Mental Health and the Workplace: a UK Call to Action

Employee well-being is essential to employers and society

Prepare to be shocked by the statistics provided in a new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on UK workers’ mental health and the costs to employers and society. The report states the UK spends “about £70 billion a year, or roughly 4.5% of GDP in lost productivity at work, [on] benefit payments and health care expenditure.” Disorders such as anxiety and depression affect approximately one million claimants in the UK who receive support through the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or other working-age benefits. More worrying is the increased risk of further unemployment, which could exacerbate the disorder and result in those affected dropping below the poverty line.

The media has cited the UK’s long working hours compared to its EU neighbours and linked long hours and employee stress to mental disorders. Both employers and health care providers have a significant role to play in addressing mental health issues before they spiral out of control. Employers should keep an eye on staff performance and wellness. If an employee exhibits any mental health issues, it is imperative to address the matter when it arises because there will be a greater chance of preventing the employee’s health from deteriorating.

The Health and Work Service (formally the health and work assessment and advisory service), as recommended by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sickness absence review, is due to commence in 2014. The service will provide advice and support to employers who have staff members with sickness absence over 4 weeks in duration. The service will also be available to GPs and employees offering them a bespoke return to work plan.

The OECD acknowledges that recent “spending cuts can worsen the medium and long-term fiscal and social costs” for the UK. To remedy the costs of mental health disorders on workplaces, the OECD has some recommendations:

  • Ensure the new Health and Work Service policy (announced in 2014) is implemented across the board and with a strong focus on those still in work;
  • Increase attention to mental health and increase resources to ensure better employment outcomes for those with mental health issues;
  • Build on integrated health and employment interventions; and
  • Expand access to psychological therapies for those with a common mental disorder.

If you are still unsure about how mental health issues affect your business’s bottom line, try the Workplace Wellbeing Tool to work out the costs of poor employee health to the organisation. The tool can also help create a business case for taking action. Employers needing further assistance to address stress-related or mental health issues in the workplace should try the following reliable resources:

Institute members are encouraged to use the BusinessHR resources, located on the Institute’s home page under Information Services, for FREE support and resources for employers, managers and supervisors.

For further information about the OECD report, visit OECD Report or contact Shruti Singh, the author of the report (tel. + 331 4524 1948) or Spencer Wilson from OECD’s Media division (tel. + 331 4524 8118). For a copy of the report, journalists should contact

Student Success is Recognised by the Southern Branch of the Institute of Hospitality

Chloe Watkins - winner with Alfredo Abad (l) and Peter Ducker (r)
Winner Chloe Watkins with Alfredo Abad FIH (l) and Institute Chief Executive Peter Ducker FIH (r)

The Southern Branch of the Institute of Hospitality celebrated the success of the region’s students with achievement awards at a lavish ceremony at the beautiful Lainston House Hotel near Winchester earlier this month. There were seven participating colleges from Dorset and Hampshire. The winner of the 2013 Southern Branch Student Achievement Award went to Chloe Watkins from Bournemouth & Poole College, and the joint runners-up were Jayne Wilkinson from City College Southampton and Ashley Read from Brockenhurst College.

The other finalists were Oliver Holgado (South Downs College), Haydn Mortimore (Basingstoke College of Technology), Danielle Moors (Kingston Maurward College) and Luke Radice (Highbury College). Each finalist was nominated by their college and had to submit a detailed application which included their greatest achievement, what aspects of the industry most appealed to them and what the award would do for their careers.  The finalists also had to create a short video demonstrating their passion for the industry. Each then presented their video on the awards evening and then faced questions from the judges.

Mr Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, told the students and their families that he “didn’t envy the job of the judges as the standards were so high!”

The branch chair, Alfredo Abad FIH, gave a speech highlighting the importance of such events. He told the students: “You are all winners here and you must be congratulated. You are the future of the industry.”

Each of the seven finalists received a framed certificate and a glass trophy. In addition, the winner and runners up received a year’s membership to the Institute and a master class at Lainstone house Hotel and Chewton Glen Hotel.  The awards were presented by Peter Ducker who said: “Such an event is fantastic for the industry and it is great to reward such efforts from our hospitality students’.

The judging panel consisted of Antonio Lopez-Bustos, General Manager of the Lainston House Hotel, Patsy Morgan, Senior Lecturer in Cruise Tourism at Southampton Solent University and Jon Rook, Director at Panache Consultancy, who specialise in hospitality management consultancy.

For details about nominations and applications for future Southern Branch Students Awards, contact; Tom Goss FIH, IOH Southern Branch Vice Chair – Email: For further information about this press release contact Ben Walker Tel: +44 (0)776 532 0690 Email:

EThOS: A FREE Resource for all Doctoral Students – and an EThOS Webinar

EThOS makes researching theses easier!

Hospitality PhD candidates will be delighted to learn there is a easy-to-use free resource available that can help with thesis research. The resource is called EThOS and is a British Library-hosted database that acts as the national repository for PhD theses in the UK.

EThOS is a fantastic resource for researchers, librarians and academics because it contains over 100,000 UK theses, which are free to download and use for your own research. There are a further 200,000 theses available to search and scan on demand. The database can be found at EThOS.

If you’d like some guidance on the use of EThOS, book now for the British Library’s FREE webinar on Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM GMT. The webinar will explain how EThOS works including how to search for and download theses, and what to do if a thesis isn’t available.

Once you’ve completed your thesis, find out how EThOS works with universities in the UK to support the whole thesis cycle – from research to publication – by making theses more visible and available for new researchers to use and build on.

Africa’s economic growth – there’s lots to smile about

Lots to smile about at Wavecrest College, Nigeria
Lots to smile about at Wavecrest College of Hospitality in Lagos, Nigeria

“Africa’s hotel development boom is already well-underway,” says Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality.  In Nigeria alone there are 49 international chain hotels currently under development, representing a total of 7,500 rooms and in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole there is a pipeline of 130 hotels (21,052 rooms) according to experts at W Hospitality Group.  International brands such as  Hilton, Radisson Blu, Novotel, Marriott, Park Inn, Ibis and Golden Tulip are entering or increasing their presence in the African hospitality market.

At Wavecrest College of Hospitality in Nigeria the smiles of its graduates reflect the increasing employment prospects within the African hospitality industry. Wavecrest is a project of the Women’s Board – Educational Cooperation Society, an international non-governmental organisation that aims to empower women to achieve higher education, economic independence and employment through hospitality careers. The College is also approved to deliver the Institute of Hospitality’s full suite of international management qualifications.

Hospitality Webinars: Here, There, Everywhere

WebinarChalkBoardAt the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss, our NEW hospitality webinars can be attended ‘here, there, everywhere’ – from just about anywhere in the world where you can obtain WiFi or internet access.

The webinars cover various topics of particular relevance to today’s hospitality professionals and students. Some of the excellent topics covered in recent webinars include:

  • Is mobile marketing a waste of time? (Bulent Osman, managing director, The App Garden)
  • Ignoring social media is like ignoring your customers (Karen Fewell AIH, director, Digital Blonde)
  • Reclaiming profits and reducing dependency on OTAs (Frank Reeves, chief executive, Avvio)

Forthcoming topics, for which bookings are currently being taken, include:

  • The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement: Taking action on waste (Elin Pheasant, WRAP) 3pm, 4 Feb 2014
  • Catching the ones that got away – how to use remarketer advertising to convert more bookings (Paul West MIH, managing director, Ignite Hospitality) 3pm, 11 Feb 2014
  • Food labelling and the legal implications (Sarah Sleet, Coeliac UK) 3pm, 18 Feb 2014

Academics who wish to book a seat and present the webinar to students in the classroom can make arrangements to do so by contacting:

Institute members, including Education Membership Scheme members, can obtain access to previously held webinars 30 days after the event by logging in to the Institute’s home page and going to the Online Catalogue, then searching ‘webinar’ in the basic search box to locate the webinar’s record and link. It’s easy!

The webinars are so popular they are now fully booked on the day, so don’t wait. Book your attendance soon.

UK Catering Students Vie for Nestlé Toque d’Or

chef_hatIt’s that time of year, when catering students from around the United Kingdom compete in the prestigious 2014 Nestlé Toque d’Or. The competition offers the students ‘real life experiences, exposure to key industry influencers, as well as exciting challenges to get the very best out of the contestants’.

Thus far, the judges have narrowed the competitors down to 30 teams who have passed the first stage paper entry to enter the heats. It’s no surprise to discover a few Institute of Hospitality Education Membership Scheme (EMS) colleges and universities in amongst the competitors – their excellence is showing! – and we wish them the very best of luck. The EMS members are as follows:

  • Bradford College, 1 team
  • City College Norwich, 1 team
  • Coleg Llandrillo, 1 team
  • Kendal College, 1 team
  • North West Regional College (Londonderry), 1 team
  • South Regional College (County Armagh), 1 team
  • University College Birmingham, 1 team
  • University of Derby, Buxton, 2 teams
  • Westminster Kingsway, 1 team

Congratulations to all the teams who made it over the first hurdle and got through to the regional heats. The Grand Finals Challenges will take place on March 6th – 9th 2014 followed by the Grand Final Awards at The Dorchester Hotel, London on April 2nd 2014. To find out more or to stay current on the heats, check the Nestlé Toque d’Or website.

Are You Too Graphic? FREE JISC Resources Can Help

Make your data sing!

Whether you are presenting course work to academics or the latest data charts to a senior management team, make sure your graphics support the story you’re telling with some simple design techniques. The following tips can be applied to any presentation incorporating graphs and charts and they’ll make your data sing!

  • Tone down or remove colours
  • streamline graphic shapes
  • remove 3d effects
  • don’t overload a graphic with data; create more, if needed

For further information refer to JISC’s excellent presentation on how to design charts and graphs to convey an easy-to-digest visual story. See: Top 10 Tips for Data Visualisation from JISC infoNet.

JISC also offers a fun Design IQ test – not as intimidating as it sounds – and a free Data Visualisation infoKit. Use of either or both will ensure you come away with a good overview about how to greatly improve your graphics and make your ‘story’ memorable.