels of your extraction system. A kitchen can be a noisy place at the best of times, and having an extraction fan adding to the noise on top of that can be too much. Finding ways to reduce background noise will in turn bring in a calmer sense to the kitchen, as your staff won’t need to shout over the noise to be heard by others.
This links in with the rest of your commercial kitchen set up, if you did decide to change over to induction cooking, that massively reduces the amount of heat, fumes and grease that is being released in the air, which means the extraction can be lowered or even turned off at periods. Leading to a quieter, calmer kitchen, less shouting and stressing.
Lighting can also be key in setting a mood. You may have heard of mood lighting in your home, but did you know you can bring that principle into your kitchen? Oh course we don’t mean bring lamps into the kitchen! But it’s important to find a source of high quality, low energy light. If you’re in the midst of your commercial kitchen fabrication, then try and make the most of the natural light that you get in your kitchen space. The natural light not only brings in a healthy source of Vitamin D, it also helps our body regulate sleeping patterns and can make us feel happier! If you are unable to bring in a large source of natural light, then you can actually get lighting alternatives that give off a similar light as the sun normally would. LED lights are becoming more and more popular in kitchens as they can be used to work, without being to bright or clinical.
If you do want to make some changes to make your workplace more enjoyable for those who work there, then why not take their changes into account? Call a work meeting and see how people feel and what they enjoy and don’t enjoy.
But if you’re looking to make some permanent changes to your commercial kitchen, it’s worth getting in touch with a commercial catering company who deals with commercial kitchen fabrications. NWCE Foodservice Equipment have years of experience.