Work Life Balance: Is It Possible In The Pub Trade?

work life balance, lifestyle business, run a pub
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Fri, 29/07/2016 - 10:00

One of the concerns expressed by many people who are thinking about running a pub is achieving work-life balance. In fact a popular misconception is that being a pub landlord means saying goodbye any sense of a work-life balance!

Your pub might be open long hours, but you can still have a great family and social life. Achieving an effective work-life balance is definitely possible; all it needs is organisation and flexibility.

The Challenge Of Achieving Work-Life Balance

Becoming a pub landlord does not result in an increased risk of damaging your work-life balance. Running any business, especially in the early days, is likely to impact on your home life; it’s not a unique challenge to the pub business.  In fact it’s a problem that everyone faces no matter what industry or business sector in which they work. 

Throughout the UK, increasing numbers of people are now working 49 or more hours per week, which with commuting time can put an incredible strain on family and social life.  Working such long hours can also eventually damage mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, work related stress causes the loss of 10.4 million working days per year. It can, quite simply, make you ill. 

Greene King are well aware of the risk of over work, and always seek to support pub landlords with help and advice on time management. It is important to organise your work efficiently from the moment you begin work as a pub landlord, and to slot in time each day that you can devote to your family and leisure interests.  Everyone needs time to relax and renew energies for the next working day.

Fortunately running a pub actually offers a lot more flexibility than many other businesses, making it possible to achieve some work-life balance provided you make use of opportunities when they present themselves.

Work-Life Balance For Pub Landlords

Working as a pub landlord does require some readjustment in the way you timetable your day.  Working hours will be different. Instead of having to leave at 7am to reach your office and not returning until 7pm or later, you may only need to walk down the stairs to reach your place of work.  This gives you several extra hours each week during which you can do other things, such as being with your family, walking the dog, going to the gym etc. It also means that you can share tasks like taking the children to school or picking them up after the lunchtime rush.

However you do need to be strict with yourself. If you’re planning to go to the gym, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things unless they are really urgent.  Learning to recognise what is urgent, what can be delegated and what you can leave until later is a really important part of running any business. Feeling that you have to be at work, on q computer or directly working in the pub every minute can lead eventually to ‘burn out’, so learn to make time for yourself from the start.

7 Steps To A Better Work-Life Balance

1. Take A Break

There will always come a point in every day where you are no longer working effectively. Stopping for a break, doing something else or relaxing ensures that you can work better during your working hours. Inevitably, there will also be times when illness occurs especially in the winter when coughs and colds are prevalent.  If you feel unwell, take time off. Let your deputy manager or another member of staff deal with the running of the pub while you are unwell. This will help you recover much more quickly and reduce the risk of passing on the virus to your staff and customers. Taking such care is the function of a good manager.

2. Delegating Job To Your Staff

Be prepared to delegate work to your employees. Remember that you are not expected to do everything. Train your employees to do their jobs, and then trust them to do those jobs efficiently. For example, closing up the pub, dealing with customers, managing any minor problems. This is an essential part of management. Greene King offers a wide range of training courses designed to improve efficiency and career development, which will ensure that staff can acquire the skills they need.

3. Don’t Let Work Affect Leisure Or Family Time!

Do not turn on the computer and start doing paperwork during your leisure or family time. If you have children, make sure that they know what they can do, and where they are allowed to go.  Remember that they too will need some privacy and will not want to be around customers all the time. Consider having a small private area of the garden where they can relax and a separate entrance so that they do not have to go through the pub.  This will help your work life balance considerably.

4. Pursue Other Interests

Take time away from the business to stay fresh, clear headed and maintain your personal interests. This will help you approach your working life more effectively.  As a pub landlord, often those personal interests coincide with social activities relating to the pub.  Taking part in a darts game, watching a football match on television with customers can be a very social occasion and give you a break from your day-to-day responsibilities.

5. Run A Schedule Of Regular Jobs

Set yourself a routine to ensure that all key activities around the pub such as accepting deliveries, undertaking stock control, discussing menus with your chef and carrying out maintenance checks are completed each week.  This will reduce the worry that you might have missed or forgotten something, thus allowing you to relax effectively during your leisure time.

6. Build A Good Working Relationship With Your Partner

If you are running the pub with your partner, make sure that you take time to talk over any problems. Specify areas of responsibility and stick to those areas.  Don’t challenge decisions made by your partner in front of employees or customers as this can cause tension. If you have concerns about those decisions, discuss them later in private. Working with a partner in a business of this kind can make relationships much stronger provided you trust and respect each other.

7. Get Support From Greene King

Never let problems become too acute and affect either your work or your family. When problems occur, seek advice by talking to colleagues on the Greene King team.  This will enable you to deal with the problem much more effectively and quickly, thus reducing the stress on yourself. 

Creating a viable work-life balance as a pub landlord is certainly achievable, resulting in an extremely enjoyable lifestyle with a harmonious career and social life.  Remember that no one is indispensable – you may be the pub landlord, but you also have a family and a social life.  Harmony for all three elements ensures a successful business!

If you have any other questions about becoming a landlord please do not hesitate to contact our team.