Wellbeing in Events – Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

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.

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.

So are things looking up for wellbeing in events?

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.

The invisible workload of event organisers can, at times, simply be overwhelming. 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.

The Invisible Workload - taking breaks

Laura Capell-Abra, founder of Stress Matters told us: “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% 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.

Key findings from the 2019 Stress Matters Report

  • 71% of #eventprofs believe their colleagues are suffering from stress
  • 28% of event industry professionals have taken time off work due to a mental health illness, 60% of these are under 35 years old
  • 50% of company cultures now support employee wellbeing
  • 67% believe a company’s pro-active stress management approach will impact their future job choices
  • 31% of respondents believe that a blame culture is causing them stress at work
  • 28% won’t speak to colleagues or employers about when they are feeling overwhelmed as they don’t believe they would help
  • 100% of those that have “all the training they need/want and all relevant” say their managers pro-actively care about their wellbeing

Be sure to check out The Invisible Workload Lookbook to find ways to alleviate stress and make your next event as smooth as possible!


Mike Fletcher

Written by Mike Fletcher

Mike has been writing about the meetings and events industry for almost 20 years as a former editor at Haymarket Media Group, and then as a freelance writer and editor. He currently runs his own content agency, Slippy Media, catering for a wide-range of client requirements, including social strategy, long-form, event photography, event videography, reports, blogs and ghost-written material.