Stress Matters - The struggles behind the scenes of the Event Industry
A lot of people I speak to with regards to the events industry seem to think that it is all 'glitz and glamour', easy and very fluffy - whilst this is a testament to how we make the industry look, these people are obviously not folk that work within the industry.
Society is starting to take mental health very seriously and a huge part of this is stress - something we all know about. Stress comes in many forms and for many reasons (bills, children, careers are just some of the issues) - however this post is about the events industry so this is where I will focus my attention.
A recent report from Stress Matters states that we believe that 71% of our colleagues are suffering from stress. They are running a brilliant awareness campaign that we all need to get behind. Please download this free report and share with colleagues *FREE REPORT*.
Another survey, and many other surveys, have all indicated that event management is around the fifth most stressful career in the word - only falling behind extreme jobs such as fire fighters, military, police officers etc. It is the most stressful career that doesn't involve risk of death.
Now I know what people will be thinking - how can being a 'party planner' compare to these life and death careers - for this we need to look into it a little deeper.
Stress is calculated from 11 stress factors and event management scores 8 out of 11.
1. Deadlines - So many deadlines, is one of the main factors of stress. We are chased everyday from venues, clients, suppliers as well as doing the chasing.
2 . Competition - Whether it is yourself or other businesses. The events industry is highly competitive and we must always be researching and adapting.
3. Career Growth - We are always looking to progress and improve ourselves and keeping focused on this increases stress.
4. Travel - Whether travelling across town, nationwide or to different countries - this eats into both our professional and personal lives. We are prepared to side line our personal life to ensure we can meet clients when it suits them and not us.
5. Physical Demands - Both the heavy lifting and length of working impacts on our physical demands. More than 20% of people in the industry often work more than 61 hours a week - this increases massively during peak seasons and we can often find ourselves putting in shifts in excess of 18-20 hours a day. This lack of sleep is a key cause of stress.
6. Environmental Conditions - Meetings and external factors can cause stress.
7. Meeting the Public - So many different people; public, brides, suppliers, performers, guests, venue managers, MC's etc. Each different personality and each one to be managed differently. It's a minefield and whilst most people are great to work with, some clients and professionals can push us to our limits.
8. Working in the Public Eye - You are the spotlight, everything that happens is down to you - even the things out of your control.
Let's not forget that events are live - we have no repeats, no second chances. We can't leave it until tomorrow. It's all instant and demands 100% attention because it MUST be perfect every time.
We tackle all the above on a daily basis but we do it because we genuinely love our jobs.
At least we don't have to cope with the below which are the factors we, luckily, missed out on;
9. Risk of Death or Grievous Injury
10. Hazards Encountered
11. Immediate Risk of Another Life
A really scary and dangerous statistic that has been revealed worries me greatly and I see it everyday - and thought about it myself on many occasions. 46% of the industry uses alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to deal with the stress.
What Can We Do To Reduce Stress?
It's not all doom and gloom however, things can be done to reduce the stress levels;
1. Building the Right Team - Ensuring you have the right people around you to help support and delegate. Having a team spreads out the responsibility and will ease the stress levels.
2. Taking Time for Yourself - It's easy for us to forget that things won't fall apart if we just take a little time for ourselves. Switch off and enjoy some family time, alone time, travel and switch off from work.
3. Eating Correctly - When running events it's difficult to ensure we eat regularly and that we eat well. Usually it's a snack or junk food just to 'keep us going' - Making sure we eat the correct food will not only keep our minds healthy but our bodies healthy too
4. Laugh (A lot) - It's a simple thing right? Sometimes we take life too seriously and forget the little things.
5. Talk About It - Talk - to friends or colleagues - if you are worried about anything.
Let's do what we can, together, to reduce stress in our industry.