Lisa Hatswell gives TJ tips for moving from burnout to productivity.
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Managing tight deadlines, catering to discerning clients and working long hours: it’s no wonder that the role of event coordinator globally ranks as the fifth most stressful job, following enlisted military personnel, firefighter, airline pilot and police officer.
Stress has become part and parcel of the workplace; however, this should not go unchallenged. If not managed properly, stress can damage your staff’s mental health over time and regularly manifests itself in physical symptoms as well.
In the industry of people pleasing, it can be difficult to manage the multitude of requests that event professionals receive on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are a number of actions that venue employees and MICE professionals can take in order to become happier and healthier at work.
From training courses to improving their communication skills, those in the event industry can learn to better manage their workloads, feel more at ease and help those around them who may need support.
A healthy employee is a productive one. According to a recent talk at the Royal College of Physicians held by Laura Capell-Abra from Stress Matters, the event industry wellbeing accreditation scheme, there were 15.8m days of sickness absence caused by mental health issues in the UK in 2016.
Further, the organisation explained that the cost of reduced productivity at work, or ‘presenteeism’, to the UK economy each year is a staggering £21.2bn. Presenteeism commonly causes mental health issues due to people not feeling able to come forward or take time off, is prevalent among higher paid staff and thus costs more to employers, and attributes to 1.8x as much working time lost as absences.
The Labour Force Survey also found that in 2016-17, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 40% of all work-related ill health cases and 49% of all working days lost to ill health. Every day that a team member takes off work sick, a company loses money.
If the subject of stress and poor mental health is properly addressed, this leads to not only the enhanced wellbeing of event professionals, but better productivity in the workplace.
Spotting the signs
The Mental Health First Aider two-day course, developed by the Department of Health: National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE), teaches people how to spot the signs of poor mental health in themselves and in others.
The training course helps people to understand what good mental health looks like and explores the factors that can have an impact on one’s mental wellbeing. It also analyses the ways in which people can support themselves and others with self-care, gives them skills to improve their own mental health and prevent mental ill health, and highlights the symptoms of being unwell.
Open lines of communication
Line managers in particular need stress management training, as it is reported that a third would not know if their staff were experiencing poor mental health.
When there are open lines of communication between team members, the work environment can become a more productive and happier one. Providing a forum whereby staff can give feedback to line managers in an organised way can help keep stress at bay.
Arranging shifts during event days, whereby some employees work during the day and others take over in the evening, is another way to manage heavy workloads, as well as team outings, which encourage better communication among colleagues and help them to establish a rapport with one another.
About the author
Lisa Hatswell is managing director of Unique Venues of London.