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Mind your head

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Improvements in workplace wellbeing can’t disguise the fact that more needs to happen to protect the mental health of event professionals. 

Almost half of event industry professionals believe that, over the past 12 months, their employers have taken a more active role in trying to improve wellbeing compared with two years ago. 

This is just one of the recent key findings from a biennial study carried out by event industry wellbeing organisation, Stress Matters. 

Some 55% of respondents to the 2019 Stress Matters Report say that company culture now supports employee wellbeing. While 75% of event professionals believe their managers care more about their mental health. 

Although these statistics represent a significant improvement on 2017’s findings, they also suggest that almost half of companies still don’t support a culture of wellbeing. There’s a real danger that many organisations are simply paying lip-service to caring about their employees’ stress levels but not actively making a change. 

Laura Capell-Abra, founder of Stress Matters, said: “We are really encouraged to see such huge progress in the events industry in terms of looking after our teams, however we still have a long way to go. Many wellbeing initiatives are not being approached strategically and whilst we support that doing something is better than doing nothing, we need to approach wellbeing like we would any business strategy, with measurable goals and a clear plan.”

The 2019 Stress Matters Report encourages the creation of a sharing culture at work to encourage people to talk about stress and mental health. 

Some 88% of respondents find that talking about stress really helps but 28% admit that they wouldn’t speak to their employer about feeling overwhelmed as they don’t believe it would lead to any positive outcomes. 

Part of the causes of stress within the events industry is lack of training, with a third of respondents saying they’d never had any training to carry out their roles and half of those who said they had, also said they needed more. 

In fact, only 7 percent of survey respondents felt they were provided with enough relevant training. 

Successful workplace wellbeing programmes include free gym membership, daily fruit, yoga classes or health insurance. Those companies who provide these things are more likely to attract and retain talent. 

The 2019 Stress Matters Report interviewed 430 event professionals across all ages, genders, job levels and parts of the industry. It found that event professionals work 25, 809 hours longer than the average person over an average working life-span and if people are working in a culture which doesn’t clearly support mental health, they are far more likely to turn up for work when they are not well enough to do so. 

Being present but unwell ultimately leads to poor performance and an increased likelihood of making mistakes, which, in a high stakes industry such as events, can cost a lot of money. It can also make symptoms worse in the long-run.

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